Toronto Rocket

TTC Toronto Rocket

Toronto Rocket chime00:07

Toronto Rocket chime

The Toronto Transit Commission Subway/RT system is a mass transit system operated in the city of Toronto, Canada. The system currently has 4 lines (+1 planned) and 69 stations (+6 under contruction), and owns about 706 subway cars.

The system carries approximately 901,200 commuters every day.

The TTC subway/RT system (excluding the Scarborough RT) uses a unique track gauge, which is 4ft 10 7/8 inches (1495mm) wide.


Initial planningEdit

In 1949, plans were drafted for a subway line down Yonge Street, from Eglinton Avenue (which was then the municipal border) in the north to Union Station on Front Street in the south. The initial line would have 12 stations, with 2 being above ground. At the same time, the TTC contracted Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon company to build an eventual 138 subway cars. The first pair, 5000-5001, was delivered by ship to Montreal in 1953, after which it was loaded onto a freight train and moved to Toronto, in time for the CNE of that year, where they were displayed. Future subway passengers could climb aboard the cars from a mock-up station platform.

First Subway in CanadaEdit

On March 30, 1954, the Yonge Subway Line was officially opened. The route was an instant success, and ridership became a problem almost instantly; it was often described as being so high that even today, the TTC is still looking for better solutions. In 1963, in order to reduce crowding on the line, an extension of 6 stations, running under University Avenue/Queens Park, was opened.

At the same time, the TTC drew up plans for both an east-west line, running under Bloor/Danforth from Woodbine Avenue in the east to Keele Street in the west, as well as what was then the longest subway cars in the world, the M-series cars.

The system growsEdit

The Bloor-Danforth line was opened in 1966, and made use of the new, longer M-series cars built by MLW, a subsidary of ALCO, due to the line's lack of tight curves. The line also made use of a decision made back in the 1910s, which took the form of a lower deck of the Prince Edward Viaduct over the Don Valley. The deck was specifically made to handle subway operations.

The Yonge subway was extended from Eglinton to Finch Avenue, in the north, by 1974. The University Avenue end of the same line was extended northward, following a ravine and an expressway, before ending up at Wilson Avenue in North York, by 1978. The part of the extension from Eglinton West to Wilson Avenue was in part due to mass protests leading to the cancellation of the Spadina expressway in favor of a subway. The Bloor-Danforth line was extended in the 1980s, to Kipling in the west and Kennedy (Kennedy ROad and Eglinton Avenue East) in the east.

It was during this time the TTC's highly-successful H-series subway cars were introduced. They were similar in dimensions to the M-series cars, but had major improvements including single-hand operations.

In the late 1970s, the TTC drew up plans for a light rail line running from Kennedy station to the newly developed Scarborough Center (Brimley and Ellesmere). Work began in the 1980s, and it would have been operated with streetcars had the government not stepped in and suggested that the TTC change the operations from an LRT to a light metro, running advanced equipment. The 6 station Scarborough RT opened in 1985. It is not interchangable with other lines because it uses Linear Motor-propelled cars, as well as running on standard (1435mm) gauge.

The final extension constructed in the 20th century was an extension of the Spadina line from Wilson to Downsview (Sheppard West), opened in 1996.

The new millenniumEdit

The city's newest subway line, the Sheppard subway, opened in 2002. It runs under Sheppard Avenue in the northern end of the city, from Yonge in the west to Don Mills road in the east.

More recently, tunneling on the latest extension, the Spadina-York subway extension, has completed. The extension will mark the first time the subway will run outside of Metro's boundaries.

Three extension and route plans are currently in the works; one: an LRT system running on Eglinton Avenue, from Black Creek in the west to Kennedy in the east. The second, an extension of the Bloor-Danforth line from Kennedy to Scarborough Center station, effectively replacing the Scarborough RT. Finally, plans exist for an LRT running down Sheppard Avenue East, from Don Mills to Meadowvale in the east.


