The TTC has published a Major Projects page for its Bloor-Yonge station expansion with a few renderings of the platform level views.
Many more illustrations were available on the TTC’s bid site, and this article is based on documents there which go into considerably more detail.
There are a lot of images here, and so I will leave most of the article beyond the “more” line.
The project involves the creation of a separate eastbound platform for Line 2 Bloor-Danforth and the reconfiguration of the existing centre platform as westbound only. Circulation space between Line 1 Yonge and Line 2 will be expanded substantially.
At the north end of Bloor Station, both platforms will be extended about one car length to the north (the existing Bloor crossover is located a short distance north of the station) to open up circulation space .
A new main entrance will be built within 2 Bloor Street East.
On the south side, at 81 Bloor East, an entrance will be added within a building whose primary purpose is to house a substation for electrical power to the expanded station. Traction power will continue to be supplied through the TTC’s Asquith Substation.
Four new fan plants will be added to bring the expanded station to modern fire code, and the existing fan plant at the south end of Bloor Station will be refurbished.
The drawings show no provision for Platform Edge Doors.
This will be a Design-Build project with the successful bidder responsible for taking TTC plans now at about 30% completion to a full 100% design, followed by construction. The Request for Proposals is expected to close later in 2023.
Construction is planned to begin in 2024Q2 with the new Line 2 eastbound platform and new areas of Line 1 platforms in service by 2029Q2. This assumes that the Yonge North Subway Extension to York Region will open in 2030. The project would close out in 2031.
Support for the project is in place from all levels of government, but until the bids come in, we will not know whether the full scope of work will fit within available funding of $1.5 billion.
The footprint of the expanded station will be considerable, and the drawing below gives an idea of how much more territory the station will occupy.
Bloor-Yonge Past and Future
Bloor-Yonge Station, as originally proposed, looked like this. All of the buildings at this intersection have changed, and the subway entrances come through much newer structures today.
The painting is by Sigmund Serafin in 1957 during the design stage of the Bloor-Danforth-University subway. For the complete collection see The Sigmund Serafin Subway Paintings.
The existing structure of Line 2 Bloor-Danforth is immedately underneath Line 1 Yonge where the lines cross. Here is a cross-section view. This is very different from planned interchanges with the Ontario Line which will be 30m underground in bedrock.
The TTC foresees considerable growth in the demand placed on this station. Note that the estimates are based on pre-covid conditions and assume a return to “normal” demand at some point. Demand is expected to almost double from 220,000/day pre-covid to 420,000 in 2056.
Here is a historical overview of the system development. (Click on either image to open in a gallery.) Note that the end state map shows only lines which are funded and in some degree of construction progress.
The level of demand on this interchange also assumes service increases on both Lines 1 and 2 using the capabilities of Automatic Train Control (ATC). This has been installed on Line 1, and planning is underway for the Line 2 project. Also required will be more trains and additional storage for the expanded fleets on each line.
The projected demand on the platforms will be severe without greater capacity. Even with new service on the Ontario Line, Bloor-Yonge would encounter severe problems. There is no indication in the TTC modeling of the effect of GO expansion and fare integration, and the diversion of riders this might bring about.
The largest change at Bloor-Yonge will be the provision of a new eastbound platform south of the existing Yonge Station. This is roughly equivalent to the change made at Union where a shared centre platform was replaced by new Yonge and revamped University line platforms.
Although it seems like a very long time ago, riders can easily remember the crowding conditions at Bloor-Yonge pre-covid and these would worsen without expansion. An important point here is that simply running more trains will not solve the problem because there must be circulation space for a higher rate of passenger flow, and storage for more riders in the event of even a minor delay. Moreover, while the focus has been on the southbound congestion at Bloor (as shown below) in the AM peak, there are serious problems on the Yonge Station platform due to its substandard size and shared centre platform design. This will be accentuated if Line 2’s capacity is not expanded so that it can take passengers away from Yonge Station at least as fast as they arrive from Line 1 in the PM peak. (Click on any image below to open a gallery.)
