Sheppard East / Don Mills Station Design

The TTC has confirmed that the Sheppard East LRT will come west into Don Mills Station rather than terminating at Consumers Road, but the design at Don Mills is still under review.

Just to recap from the previous article on this topic, the preferred design at Don Mills would have seen the LRT at the same level as the subway.  The track layout would have given a staggered layout with the LRT pulling into a stub track that was cut into a lengthened subway platform (see illustration in the TTC report).  The actual track and platform layout (not shown) would have had a second platform further back for use when the stub track was occupied.

This was an alternative to both of the layout options in the EA document (see pages 6 and 7 of part 2 of the EA Report).  The first version shows a connection on the south side of the concourse level at Don Mills Station, while the second is at the same level as the subway.

For the concourse connection, it is important to note the relative position of the existing subway station and structures at its western end.  From TTC staff, I have learned that there is a potential conflict between a fan shaft and a  future north-south Don Mills LRT tunnel, but that the TTC believes this tunnel can be fitted in.  Any junction between the Sheppard and Don Mills LRTs at concourse level must deal with this constraint.

For the subway level connection, the original scheme placed the LRT platform well east of the subway station, and created a long walking transfer for passengers.  The revised design with the stub track cut into the subway platform shortens the distance by offsetting the LRT and subway tracks and reducing clearance requirements for buffer zones.

When Queen’s Park announced that the Sheppard East line would be through-routed via Don Mills to Finch, this completely changed the parameters for Don Mills Station.  TTC staff are reviewing design options for this scheme, and it will likely place the LRT station at concourse level.

The discussion by Commissioners also included a desire that any designs for this first wave of LRT lines take into account integration with the second set of Transit City lines.  At Don Mills, there is the obvious problem of how the station will operate once there is a Don Mills LRT providing through north-south service, and how combined Finch/Sheppard and Don Mills services will fit on the surface between Sheppard and Finch.

17 thoughts on “Sheppard East / Don Mills Station Design

  1. I wish they would just put the LRT bellow Don mills train platform like St George station the configiration for the tail track can also be like the St George was before the spadina subway was built with tracks running down to meet the Bloor line. I know that means going deeper but it at least it resolves some issues such as bunching. The way they are proposing it now the cars at the end of the platform will have most of the riders as people hate walking down the length of the platform. If it was under I think it would be more spread out.

    Steve: Going under would be very difficult as Don Mills is already a very deep station. In all likelihood, the station will be on the south side of the concourse level and this eliminates your concern about overcrowding at the end of the LRT trains.


  2. A concourse connection would make it far more difficult to eventually convert the Sheppard subway to LRT, right? If there’s a one-seat-ride dream worth chasing, that seems to me a far better one than a Finch West to Sheppard East via Don Mills. Travelling from northern Etobicoke to Scarborough, it isn’t the transfer at Sheppard that makes the route unappealing — it’s the dozens of stops built to provide local service along Finch and Sheppard. I tend to believe we do need better crosstown service but, either way, this route isn’t it.

    If the Finch West LRT wants to come down Don Mills, it might as well keep going south towards Eglinton.

    Steve: Metrolinx is not noted for thinking ahead. Some bright spark got the idea of a continuous Sheppard/Finch line, and so by gosh that’s what we’re going to build.


  3. I’m not very good at reading the engineering drawings:

    Does the geography of the station make a transfer between a Finch West-Sheppard East LRT through service feasible? I assume such a transfer, if at all plausible would have to be on a concourse level.

    Steve: The Don Mills line would have a station bracketing the Sheppard line on the concourse level with a T junction between the tracks. If it runs as one continuous line, then only the Sheppard platform would be used (south of the concourse). Otherwise, Don Mills trains would stop on the north-south platform and passengers would walk west into the concourse to board Sheppard LRT trains.


  4. Not exactly on topic, but I couldn’t help noticing how many major or semi-major streets won’t have stops. Are connecting passengers supposed to walk 400 meters to catch the LRT?

    Steve: As far as I know, all intersections where transit services cross the line have stops.


