Full Metro, LRT and
Advanced Rapid Transit

Toronto is known for having one of, if not the most, clean and efficient subway lines in North America. Opening in 1954, it has four lines, 69.9 km, and 71 stations. Of that, 6.5 km and 6 stations are above ground, while 51.4 km of the subway system is below ground.

Officially known as
Route 3, the Scarborough Advanced Light Rapid Transit line, which in the near future may be converted to light rail and extended, is in a controversial spot. Because the above ground sky train like line cannot run on regular Toronto subway tracks, vites have been cast to convert it to it's originally planned light rail standard, so allowing it to hook up with the Toronto streetcar system. Due to budget shortfalls, the Scarborough line will remain with Skytrain technology until 2015. Presently, the 6.4 km, six station line is mostly elevated, with only a small section in subway. Any extensions will likely occur after the line is converted to light rail.

New Subway Train Artist Conception
Photos courtesy Kevin W. Shen. Toronto subway, December 1998


In 2008, the TTC decided to engage in a massive light rail expansion program, probably because their excursions into the subway world had proven incompetent and expensive. The light rail project, known as Transit City, was to include 7 new light rail lines and 126 km of new track, at least one of which as an underground section. Upon election of a more conservative mayor in 2010, the new city elder pledged to kill the light rail expansion projects in favor of subway expansion. His Honor seemed especially opposed to street running trams. The fate of an already under construction light rail line along Shepperd Avenue, and two light rail subways was uncertain.

In March 2011, the Transit City project was killed and substituted with a plan to extend the Shepherd Street subway by 8.4 miles, and rebuild the Scarbarough line on it's existing guideway as a light rail line. Then, in February 2012, the Toronto City Council gave the finger to the heavy rail loving mayor, and voted to reinstate the light rail oriented Transity City project. Is this how transit systems never get built?

In Toronto's York region, a program known as
VivaNext is administering the construction of two subway extensions totaling 15.5 km, along with two new light rail lines. The 8.7 km 6 station Spadina subway extension was expected to open in 2015.  The new expected opening date has been moved to 2017.

Two tunnel boring machines are chewing through rock on a 19 km
subway tunnel for a section of the new 24 km Eglinton light rail subway. Apparently, the machines work by broadcasting Barney episodes repeatedly into the substratra. As the rock absorbs the waves of the frightening children's show, it becomes increasinly porous and eventually, so completely bored that it breaks down into a fine purple powder, a favored souvenier of Toronto metrophiles. According to the project web site, the line will link up with the planned-to-be-rebuilt Scarborough Rapid Transit line. An interactive route map can be found here.

Metrolinx is the agency that will interfere - I mean integrate - many of the services and projects administered by TTC and VivaNext.

In 2015 a commuter rail link to Toronto's airport opened.

Making Tracks To Toronto - Light Rail or Subway? - A Report from the Pembina Institute, maker of fine transit reports

Light rail

Toronto's streetcars operate on
11 routes, 3 of which operate in a central city subway.

Scarborough Rapid Transit is a 6.4 km automated mini-metro based on Skytrain technology. The line is completely above ground and despite it's name, does not served the famed Scarborough Faire grounds.. Because of the linear induction technology used, it has become a bit of a white elephant since it can't coorinate well with other parts of the transit system. The cars, no longer in production, are getting old and are unable to take tight turns. They also suck in cold weather. Smart choice, Toronto. So, after careful consideration, the TTC plans to rebuild the line as light rail, along with a small underground section, after the 2015 Pan Am games finish.

Scarborough Transit Blog

Transit Toronto
GO Transit (operates  6 station, 6.5 km ALRT) 
TTC History
Toronto Transit Commission's Home Page
TTC - Toronto Transit Commission
Infiltration Magazine explores the Toronto subway
Cool Toronto subway page with photos
TTC 1000's TTC Page
TTS Online
City of Toronto's TTC page, with info on the new subway line (1998)
TTC Discusssion Archive
Ontario Transit Operators and Toronto Pages (including photos)
TTC site in French
SRT is a fairweather friend according to the Toronto Star
Metropass - TTC fan page
GTA (Greater Toronto Area) TRANSIT - Main Page
Street Car Toronto
Trollies of Toronto
TTC Home page
Abandoned Toronto Subway: Subway Secrets
Ian Hendry's
Toronto subway photos
Photo gallery from NYCSUBWAY.ORG
The Toronto Transit Commission's Streetcar Lines Should Die!
Canada's First Subway

Toronto Transit Commission
1900 Yonge St.
Toronto, Ontario
M4S 1Z2

Phone: (416) 393-7837
Fax: (416) 393-2073

New Toronto subway cars will allow TTC personnel to have bad passengers "walk the plank". Cool. eh?

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