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Toronto Transit Commission running ghost trains: operators familiarize themselves with line 1 extension and new stations

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) began conducting tests on its Line 1 extension, known as the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, between Sheppard West and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre on Sunday, November 26th. The extension, which cost $3.1 billion, was funded by the federal and provincial governments and the Regional Municipality of York.


The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) began conducting tests on its Line 1 extension, known as the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.


The testing began immediately after passengers exited the train at Sheppard West. The tests include running ghost trains to ensure safety and a functional signaling system prior to its opening on December 17th. According to TTC spokesperson Heather Brown, the testing also allows operators to become familiar with the track’s new stations.

The operators have been given three weeks to familiarize themselves with the extension and ensure the service’s safety and reliability. During testing, the TTC is timing the service between stations and will adjust the timing if needed to maintain service levels. The extension allows the subway to cross regional municipal boundaries, which is new for the system.


“When the Line 1 extension opens on December 17 a number of our routes will change.
This map shows how these routes will connect to the new stations.” – TTC Design



The six new stations on the extension are Downsview Park, Finch West, York University, Pioneer Village, Highway 407, and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, all of which have new Presto fare gates.

“These stations are new to the Line 1 system. It opens a whole new world of transit for people north of Steeles Avenue who would have typically taken the bus to our stations,” said Brown. “These people can now hop onto a subway and come down into Toronto using the subway, which is a much faster journey than travelling on a bus and then transferring to a subway.”


“Located in Canada’s first national urban park, Downsview Park Station will be…
a thoroughly modern passenger terminal subscribing to sustainable design principles in step with Toronto Green Standards.” – Toronto Transit Commission



Downsview Park Station

Downsview Park Station allows for transit-oriented development on the south side of Sheppard Avenue West and offers bus terminal parking, as well as passenger pick-up and drop-off facilities. GO Transit has committed to cost-sharing for the facility, and the east pavilion contains both TTC spaces and GO Transit ticketing spaces.


“The cool roof over [the main] entrance and green roof over the elevated substation box meet the Toronto Green Standard and the Green Roof Bylaw.” – Toronto Transit Commission

Finch West Station

Finch West Station is located under Keele Street and incorporates green roofs, LED lighting in pylon signs, energy-efficient lighting in illuminated wayfinding, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, an energy-efficient HVAC system, and secure bicycle parking spaces. The station’s landscaping includes both native and drought-tolerant species, allowing for reduced storm water runoff.


“The architect’s vision for this structure is one of crisp, clean lines accented by daylight… Realizing this aspiration required close integration of architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services.” – Toronto Transit Commission


York University Station

York University Station is intended to remove the existing bus service currently circulating through the Common, while providing pedestrian access for facilities and developments on the York University campus. The station includes many of the same features as the Finch West Station. However, a major element of this station’s design is the metal roof over the upper concourse and entrances in the Common, which is considered a cool roof due to its high solar reflectance and reduced heat absorption.


“The station is intended to become a new civic landmark with unique and world-class architecture, straddling the border of Toronto and York Region and anchoring a corner
of York University Campus.” – Toronto Transit Commission


Highway 407 Station

The Highway 407 Station contains TTC subway, YRT, and GO Transit bus services, as well as space for a future 407 Transitway. The design includes 583 parking spaces, 25 accessible parking spaces, passenger pick-up and drop-off, and a barrier-free access route that is separate from vehicle traffic. The access route leads directly to the sliding doors at the main entrance.


“The Highway 407 station will be a visual landmark, a figurative and real connection
between the City of Toronto and York Region creating a transit/accessibility node and strong sense of place through its functional design and engaging form.” – TTC


Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station

The Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station, located north of Highway 7 to the west side of the relocated Millway Avenue, has a unique design, which was developed in response to existing site constraints and undeveloped land. In addition to sharing many convenient and energy-efficient features with the other new stations along the Line 1 extension, the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station contains a domed main entrance with a-zinc standing seam roof. The roof’s high solar reflectance reduces heat absorption, and its skylights allow daylight to penetrate, thus reducing power usage.


“The station is necessarily long and narrow. The vision counterpoints this length with a vertical ‘room’ at the centre that generously links all three levels in one grand space.” – Toronto Transit Commission


All station designs include native and drought-resistant landscaping. Bioswales remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water, which is especially beneficial around the Finch West, Pioneer Village, and Highway 407 parking lots where they help to filter and treat the automotive pollution from the rainwater before it enters the storm sewer.

Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and other dignitaries recently toured the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and Downsview Park stations. Del Duca noted,

“When the new subway extension opens, students and residents across the region will be able to get where they need to be sooner. We’ve reached today’s milestone as a result of our partnership with all three levels of government and the hard work of the many contractors that built the subway extension.”

Auberge on the Park-Tridel


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