eglinton west lrt

Crosstown extension makes swift progress as Toronto waits for first phase to open

The next phase of the Eglinton Crosstown is already making major gains, all while transit users impatiently await the long-overdue first phase of the light rail transit (LRT) project to ease the burden of cramped buses.

A pair of tunnel boring machines (TBMs,) dubbed Rexy and Renny (named for the Rexdale and Renforth neighbourhoods) began their journey to carve the twin tunnels of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension earlier this year, and have made some pretty impressive progress.

Renny was the first TBM to depart from the tunnel launch shaft near Renforth Drive back in the spring, and it has since bored through an impressive 1,582 metres, or over 1.5 km, of earth, leaving a concrete-lined tunnel in its wake.

Sibling TBM Rexy launched a few months later, in early July, and has bored through 865 metres of tunnel as of October 5.

Metrolinx is cheering on the TBMs with a new tracker following their path eastbound toward the extraction point at Scarlett Road. A similar tracker followed the path of the Crosstown's first phase TBMs.

The tunnelled section will link up with an elevated stretch of track passing over the Humber River before the tracks dip back underground to meet the first phase of the Crosstown, forming a 9.2-kilometre extension between Mount Dennis and Renforth Drive.

When it links up with the first phase of the Crosstown by 2030-31, the two phases will combine for an almost 30-kilometre transit corridor.

But all this progress comes as riders are still without the delay-plagued first phase of the line, which is long past its optimistic initial projections of entering revenue service in 2020.

A report on the distance covered by the TBMs can be found on Metrolinx's blog, posted just a few positions above a statement admitting that the Crosstown's planned entry into service as the TTC's Line 5 will once again fall short of estimates.

Lead photo by


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