The signals on the TTC’s 1 Yonge - University - Spadina subway are aging — and not aging well.
Some of the infrastructure on the main part of the line has been in place since the subway opened in 1954.
Everyone got a reminder this week about how old the signals are, when major problems with the system occurred near Bloor Station, resulting in what the TTC’s chief executive officer, Andy Byford dubbed “a horrendous commute”.
The TTC has been working for a while to fix the problem, with a long-standing project to resignal the line. To finish, installing, commissioning and testing one part of the re-signaling project, it’s going to do something that it’s probably never done before: shut down part of the subway for nine straight days:
- Between Bloor and St. George stations: From Saturday, October 12 until Monday, October 14 (Thanksgiving Day);
- Between King and Osgoode stations: from Tuesday, October 15 to Friday, October 18; and
- Between Bloor and St. George stations: from Saturday, October 19 until Sunday, October 20.
The TTC expects to have replace the entire signal system replacement on the line, including the new extension to York University and Vaughan by 2018.
Whenever the TTC closes parts of the subway to upgrade the signals, crews typically install new cables, control panels or special track work in the tunnels. This work is labour-intensive and can’t all occur during the normal maintenance period each night when subway service ends.
The TTC is co-ordinating this October’s closure with City of Toronto staff to develop a traffic plan to reduce the impacts of the closure. The plan will use shuttle buses service for each weekend closure and as the Tuesday-to-Friday closure between King and Osgoode stations from Oct. 15-18.
The TTC will reveal details of the routings, including shuttle buses during the Waterfront Marathon, in September. The TTC will assign customer service staff to various points along the subway line to help passengers get to their destinations.