Tuesday, October 25, 2016Overcast 7°C

What's going on with the Union Station construction?

Posted by Chris Bateman / October 12, 2012

toronto union stationThere's been hammering and crashing in the basement of Union Station for well over a year. Behind plywood panels and locked doors, the giant limestone Beaux-Art transport hub is receiving a massive $640 million facelift and expansion that will include new Via and GO transit concourses as well as an improved retail space.

Right now, work is primarily focused on excavating the space under the station and shoring up the existing 1924 structure. In an area already excavated, city engineer Richard Coveduck shows us the extension and reinforcement work carried out on some of the existing supports. The contrast between the old and new concrete is clearly noticeable.

toronto union station"Every single one of these columns is individual and unique," says Coveduck. "They were sometimes out of alignment or built a little bit deeper or a little shallower. We've gone in on every single individual one and had to modify it."

So far, 149 or 447 columns that continue to support the tracks above during construction have been completed. According to a press release, the scale of the column work is unprecedented on an active structure such as this. Coveduck is pleased to point out how few problems the workers have encountered so far. Still, special sensors sit on the columns ready to yell out at the slightest hint of movement.

toronto union stationRob Ford, also present on the tour with a host of councillors and MPPs to view progress and pose with a shovel, said the work so far was "amazing."

"I was here probably six months ago and it's come a long way in a short period of time. They're moving at a good rate, and I'm really glad to see it's on budget. It's going to save a lot of time when it's finished."

The entire project is scheduled to wrap up in 2016 but Richard Coveduck expects the new York street GO concourse to be open by the end of next year, followed in 2014 by the new retail space. The TTC's second platform project under Front Street is expected to wrap up in 2013.


toronto union station constructiontoronto union stationtoronto union station constructiontoronto union station constructiontoronto union station constructiontoronto union stationPhotos: Chris Bateman



alan / October 12, 2012 at 02:02 pm
i'll emphasize the "amazing" quote...wish i could have been there...
Oh man / October 12, 2012 at 02:25 pm
Imagine sneaking into the site, at 3am, with glowsticks, a boombox, and some pills!

Gabe / October 12, 2012 at 02:49 pm
Hm. RoFo hates all things Miller... until he gets to enjoy photo op at a construction site of Miller's doing.
Big Fuckin Mega Boat replying to a comment from Oh man / October 12, 2012 at 03:39 pm
F*ck yah! Ecstasy and dark, hazardous, construction sites with massive holes in the floor are a match made in heaven!
iSkyscraper / October 12, 2012 at 03:46 pm
Wow, Ford looks really good in construction gear. Kind of fits him. Maybe he has a second calling other than being a football coach after he gets booted out as Mayor. He just has to find a non-union job site...
ian m / October 12, 2012 at 04:44 pm
No need to politicize this one. I am personally not a Ford fan, but for once, when talking about this project, he didn't sound bad. It's on time and on budget and it's a step in the right direction for transit infrastructure in this city and province.

Whichever camp you're in, Ford or not, this is a good thing.
Craig / October 12, 2012 at 05:15 pm
So that was the media gaggle that passed me in the Great Hall this morning.
charalique / October 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm
i'm happy there's going to be a retail concourse at york st. i can't wait until it's all completed!

i do have a question about the current PATH from union station to the GO platforms on york st south of front -- i've only had to go that way once and the way i was showed to go there was only 1 little elevator for the connection.....is there another way without having to walk outside? thanks in advance :)
Ling Gu / October 13, 2012 at 12:05 am
2016?! When I read articles like this, I just wonder what bringing in 5,000 Chinese migrant workers could achieve. Front Street there is a disaster. The TTC station looks like a set from those zombie apocalypse movies. This construction is desperately needed, and can't be completed too soon.
Rob / October 13, 2012 at 01:15 am
What they need to be doing is trying to accommodate a DRL eventually. Sigh...
Dave replying to a comment from Rob / October 13, 2012 at 02:22 am
When they do the DRL they'd be wise to run it along King or Queen, not try and bottleneck it at Union with everything else.
Ross / October 14, 2012 at 10:31 am
Nice photos.Thanks for posting.Do you have any info on the tunnel boring progress since July 24 of Holey boring towards the Downsview stn. connection? Also Moley since Sept. 18?
The TTC doesn't update it's website for the Spadina extension often.
stopitman replying to a comment from Ling Gu / October 14, 2012 at 04:25 pm
Yes, bring in Chinese labour and "expertise"... you've heard about their accidents on their high speed lines, not to mention the poor workmanship I've seen on buildings of all types?

I'm really excited to see the final outcome, because almost anything will be better than the current GO concourse. It is pretty amazing what they can do without shutting down the tracks and station, considering how much the station and trains weigh along with 250,000+ people passing through every day.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Ling Gu / October 16, 2012 at 06:23 am
Guy (or gal), 2016 is only four years away. Why are you in such a blasted hurry?
Other Cities: Montreal