  5. Dwight said … “I wish they would just put the LRT bellow Don mills train platform like St George station the configiration for the tail track can also be like the St George was before the spadina subway was built with tracks running down to meet the Bloor line.”

    Actually, west of St. George (on the upper level), the pair of inner tail tracks that Spadina eventually connected into, and the outer wye tracks were all there from the very beginning (1963).


  6. I’m curious, why not give the LRT the other side of the platform? Don Mills is the end of the line anyways, so why not just give one side to the subway and the other to light rail?

    This would also have the added benefit of enabling extending the subway (or the LRT) through to the next stop on the same ROW, whenever service changes are warranted.

    Steve: Whatever the arrangement, it is important that there be more than one track available for both lines at the terminal. The LRT line especially will eventually reach a service level where a single stub platform could produce terminal congestion. This is not a problem on the SRT only because the fleet size limits the frequency of service to a level that a single track at Kennedy can handle.


  7. This underground terminal seems awfully expensive to me. Unless the TTC is serious about converting the Sheppard subway to LRT, it would surely make more sense to build the terminal in the concourse level, given the complexities of the Finch-Sheppard through routing and the inevitable slow orders required if the subway and LRT stations are placed end-to-end. (Or even just building a loop on the surface somewhere in the Fairview Mall parking lot east of the bus terminal, and running on the surface across Highway 404). I think that the TTC needs to be very careful about excessively gold-plating the Transit City lines, as $100 million can buy an awful lot of buses to improve local bus service.


  8. I have two question that are a little off topic, and I’m not sure if someone already addressed them. My first question is regarding the actual lines. Will they be treated like subway lines? meaning will they have their own colour to identify each line. For example on a subway system map it would make sense to identify the Sheppard lrt line in light purple considering the Sheppard subway line is already identified in dark purple . My second question which kind of relates to my first, is regarding stops. Will transit city stops have electronic signage indicating when the next train is arriving. I looked at Viva’s proposed bus stops for their BRT and to be honest it looks way more advanced then the stops they showed in the EA report for Sheppard lrt.

    Steve: As to colours, I haven’t the faintest idea, and suspect the TTC doesn’t either. As for stop indications, the TTC has a plan to roll this out over the next few years, and by the time the TC routes open, it should be integrated with them.


  9. Could they use the subway platform on the north side of Sheppard and then have the LRT line turn north in a tunnel? This way each service would get a single track in the station: LRT on the north platform and HRT on the south platform.

    Steve: As I have written earlier, a single track station poses problems for capacity, especially for a through-routed LRT, and for storage of trains that are temporarily out of service. There would also be a gradient issue in the junction with the north-south line that must cross at mezzanine level to avoid the subway structure. Although in the short term, there is only an LRT line north of Sheppard, the Don Mills LRT will eventually run through and cannot be built at a level conflicting with the subway.


  10. Don Mills station is sure getting dangerously complex – shows the sin of not planning ahead. What’s the cost if the LRT stays on the surface and the subway goes to Consumers? People could change at whichever station suits them, depending on their route; the Don Mills station handles fewer people and is of a simpler design; more park & ride is available at Consumers that is not at the mercy of that mall. And there is some assurance that the whole thing won’t become a boondoggle because it wasn’t planned exactly right.

    Steve: The option of bringing the LRT on the surface to Don Mills together with a subway extension to Consumers has not been costed out, but would likely be more expensive than anything studied so far. We know that the subway extension even with the LRT ending at Consumers is the most expensive scheme, and keeping the LRT operational on the surface west to Don Mills would add to this.

    The surface option was rejected because of problems with traffic congestion at the 404 crossing and at the Don Mills intersection.

    Personally, I think the whole idea of through-routing to Finch is a crock of bovine effluent, but Metrolinx and the Premier have a fetish for continuous, cross-city routes.


  11. Wouldn’t the implementation of pocket tracks for both the subway and the LRT line at Don Mills Stn allow for a seamless cross-platform interchange? If the purpose of a secondary track is to store spare vehicles at the station until the main service track becomes available, then this would be an effective way to manage headways for both modes in station. The next train in the sequence can await the departure of the first to enter the platform, unload and reload passengers, then be off again.

