Toronto Transit Commission Line 3 Scarborough
|Number of Branches||1|
|Distance||6.41km (Kennedy Station - McCowan Station)|
|Types of vehicles used||ICTS|
Line 3 Scarborough (formerly known internally as route 603) is a heavy-duty light rail line operated by the Toronto Transit Commission in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This line has 6 stations and is 6.41km in length
This line connects Kennedy Station and McCowan Station via a grade separated corridor beside the GO Stouffville Line tracks and an elevated corridor between Ellesmere Road and Progress Avenue. Its western terminal is Kennedy Station and the eastern terminal is McCowan Station for its one branch.
Overnight service is provided by 343 Kennedy between Kennedy and Ellesmere Stations.
In 1975, the Toronto Transit Commission commissioned a report that recommended building a rapid transit system linking the to-be-built Kennedy Station to the proposed city center development to be anchored by the newly-constructed Scarborough Town Centre. The report suggested that streetcars on a private-right-of-way could meet the projected demand of the line, and could form the basis for a network that could eventually connect much of Scarborough to the subway at Kennedy.
The TTC approved the report and its funding, and set out to build the line. The projected route was north along the CN Uxbridge rail corridor, before swinging east between Progress and Ellesmere Avenues.
The councillors of Scarborough disapproved of this plan though. They felt that their great plan for their city centre required a great method of transport - a subway - and were not happy that something so lowly as a streetcar was being suggested for their fair borough.
It should be noted that around this time, transit service to the Scarborough Town Centre was not particularly good - 3 local routes, the 43B Kennedy, 21 Brimley and 16 McCowan were available from Warden Station. There was also an express route from Downtown, the 102 Towncentre Express, but the fact that it lasted just 9 months (September 1975-June 1976) shows that it was a pretty flawed idea.
The Bloor-Danforth Line was extended to Kennedy Station on November 22, 1980. Included in the construction of the station was an elevated platform for the streetcars, complete with a ramp to ground level and an elevated loop to turn them.
Despite the amount of work done, the Provincial Government convinced the Scarborough councillors and the TTC that they had a better idea - they had been developing a "mini-subway" that they called the Intermediate Capacity Transit System or ICTS that needed to be demonstrated so that it could be sold elsewhere. In exchange for the TTC converting the line to ICTS, the Province would agree to pay for all of the changes necessary.
On June 16, 1981, the TTC signed the contract with UTDC to stop construction of the line as it was, and to begin converting and completing it to allow the use of UTDC's ICTS system. An agreement to purchase 24 vehicles was signed on November 5th of that year.
Although the line was scheduled to open in late 1983, it was thought that because so little of the finishing work had been done that it would be able to be opened in late 1984. This was later delayed further, and the line officially opened to the public on March 24, 1985.
In fairness to the province, they did end up paying for all of the modifications necessary to the line prior to it being opened - a total of $196 million. They also paid another $27 million for a round of modifications in the summer of 1988, after several years of service found several deficiencies on the line.
SRT Problems and Challenges
Much as any new system, the line was fraught with issues and delays at first. It has never become quite as reliable as its bretherin underground, but it is likely that much of that stems from the fact that the line was never designed to be operated by this kind of equipment, and the sheer lack-of-size of the line. Due to the lack of equipment and the line being overcrowded during rush hours, the TTC decided to institute an express bus alongside the line, the 903 Kennedy-Scarborough Centre Express, previously the 131E Nugget Express.
Some of the issues that have had to be overcome over the years include:
- Rebuilding of Kennedy Station and elimination of the turning loop, a holdover from the original concept of the line as operated by streetcars.
- Constant wheel re-profiling due to an "overly ambitious" braking system.
- Numerous noise complaints at the south end of the line. Many attempts have been made to limit the noise of the system between Lawrence East and Kennedy Stations, from planting rows of trees alongside the ROW, to constant regrinding of the rails. This has recently come to a head with the issuance of permanent slow order of 40km/h in one section the line after 10pm.
- Multiple redesigns of the power rail covers.
- Various issues with both the onboard and central computer systems, primarily attributed to age.
