ttc atc weekend closures

TTC service just got a whole lot faster and more reliable with a major project complete

Say goodbye to many of those frustrating weekend closures and other frequent hiccups on the TTC's Line 1, thanks to the long-awaited completion of the new Automatic Train Control (ATC) system commissioned during the last weekend of September.

As of Saturday, September 24, Canada's busiest subway line boasts improved capacity and reliability, and one of the main factors behind frequent and annoying weekend shutdowns is now in the history books.

The modern signalling system replaces the original and long obsolete fixed-block signal system, which divides the line into geographical blocks, and uses coloured lights similar to those found at an intersection to indicate whether train operators can proceed into the next block.

Like any system that relies on human input, the fixed-block system was not exactly running at peak efficiency. While still completely safe even up to its final weekend in operation, a lack of automation negatively impacted the old system's speed and reliability.

In place of the now-defunct fixed-block system, the ATC will accommodate increased ridership demands by increasing train speed and decreasing train separation through real-time central train control fed by precise location data.

This translates to significant reductions in signal delays, including an 80 per cent reduction on the stretch from Dupont to Wilson.

You'll be able to plan your commutes better, as travel times are now consistent from trip to trip.

And it's cheaper to operate, including a reduction in train electricity usage.

But getting here hasn't been easy.

Installation of the ATC has proven to be a constant headache for transit riders, with Line 1 grinding to a halt on portions of Line 1 during weekends since 2017, forcing passengers to endure shuttle bus misery or find alternative routes around the closure.

During these closures, crews installed new cables, trackside signalling equipment, and other infrastructure serving the ATC project.

The commissioning of the ATC has not only fixed gaps in TTC service, reliability, and efficiency, but it also opens the door for the future installation of platform screen doors at stations, similar to those used on the UP Express.

Platform screen doors or barrier doors — which the transit agency is already exploring — have once again become a hot topic in 2022 due to a rash of violent incidents on the transit network, most notably a subway pushing attack where a woman narrowly evaded serious injury by rolling under the platform lip.

Lead photo by

Worrawat Engchuan

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