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TTC service changes during ice storms

Meteorologists are forecasting freezing rain and ice for Toronto and surrounding area. TTC staff have prepared for this and similar severe weather events.


The TTC has been applying anti-freeze to the overhead network to keep ice free from the wires, so that streetcars can collect energy and operate. To prevent ice from building up, crews have also “sliders” to trolley poles on every fifth streetcar to knock ice off the overhead. (The TTC has not explained whether it uses this technology on newer streetcars which use pantographs — Z-shaped devices on the top of the cars to gather power — or only on older cars with trolley poles.)

Overhead crews are on standby and will be available at locations throughout central Toronto in the event of power loss or overhead wires come down.

Crews are applying the same anti-freeze to all switches across the network. Storm cars will run on all routes, keeping switches free of any ice that the anti-freeze could not successfully prevent.

Along the 501 Queen streetcar route, buses operate in the east end between Neville Park Loop and Kingston Road to keep more streetcars downtown, which will help keep switches and overhead wires clear of ice. Buses also operate along the 506 Carlton and 512 St Clair routes also to keep more streetcars downtown core along the 501, 504 and 509 routes.

  • 501 Queen - operating in three parts:
  • Buses between Long Branch and Humber loops in the west;
  • Streetcars between Humber Loop and Kingston Road in the central area; and
  • Buses between Neville Park Loop and Kingston Road in the east.
  • 502 Downtowner - Buses along the entire route.
  • 503 Kingston Rd - Buses between Bingham and Woodbine (Queen East / Kingston) loops.
  • 504A King - No service to Distillery Loop. A Wheel-Trans vehicle is available to shuttle you between Distillery Loop and Sumach Street / King Street East.
  • 504B King - No service to Dufferin Gate Loop. Board buses along the 29 Dufferin route north to and from King Street West.
  • 505 Dundas - Buses along the entire route.
  • 506 Carlton - Buses along the entire route, except the buses operate to and from High Park Station, instead of High Park Loop.
  • 509 Harbourfront - operating normally.
  • 510 Spadina - Streetcars to and from Queens Quay / Spadina Loop. Transfer to streetcars along the 509 Harbourfront route, which has more service than usually, to travel to and from Union Station.
  • 511 Bathurst - Buses along the entire route.
  • 512 St Clair - Buses along the entire route.
Subway and rapid-transit trains

Storm trains operate overnight to keep the power rails clear of ice. Trains with an anti-freeze agent are also operating along all subway and rapid-transit lines now and are deploying the agent is deployed during rain.

Crews keep switches clear in yards with switch heaters, but will also manually make sure that the heaters are working effectively and take action if they are not. Work cars will act as storm trains in the yards to keep the power rails clear of ice.


The TTC relies on City of Toronto Transportation Service to keep all roads clear of ice. The says “we have adequate buses available in the event of a major power outage that knocks out our ability to operate streetcars. If the subway is affected by a power outage, shuttle buses will be deployed.”

Note also further, ongoing changes to 301 / 501 Queen service during extremely cold weather.