The entrances to the station will be reconfigured for added capacity. Circulation space will be enlarged and there will be more “vertical circulation elements” (“VCE” in the drawings) between levels.
81 Bloor Street East is a new entrance located on the south side of Bloor (see drawing on the left below), The rendering at the lower right is a bit odd with a wheelchair user but no elevator in the image. However, there is an elevator (look closely at the upper left image for the green square), but it is out of frame in the rendering.
Line 1 Platform Level
The existing Line 1 Bloor Station has side platforms with three exits: to the concourse under The Bay at the north end of the station, down to Yonge Station on Line 2, and to Hayden Street near the south end o the station.
In the proposed platform shown in isometric (centre) and plan view (right) below, the transfer concourse between the two lines is substantially expanded into space under Bloor Street (remember that Yonge Station lies on a diagonal north of Bloor and only turns directly under the street at the east end).
The upper level of the west entrance to Yonge Station will be expanded to the south to provide access t the new eastbound platform.
In the views below, the one on the left looks east across the northbound platform into the expanded concourse and toward the vertical links down to the new eastbound platform. On the right, the view looks east toward the southbound platform within the expanded concourse, and with the link down to the eastbound platform in the centre of the image.
Line 2 Platform Level
The drawing on the left below shows how Yonge Station lies diagonally across the northeast corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets. The pink area shows the extent of new construction to expand concourse areas on both the southbound and northbound side of Bloor Station, and for the new entrance and substation at 81 Bloor Street East.
The middle drawing shows the expansion area filled in with the new eastbound platform and circulation to the concourse above. The drawing on the right is a plan view of the expanded station.
The view on the left looks west along the new eastbound platform. Trains will load on the right rather than the left. Out of frame in this image on the right is a new wall to be installed beside the existing platform.
The view on the right looks west on the westbound platform. Note the grill in the background which is the new wall along the south side of the existing (eastbound) platform.
Accessibility through the station will be provided by multiple elevators, although none of them appears to be paired. There is an elevator linking each of the northbound and southbound Line 1 platforms to the eastbound and westbound platforms on Line 2.
The expanded station will require considerably more electrical power, and a new substation will be located in the combined entrance/substation to be built at 81 Bloor Street East. The image below looks north through the new building.
With the large expansion of the station and the projected usage level, the station’s ventilation must be brought to modern fire code. This will require five fan plants as shown in the drawings below.
- The central fan plant will be under Bloor Street south of the existing Line 2 and west of Line 1.
- The north fan plant will be north of the existing Line 1 Bloor station on top of the subway tunnel and beside the TTC’s Asquith Substation.
- The east fan plant will be under Bloor Street east of the Line 2 Yonge station.
- The west fan plant will be west of Yonge Station and above the Line 2 tunnel. Construction of this plant assumes the redevelopment of the existing building sitting on top of the Bloor Subway.
- The south fan plant already exists west of Bloor Station just south of the platform on the south side of Hayden Street. It will be refurbished.
In the images above, note the footings under the Line 2 structure. These are required because a stream runs under the buildings here. Indeed, part of the development on the north side of the street rests on an underground bridge.
The illustrations below show cutaway views through the Line 1 Yonge (upper) and Line 2 Bloor (lower).
Although the TTC documents include proposed staging and timing for various aspects of the project, I have not included them here as they are bound to change as the successful bidder proposes design refinements.
I never noticed this when I’ve previously looked at that Sigmund Serafin painting, but there are way too many buses at the surface level!
One would think that platform screen doors should be installed at the same time. However, non-transit using decision makers have made the decision not to. Typical for Toronto, where pubic transit is not a high priority.
Steve: At the very least there should be structural and electrical provision made for screen doors to the extent this is possible without creating an impediment on the platform. The full PED project is over $1 billion for the entire system, and there is no funding for it, among many other projects.
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A couple of questions Steve, if you know.
1) I’m left w/the impression that the current washrooms are in the way of what’s proposed, is this the case, and will washrooms be provided elsewhere in the station (at one point I heard a second set were to be added).
