What Shall We Do With Don Mills (2)?

When I talk about taking a Downtown Relief Line north to Eglinton, some people, including some at the TTC, look at me as if I had at least two heads.  That’s a shame, considering that the TTC itself did a preliminary design for this 35 years ago.

I offer these tidbits from my archives not to reignite a discussion we have had here extensively before, but to put to rest any claims that this line was only ever intended to stop at the Danforth.

DRLAlignment19740112cBack in October 1974, the TTC was considering various proposals for new rapid transit lines, one of which was the Queen Street subway. This line would have run from Roncesvalles and Queen east to somewhere beyond Broadview, then turned north past Greenwood yard and continued via Donlands to O’Connor. At that point, the line would cross the Don River to serve Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Parks winding up at the CPR crossing north of Eglinton. The map linked here is a bit fuzzy in places because the original is not clear, but it shows the alignment (including an alternative via the CNR corridor) quite clearly.


DRLBrochureCovercTen years later, the TTC was working on the Downtown Rapid Transit Study, and the route had morphed into an ICTS line to Union Station. 




DRLBrochure1cA brochure advertised this study and explained the growing problem of central area subway congestion complete with a suggestion that passengers transfer at St. George rather than Bloor-Yonge.




DRLBrochure2cThe DRL was never built because politics of the day favoured suburban projects, and instead we got the Sheppard Subway.

42 thoughts on “What Shall We Do With Don Mills (2)?

  1. You say that there’s no available space between the station and the Royal York, but how do things looks below the existing subway? How deep would the line have to go to clear the station, loop and any passages?

    From what I’ve seen it looks like maybe two stories of so beneath the existing station, which would make the transfer equivalent to the proposed parallel platforms from the old study (two flights up/down vs one up and one down for each transfer),

    Actually, I’ve been convinced on Wellington, but have a hard time buying that there is no feasible configuration for the subway station itself; what I don’t see is any way to handle that much concentrated pedestrian traffic in the railway station and PATH with a Union DRL station serving most of the financial district.

    Steve: Please refer to previous posts in which I have shown drawings showing the relative elevations of various parts of the station. The lower level of the subway structure is actually well below the “dig down” level of the railway station. Going that far down, leaving aside questions of the structural integrity of the subway itself, takes you below the water table as we know from problems with construction of the Waterfront LRT tunnel. The LRT loop is at the same elevation as the subway platform.


  2. I’ve been thinking about the possible DRL interfaces to the B-D for a while, hence this rather tardy post.

    To ease transfers from B-D to DRL, a cross-platform transfer would be ideal (it’s unfortunate that St George was never done that way). However, that would mean that the two lines would need to run parallel thru the station(s), requiring a z-shaped line. The narrowness of the existing above-ground streets over the existing B-D and the limited space through the neighbourhood is a big factor, but if the DRL is routed in vertically-stacked rather than side-by-side tracks, width taken up can be halved.

    Imagine Northbound DRL running via Pape station, along the South side of the existing Eastbound platform (making a new ‘centre’ platform for easy transfer), then descending and passing beneath B-D continuing perhaps as far as Donlands before turning North.

    Southbound could run via the North side of Donlands station, using an expanded Westbound ‘centre’ platform for downtown transfers. Continuing above the Northbound, then beside, would pass under B-D then go beneath the Northbound track at Pape, to turn south, still beneath the northbound track.
    There is the easy possibility to include connections to B-D to allow both easy access to Greenwood yard and also allow for interlining with B-D trains (Kennedy to Downtown). Avoids interference with existing tracks into the yard and does not need to run past the yard further South for access.

    Construction would be difficult but not much different from making a completely new North-South station, and much less than the big hole Yonge-Sheppard required. Surface disruption likely similar either way.

    This does not provide for a full passenger interchange at either Pape or Donlands (each station would handle only North or South-bound), but the option of adding a lower-level (basement) platform beneath the existing, is possible.

    Since most passenger transfers don’t need to use escalators or stairs, it’s much less busy in either station. Above-ground station changes, and added corridors are not needed. Also, existing escalators and stairs still only need to handle incoming surface passengers. (notwithstanding any upgraded emergency exit requirements).

    OK, TTC don’t need to tender for design now.

    Steve: The north to east curve at Pape Station would require demolition of existing buildings. In general the type of structure you propose cannot be easily fitted in without building demolition. Moreover, creating a new stacked structure between Pape and Donlands would be extremely difficult.


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