In a final report released in 2006, the TTC explored different alternatives to the RT and potential extension to Malvern. The alternatives were: replacing the fleet with Mark II vehicles like those used on the SkyTrain, conversion to BRT or LRT, construction of an alternate BRT or LRT, and replacement with an extension of the Bloor-Danforth Line. The Mark II cars are longer than the Mark I cars. They would need to be shortened to be better accommodated on the line, or platforms would need to be lengthened and the curve at Kennedy reconstructed. Had the TTC purchased new cars, the modified cars would be designated Mark IIA. Another option, was converting the line to LRT which would be built in the centre of streets on a right-of-way. Vehicles would employ low-floor vehicle boarding at platforms approximately 65 feet long. BRT would employ many of the same characteristics as LRT, but the vehicles would be buses instead and would be shorter than LRVs. An extension of the Bloor-Danforth Line would continue from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Centre. All stops would be eliminated except for Lawrence East. The TTC looked at two alignments: one would use some of the existing RT route, while the other would use a completely different alignment. It was recommended in the report that the best option was to upgrade to Bombardier ART technology similar to that used on the SkyTrain.
In January 2009, Metrolinx published the Scarborough Rapid Transit Benefits Case Analysis which discusses the different options for replacing and extending the Scarborough RT. It looked at the impact on cost, environment, and the community with respect to selecting the technology for the line, Bombardier's ART or LRT, and the extension of the line to Malvern Town Centre. The Ontario government committed funding for the replacement of the existing Scarborough RT vehicles, upgrading of existing infrastructure, and the extension to Malvern Town Centre or Markham Road in April. The estimated cost was pegged $1.4 billion with the project to be completed in 2015.
In late 2009, Metrolinx adopted a plan to convert the RT to accommodate LRT vehicles similar to the proposed Transit City lines. The RT would also be extended from McCowan Station to Sheppard Avenue providing a connection to the Sheppard East LRT. The second phase would extend the line to Malvern Town Centre. When Transit City was put on hold by Mayor Rob Ford, it was decided to still convert the RT to LRT, but have it as part of the Eglinton Crosstown line. The RT would be closed after the 2015 Pan Am Games, converted to LRT, and re-open in 2019. However, city council re-affirmed their commitment to the Transit City plan in March 2012. Metrolinx endorsed a plan for the RT that is similar to plan from 2009, but would be completed under the schedule in the Ford's plan.
At the end of June 2013, Metrolinx requested the city to make a firm decision on the future of the RT. There was uncertainty whether city council was still in favour of the LRT conversion after most councillors shifted their support for a Bloor-Danforth subway extension. The provincial government later indicated they were open to negotiating a Bloor-Danforth extension with the city if both sides could agree on a way to fund the project. The issue was put to debate for two days by city council resulting in a 28 to 16 vote in favour of the extension. However, the extension depended on the funding from both the provincial and federal governments. Council also endorsed a property tax increase greater than that proposed by Rob Ford of between 1.1 and 2.4 per cent over three years.
On September 4, 2013, the province of Ontario announced that it would fund $1.4 billion for the 6.4km extension from Kennedy to Scarborough Town Centre. The Federal Government of Canada would fund $660 million. Toronto City Council approved the extension by a vote of 24-20 on October 8, 2013 where the route will extend eastward towards McCowan Road and turns north towards Scarborough Town Centre and Sheppard Avenue East. The city would also raise property taxes annually over the next three years. An environmental assessment would still need to be completed before construction could take place, meaning the extension would likely not open until 2023.
|Station Name||Date Opened||Notes|
|| November 22, 1980 (Danforth)
March 24, 1985 (Scarborough)
||March 24, 1985|
||March 24, 1985|
||March 24, 1985|
||March 24, 1985|
||March 24, 1985||McCowan Yard lies to the east.|
- SRT Strategic Plan Report (Report) City of Toronto. Retrieved on 02 December 2010.
- Scarborough Rapid Transit Benefits Case Analysis (Report) Metrolinx. Retrieved on 08 June 2009.
- Kalinowski, Tess (28 June 2013) Metrolinx issues ultimatum on Scarborough transit. Toronto Star (Toronto). Retrieved on 18 July 2013.
- 11 July 2013. Ontario, Toronto close in on deal to build Scarborough subway, scrap LRT. The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved on 18 July 2013.
- 17 July 2013. Toronto approves Scarborough subway extension, pending federal funding. The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Retrieved on 18 July 2013.
- 102 Towncentre Express route history
- ICTS pamphlet at Mike's Transit Stop
- Personal notes and observations