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Ellesmere

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Text by James Bow

Ellesmere station is a station on the SCARBOROUGH RT between Midland station and Lawrence East. It is the northernmost station on the route’s at-grade section. North of the station, the tracks descend into a tunnel beneath Metrolinx’s Uxbridge subdivision before curving east, rising to the surface and then onto an elevated structure west of Ellesmere station.

Ellesmere station is infamous as the least-used station on the TTC’s subway and RT network. In 2014, it served just 1,410 passengers on an average weekday, almost a thousand less than the next lowest-patroned station, Bessarion on the SHEPPARD subway (2,380). Though low, the number is an increase of 270 passengers per weekday from 2012, a sign that new developments in the area have sparked additional traffic.

Ellesmere station 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. The station sits at-grade, next to the Uxbridge subdivision, and beneath the Ellesmere Road bridge over the tracks. Passengers wishing to reach the station from Ellesmere Road have to descend one of two service roads connecting to Ellesmere Road at either end of the bridge to exits at the station.

Unlike Lawrence East station, there is no bus terminal at Ellesmere to provide an transfer-free connection to the 95 YORK MILLS bus. This was a victim of budget cuts as the line was being built. The TTC drew up plans to build a mezzanine above the station building, with stairs leading to the street at the bridge, providing a more direct connection to 95 YORK MILLS buses. However, budget pressures meant that Ellesmere station had entered into a catch-22: it had insufficient riders to justify the construction expense, and was unlikely to get them without the additional construction.

The TTC did take advantage of its spacious industrial surroundings to add parking east of the station, between it and the service road, providing 68 spaces between 5 a.m. and 2 a.m. every day. On September 1, 2013, the TTC extended a rush-hour branch of its 95 YORK MILLS route to loop in the western service road, providing a more direct connection to the station for a handful of buses.

In 2009, as the TTC and Metrolinx planned to upgrade and extend the SCARBOROUGH RT into an LRT line reaching further northeast into Scarborough, Ellesmere station was to be retained. As that plan was cancelled in favour of a proposed extension of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway, the station was slated for eventual abandonment. The proposed subway extension follows a different alignment, with no intermediate stops between Kennedy and Scarborough Centre stations. Proposals from Toronto’s SmartTrak and Metrolinx’s Regional Express Rail suggest upgrading the Stouffville GO train to frequent operation using electric trains, with stops at Lawrence and Ellesmere, but concrete plans for the replacement of Ellesmere station remain in the future, and the station itself remains in quiet limbo.

Trivia

  • Ellesmere station was the site of a historic moment in the construction of the Scarborough RT. After months of testing, ICTS car-builder UTDC delivered RT cars #3002 and 3003 from its its Millhaven plant to the site of Ellesmere station via the Uxbridge sub on April 16, 1984. After a ceremony for the press and dignitaries, they were officially unloaded onto the Scarborough RT rails at 11:30 a.m., and made a short run under their own power the next day. Further tests were made on the system as more cars arrived to the Ellesmere station site. Finally, on September 28, vehicle deliveries were made to the newly built McCowan Yard instead of the temporary unloading facilities at Ellesmere station.
  • Sometime after April 2015, the TTC did some minor renovation work on the station, installing Presto gates, and also covering over most of the windows with a translucent film, robbing passengers of the view from the outside.

Service Notes (as of January 1, 2017):

  • Off-Site Resources
  • Line: 3 SCARBOROUGH RT
  • Address: 1025 Ellesmere Road
  • Opened: March 24, 1985
  • Average Weekday Ridership: 1,410 (2014); 1,140 (2013)
  • Hours of Operation:
    First Train to Kennedy: 5:50 a.m. weekdays, 5:54 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:03 a.m. Sundays.
    First Train to McCowan: 6:07 a.m. weekdays, 6:09 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:18 a.m. Sundays Last Train to Kennedy: 1:22 a.m. every day. Last Train to McCowan: 1:37 a.m. every day
  • Entrances:
    • West side, accessed from Kennedy Road along the north side of Ellesmere Road, following the curved sidewalk for 343 metres into the western service road and continuing east for 50 metres on the path to the entrance, and then down a flight of stairs.
    • East side, accessed from Midland Avenue along the north side of Ellesmere Road, following the sidewalk for 124 metres into the eastern service road for another 22 metres, and then continue west for 187 metres. Follow another bend in the sidewalk southward for 34 metres and continue west for 34 metres on a path towards the entrance, then proceed down a flight of stairs to reach the entrance
  • Elevators: None
  • Escalators: None
  • Parking: 68 spaces in lot to the east of the station, accessed via eastern service road.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • No in-station washrooms
  • Two side platforms

TTC Surface Route Connections:


Ellesmere Station Image Archive


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