    I think that keeping Sheppard East LRT separate and disconnected from the Don Mills and Finch ‘Crosstown’ Lines ultimately is a wiser decision than interlining the three. Given the massively overbuilt nature of Don Mills Stn’s bus terminus, there’s no reason why these lines couldn’t somehow be rejigged to directly pass through it. Customers transferring onto the subway would still be no more inconvenienced than existing bus patrons are (90 seconds interchange); and it would allow for all four lines to quickly let on and off passengers then be on their way, without need for a lengthy stopover.

    Steve: The main problem with running the LRT through the bus terminal is the grade that would be needed to climb up from the tunnel under the 404.


  12. Hey Steve – there’s an article in the National Post about the Sheppard LRT. Apparently, storm and sanitary sewers, as well as hydro and phone wires run under Sheppard and will be moved away from the centre of the road, where the LRT track bed will be. This blows me away! I thought one of the advantages of LRT is that this sort of invasive construction could be avoided? Moving storm and sanitary sewers along 14km of road is a huge endeavour, and I can’t imagine this work could be completed very quickly at all. Why not leave the sewers where they are and add maholes at certain intervals for servicing? Surely that would be far cheaper and would significantly shorten construction time.

    Steve: It is cheaper to move the utilities than to rearrange the road for an LRT that is offset to one side. Manholes are fine for routine access, but when something breaks and you have to dig up the road, you don’t want to have to shut down your brand new LRT line.


  13. Dear SM:

    Last night residents along the corridor of the north extension of the Don Mills-Leslie LRT into York Region (to Hwy.7) felt the LRT on the surface should be relocated onto nearby corridors — Warden, Woodbine, 404. They were NIMBY as it would infringe on their backyards adjacent to Don Mills. Density was too low to support LRT. Ridership was now too low now & bus noise & fumes too high. They want to preserve natural areas.

    They want to preserve area as is — that is why they moved here from core. (Politicians were absent — got a preview earlier in their councils.)

    They were told that this is a concept, but they felt it was a fait accompli & they had no choice. There is no committed funding either. It is a logical choice/route as the northerly section runs through employment lands. It connects to Sheppard, Bloor, 407 & 7 Transitways.

    Steve: Thanks for the info. Sad to read, but not surprising. So they moved there to get away from the core. Have they noticed plans to extend Highway 404 and the developed area to just short of Hudson’s Bay? They will have noise and pollution with or without transit..


  14. I just put an offer for a home located around Old Sheppard and Brian (cloase to Victoria Park Avenue and Sheppard). I am concerning whether the LRT line is under ground between Victoria Park and Don Mills Station. I studied the report and draw, but still no idea. Can you tell me the point? Thank you in advance!

    Steve: Brian Drive (opposite Consumers Road) is the point where the line changes from being on the surface to underground. The line is on the surface crossing the intersection, and drops underground west of the intersection to go under Highway 404.


  15. The picture showing the preferred connection between Sheppard East LRT and Sheppard Subway is UGLY!

    This subway platform connection idea is stupid. I looked at Google Maps and I think the LRT in Don Mills Bus Terminal can be possible. I don’t think that grade is too steep, if it is – use a chain lift!

    Steve: One reason for having the LRT at subway level is to placate the folks who hope the subway will be extended some day. This way, the tunnel can be recycled. Also, I think it’s a rotten illustration.


  16. Steve: One reason for having the LRT at subway level is to placate the folks who hope the subway will be extended some day. This way, the tunnel can be recycled. Also, I think it’s a rotten illustration.

    So basically use the LRT tracks to build a subway? That makes the subway run on the surface of Sheppard… and use those small side platforms? What about the intersections, are subways going to stop at them?

    And a better word for the illustration is s***.

    Steve: No, the subway would not use the surface track. However, the LRT tunnel will extend under Highway 404 and take the line over to Consumers Road. That tunnel could be recycled for a subway extension to a point west of a new underground Consumers Road Station.


  17. Hi, Steve.

    I never heard this discussed before. But do you know if cross-over tracks will be implemented along the LRT routes?

    This would be very advantageous, as the entire route will not have to be closed down if a problem occurs.


    Steve: Yes, they will.


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