Text by James Bow
McCowan station is the eastern terminus of the Scarborough RT. It opened with the rest of the line on March 24, 1985 and shares the steel-and-glass architectural style of other stations on the line, save for Kennedy. Incoming trains change tracks via the crossover at the west end of the station and pull into the north side platform to lay over and reverse.
The station’s two-side platform design is nearly unique for a terminal station on the TTC today, although this design was used by Keele and Woodbine during their two-year stints as terminal stations, and by Kennedy RT station before renovations. Only Sheppard-Yonge Sheppard line station has two active platforms, one of which sees far more use than the other.
McCowan station’s design is a legacy of the Scarborough RT’s original plans to be an LRT route served by single-ended LRTs. Just as at Kennedy, it was initially expected that trains would pull into the station’s south side platform, detrain passengers, and then pull through a loop east of the station to turn around and return to pick up passengers on the north side platform. McCowan, built long after the Kennedy station structure, was able to be redesigned to accept a crossover. The vestigial loop is an unpowered and unused turning track found further east in McCowan Yard. The south side platform is not open to the public, except for passengers to quickly disembark from trains going off duty. The station’s only escalators serve the north side platform.
McCowan station serves just 4,150 riders on an average workday (as of 2013), making it the third least-used station on the RT (after Ellesmere and Midland). Buses that connect directly to the RT pass by the station and serve the bus terminal at Scarborough Centre, but the station does see traffic from nearby office buildings, and offers a walkway connection between an automatic entrance and the Consilium Place office development.
As of 2014, the station’s fate is uncertain. In the debate over replacing the Scarborough RT with an LRT or an extension of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway, the station is often marked for destruction, superseded by a subway stop either beneath the Scarborough Town Centre or serving the Ellesmere/McCowan intersection further south. It’s only under the LRT conversion plan that McCowan is retained, serving LRT trains passing through and heading east towards Centennial College and the Sheppard/Markham Road intersection.
Service Notes (as of January 3, 2016):
- See also the official TTC Page
- Line: 3 SCARBOROUGH RT
- Address: 1275 McCowan Road
- Opened: March 24, 1985
- Average Weekday Ridership: 3,930 (2014); 4,150 (2013)
- Hours of Operation:
First Train to Kennedy: 5:45 a.m. weekdays, 5:49 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 7:47 a.m. Sundays.
Last Train to Kennedy: 1:16 a.m. every day.
- Entrances: McCowan Road (on east side of McCowan Road, just north of Bushby Drive), Pedway to Consilium Place (automatic entrance; tokens and metropasses only)
- Elevators: None
- Escalators (click here for maintenance schedule): Two, from north side platform to concourse level.
- Parking: None
- No in-station washrooms
- Token vending machine
- Two side platforms (south side platform not available for pickup; passenger drop-off only)
TTC Surface Route Connections:
- 95 YORK MILLS (Walking transfer)
- All other buses should be accessed at Scarborough Centre station bus terminal
McCowan Station Image Archive
Looking east from McCowan station, the tracks continue to McCowan Yard. This view is best taken from the rear window of a waiting Scarborough RT train. James Bow took this photograph on May 16, 2013.