This includes all existing and future lines. Future lines will be bolded and italicized.

  • Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina-York). It forms a U-shape in central Toronto, from North to South. The subway runs from Finch to Downsview, via Downtown and Union Station, where it makes a 180 degree turn. Extensions to Vaughan, York Region, is currently being built.
  • Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth-Scarborough), an east-west line from Kipling to Kennedy. Plans are in place for an extension to Scarborough, replacing the Scarborough RT.
  • Line 3 (Scarborough RT), an inverted L-shaped line running from Kennedy to McCowan. It is a light metro and used advanced technology. To be replaced by an extension of Line 2 in the future.
  • Line 4 (Sheppard), an east-west line from Sheppard-Yonge to Don Mills station.
  • Line 5 (Eglinton), an east-west line in the contruction stage. It will run between Black Creek and Kennedy. Unlike other subway lines it will use light rail trams instead of subway cars.
  • Line 6 (Sheppard East), an east-west line running from Don Mills to Meadowvale. Unlike other subway lines it will use light rail trams instead of subway cars.
  • Downtown relief line, a line in the planning stages. It would run from Don Mills station to Dundas West station, via Union and Front Street/Lakeshore. It would presumably be operated with subway cars.

Rolling StockEdit

All rolling stock mentioned are subway cars unless otherwise noted.

Active rosterEdit

  • Bombardier Toronto Rocket, numbered 5381-6076, currently being delivered. Operates on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina)
  • Bombardier T1, numbered 5000-5371, delivered 1993-2001, operates on Lines 2 (Bloor-Danforth) and 4 (Sheppard)
  • UTDC H6, numbered 5810-5935. Delivered in 1986-89. Operates on Line 2, currently being retired.
  • UTDC ICTS Mark 1, numbered 3000-3027. Linear-induction motor powered medium-capacity cars. Delivered in 1984. Operates on Line 3 (Scarborough RT).

Future fleet additionsEdit

  • Bombardier Flexity Freedom. Low floor Euro-style light rail trams to be operated on Lines 5 (Eglinton LRT) and 6 (Sheppard East LRT). 184 ordered. Delivery expected 2015.
  • 10 6-car Toronto Rocket subway cars are on order for 2016.

Retired RosterEdit

  • Gloucester Carriage & Wagons G-1, delivered in 1953-1959, numbered 5000-5105, 5110-5115, 5200-5227. Retired 1990. 2 preserved in Halton Coutny Railway Museum.
  • MLW/ALCO M-1, delivered in 1963, numbered 5300-5335. First 75ft subway cars. Retired 1999.
  • Hawker Siddely H-series (First generation), H1/2/4, delivered between 1965 and 1975. Numbered 5336-5663. Retired by January 2012.
  • Hawker Siddely H5, delivered 1976-1980, numbered 5670-5807, retired in July 2013.

Incidents and accidentsEdit

  • On March 27, 1963, a six-car subway train was completely destroyed by fire at Union Station. All passengers were evacuated.
  • On October 15, 1976, an arsonist destroyed a subway train at Christie Station. The station later had to be retiled with a different colour than the norm, and the unique colour theme still exists at the station.
  • The worst subway incident occured on August 11, 1995. Between Dupont and St. Clair West stations, a subway train collided with another stopped in the tunnel. Three were dead. The cause of the accident was found to be a signal passed at danger.
  • On December 8, 2000, a garbage train caught fire at Old Mill Station. It was completely destroyed, and the station suffered severe damage.
  • On August 14, 2003, the subway system was hit by a massive blackout and ground to a halt. It took another four days to finally reopen the entire network.
  • On December 21, 2013, half the subway system was shut down due to a massive ice storm which paralyzed the city. The Sheppard and Scarborough RT lines were completely shut down, and there were gaps of power outages on the remaining operating lines which caused significant delays. It was said that power had to be diverted from traffic lights to run the subway on the following Monday.

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