Steve: The plan view of the Line 1 level shows washrooms on the northbound side behind the bank of escalators down to the new eastbound platform. There is only one set in the new station, not two.
2) Are you aware of what amount of retail space will be contemplated in this design?
Steve: No retail space is shown but it is quite conceivable that some of the “service space” (in gray) could have this function.
And how long will both lines be shut down to accomplish this? Or will they just do it on the weekends?
Steve: Only short shutdowns. By analogy to the Union Station project which added a platform to the station, much of the work can occur behind hoardings while the lines remain in operation.
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Steve: The full PED project is over $1 billion for the entire system, and there is no funding for it, among many other projects.
Are they pursuing funding for all unfunded projects, or only those that are considered top priority, and if so, which ones?
Steve: The 15 year capital program totals $38 billion, but the funding to date only $12 billion. “Top priority” depends on who you talk to. A big chunk of that is for state of good repair as opposed to net new facilities like PEDs and is not easy to defer.
I just went back to check, and the PED project is now priced at $2.68 billion for the entire system. There was a time it was thought to be about $15 million per station for a total of about $1 billion, but obviously cost estimates have gone up.
See the Capital Budget Report with a discussion of unmet funding starting at page 28 and a detailed table of projects starting at page 40.
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Fancy, long over due. I remember as a young kid when the Bloor reno was brand new. I was born in ’86. I agree it seems odd to not make the provision for PED. I would predict the next station to get this treatment will be St. George. But i doubt it will happen in my lifetime.
Steve: There is a St. George project in the TTC’s long term plans but I am not sure how they would achieve it given that there are buildings hard by the subway structure. The BY project is possible only because the south side of Yonge Station where the new platform and expanded concourse will go are mostly under the street.
Has there been any talk of making the Yonge and/or Bloor line multitrack? Both of these lines are now overwhelmingly crowded at rush hour and could clearly be helped by more capacity. When long term interest rates went to ~1% it would have been very hard to argue that this would not have been a good investment. Perhaps public/private partnerships could help make such investments possible.
When other cities such as New York faced this problem they simply added more tracks to the same line and thus greatly expanded capacity. Typically once you make it up to Eglinton the extreme crowding problem starts to reduce; it is just making it through the crunch around Bloor. Adding another track would help a great deal and doubling up on the existing stations would help to reduce the cost of such a project. At some point perhaps they could even diverge from the Yonge line and meet up again at Sheppard (perhaps at Eglinton). This would seem to be a fairly doable high value project to consider.
Steve: Double tracking the subways would be extraordinarily difficult because of the constraints of nearby buildings. The demand north of Eglinton is not trivial and it will grow once The Richmond Hill extension opens.
When NYC built four-track subways, they were going up the middle of streets wide enough to hold them and the city was a lot less well-developed than it is today.
I was thinking more of multitracking in terms of perhaps tunneling underneath the existing line; I am not sure of what specific constraints might be present for such an idea. It would then not be so much of having the lines side by side as they are in NYC. I thought that with multitracking one would be able to double up on the existing station infrastructure to save costs. Adding in such extra lines would help to reduce congestion as the Yonge line marches northward. At some point perhaps multitracking might be seen as unavoidable. It is quite surprising to me how much Toronto has fallen behind in subway infrastructure over the years. It seems as though they built the lines in the 1950s and then forgot to upgrade for 50 years. The financial payback on investing in these subways must be massive; how could investing in subways not be seen as a highly attractive investment?
Steve: Building below the existing subway would be very complex and expensive, not to mention how it would strain the existing capacity for moving people in and out of the stations. It would also require upgraded power and ventillation throughout the system.
If demand on Line 1 ever returns to “normal” capacity can be increased from 25.7 trains/hour (2’20” headway) to 32.7 trains/hour (1’10” headway) thanks to the new ATC signal system. Factor in a diversion of ridership to the Ontario Line and to GO Transit, and the result would be considerably more network capacity at less expense and complexity. Also a network with multiple routes is more robust in the face of delays/interruptions than putting everything into one corridor.
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