There’s A New Subway On The Way (2)

As construction progressed on the Bloor-Danforth-University subway, the TTC issued progress reports from time to time.

Progress Report 3 predates the opening of the University leg of the project. By this time, a funding contribution from Queen’s Park brought the then estimated completion date back from 1969 to 1967.

The first batch of aluminum 75-foot cars, a form that would become standard for Toronto, came from Montreal Locomotive Works. All subsequent orders went to the plant in Thunder Bay now owned by Bombardier.

7 thoughts on “There’s A New Subway On The Way (2)

  1. “February 19, 2016
    There’s A New Subway On The Way

    “With all the hoopla about yet another new transit plan for Toronto, it’s time to remember that the 50th birthday of the Bloor-Danforth subway is coming up in a week’s time. Depending on which event you consider the “real” birthday, it will either be Thursday, February 25 (the anniversary of the ceremonial opening) or Friday, February 26 (the first day of revenue service)”

    I think that your days are off by one day of the week. The Official Opening was Friday Feb 25 and opening of revenue service was Saturday February 26, 1966. The first rush hour was Monday February 28, 1966, a day that will be forever remembered by the Engineering Society at the U of T as St. Ralph’s Day, named after Ralph Day the TTC chairman at the time.

    Steve: I am citing the days as they appear in the 2016 calendar (the anniversaries), not the days of the original events in 1966.

    The Engineers at U of T had their official opening of the Subway around 1:30 p.m. at either St. George or Museum Station; this was in keeping with their tradition at having their own opening ceremony for every subway in Canada up to that point in time.

    Somehow the emergency power switch was thrown. (Notice the use of the passive voice. In writing up reports and labs we were taught to use the passive voice to make it objective instead of subjective. In other words do not take personal responsibility.) It might have been a result of firing the cannon in the subway station but it threw the first afternoon rush hour into total chaos as the TTC had no idea as to how to straighten out the service of the then integrated service. I believe it took them 90 minutes to restore service.

    For this unfortunate act, the Engineering Society was fined $1500 by the University of Toronto. The fine was paid by the Engineering Society in pennies which were delivered in an armoured car and wheeled into the U of T office with armed guards and the executive suitably attired in white tie and tails. Let us remember St. Ralph’s Day on Sunday February 28, around 1:30 p.m. This probably drove a large nail through the idea of keeping an integrated service.

    Steve: The integrated service was doomed before it even began by a combination of TTC management resistance, bad scheduling and even worse operations. The wye as we know it was built over TTC objections in response to an external expert’s view of how the subway should operate.

    I have a copy of the schedule. (Don’t ask me to scan it. It is two very large sheets of paper.) Trains were scheduled down to six second time increments, a ludicrous level of detail for an outfit that has trouble staying within a few minutes of “on time” anywhere. The three services (Eglinton-Keele, Eglinton-Woodbine, and Woodbine-Keele) constantly switched trains between routes because somebody decided that having two trains to the same destination in a row would simply be an affront to the subway gods and would confuse riders to no end. Had the line been scheduled as three independent services using the “wye” on a first-come, first-served basis, things would not have been such a mess. It was planned to fail, and succeeded in that goal magnificantly.

    That the service changed to the configuration we have today only six months after the line opened (and allowing for the usual three-month lead time on schedule changes) shows quite clearly there was never an intent to make the integrated service work, but rather to demonstrate that it would be a complete cock-up.


  2. Steve,

    I notice that one of the maps outlines the tunnel section between Yonge & Sherbourne. Do you happen to have another of these maps that identifies the surface location of the tunnel section between Dufferin & Ossington stations? I’ve noticed a brief section there but unlike other tunnels on Line 2 I can’t see an obvious reason for it.

    Steve: The map in this post shows the area at Ossington Station. There was a story that I cannot verify that the subway was avoiding a building, possibly a pub, but there is no sign of where this might have been. On the west side of Delaware Avenue opposite the secondary entrance, there is a church dating from 1964, an appropriate time for something built above the new subway structure.


  3. Thanks Steve, you’ve narrowed down the tunnel location for me! I get a bit turned around on distances underground.

    If your story is true it’s amazing that a single property owner was able to get away from having their property expropriated.


  4. Re: short stretch of tunnel west of Ossington. I always thought this was directly below Dovercourt and was done in order to prevent disruption of streetcar service and access to Bloor cars. At times, Lansdowne would be blocked, and Dovercourt was the only other way to allow cars to enter and exit service.

    Steve: But it’s only a half-rounded tunnel as if they were grazing the edge of something on the north side. If it were completely round, then your theory might hold up.


  5. Re: Half-rounded tunnel: I also thought it was round from the north side of the westbound track to the south side of the eastbound track, with the wall being in the middle giving the half-round look. And what it looks like is kind of desceptive anyhow: I read the original portal north into Summerhill Stn. (which as you know has since been extended) was also tunneled, even though it looks like cut-and-cover.


  6. Steve wrote:

    Had the line been scheduled as three independent services using the “wye” on a first-come, first-served basis, things would not have been such a mess. It was planned to fail, and succeeded in that goal magnificently.

    Not to mention that integrated service would have been better for riders if St. George were built so that one platform had all westbound trains and Bay were built so that one platform had all eastbound trains, instead of the next west/next east alternating between levels.

    Steve: The arrangement you describe would have made it impossible to use St. George as the terminal of the University subway.


  7. Steve wrote:

    The arrangement you describe would have made it impossible to use St. George as the terminal of the University subway.

    Precisely – it was designed and built for separate operation with St. George as the terminal of the University subway. If integration was the driving force in the design, the need to short-turn trains for University would likely locate a crossover a station or two away, such as at Spadina.


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