Mayor Tory announces plans to speed up construction of subway relief line

Subway relief line expected to be finished in 2029 rather than 2031

Mayor Tory speaks from a podium at Pape Station
Mayor John Tory makes an announcement at Pape Station Taylor Thompson/Toronto Observer

Mayor John Tory has announced a plan to finish the TTC subway south relief line two years earlier than previously expected.

Tory made the announcement Thursday in a press conference at Pape Station. The south relief line was originally expected to be finished by 2031, but is now projected to be finished by 2029 pending TTC and Toronto City Council approval of the 2019 TTC capital budget. Tory said $162 million would have to  be added to the TTC capital budget to speed up south relief line construction.

“And I know while the date that we’re talking about here… still sounds far away, the bottom line is, that the faster you get on with these projects… the sooner we’re going to have real relief that people have talked about for decades,” Tory said.

The south relief line is intended to help fix overcrowding on Line 1 of the TTC subway system. Jaye Robinson, the TTC chair, also attended the conference.

“Upon completion of the relief line, an anticipated 2,500 passengers will be diverted every hour from Line 1,” Robinson said.

The south relief line will run through Line 1 at Osgoode Station and Queen Station, and will connect with Line 2 at Pape Station.

“For riders that are frustrated with their commute, I understand that the relief can’t come soon enough, but I think this today… is a very solid start,” Tory said.

When asked “When will the shovels go in the ground?” by a reporter, Tory said that design and planning work for the line still needs to be finished, before construction begins. He didn’t get into specifics why and how this process can be sped up.

Mayor John Tory takes a picture with a TTC worker after the Thursday Jan. 17, 2019 press conference at Pape Station.  (Sean Leca/Toronto Observer)

“I think it’s a positive step forward, we all know we need more transit,  and this is expediting transit,” said Dane Grgas, a TTC transit advocate.

However, Grgas said he would like to see more immediate solutions to TTC problems on top of the relief projected to come in a decade’s time.

“In the short term we need some help in… bus relief, and maybe even platform edge doors at Bloor-Yonge Station… I talk to the guys that drive the trains going through Bloor-Yonge Station, and they’re petrified,” he said. “They see a platform full of people, and they’re coming in with a train… we could do some platform edge doors there.”

Platform edge doors are doors that separate the platform from the track, and have been used in countries in Europe and Asia, such as Singapore, to prevent track-related suicides and accidents.

“Even after this acceleration, we’re going to continue to work with all of our transit partners to further expedite, if we can, the relief line,” said Tory. “I think we can find ways to speed it up even more, we’ve proven that.”

Map of planned south relief line.  (

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Posted: Jan 22 2019 1:05 pm
Filed under: News