Scarborough RT

Scarborough RT

     Scarborough RT

A Scarborough RT ICTS Mark I train leaving Lawrence East Station, bound for McCowan
Type Rapid transit
System Toronto subway and RT
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Termini Kennedy
Stations 6
Daily ridership 39,320 (avg. weekday)[1]
Opened March 22, 1985
Owner Toronto Transit Commission
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s) McCowan RT Yard
Rolling stock ICTS Mark I
Line length 6.4 km (4.0 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification Third rail, Linear induction
Route map
Unknown BSicon "uKDSTa" + Unknown BSicon "ELEVf"
McCowan Yard
Unknown BSicon "uhHST"
Unknown BSicon "uhACC"
Scarborough Centre
Unknown BSicon "uhHST"
Continuation to left
Waterway under railway bridge + Unknown BSicon "ELEVg"
Track turning from right
Stouffville GO to Lincolnville
Urban stop on track Straight track
Urban stop on track + Unknown BSicon "ELEVf"
Straight track
Lawrence East
Unknown BSicon "utACCa" + Hub
Unknown BSicon "uexhBHF" + Urban End station + Unknown BSicon "ACC legende" + Hub
Unknown BSicon "ACC" + Hub
Kennedy TTC/GO
Urban tunnel straight track
Unknown BSicon "uexWSLel" + Unknown BSicon "hleerr" + Unknown BSicon "hNULlf"
Continuation forward
BSicon GBHF legende.svg Stouffville GO to Union
Unknown BSicon "utCONTf"
BSicon SUBWAY.svg  2  Bloor–Danforth line to Kipling

The Scarborough RT (SRT or RT), officially Route 3 Scarborough RT,[2] is a rapid transit line on the Toronto subway and RT system in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The line is internally referred to as Route 3 (formerly route 603),[3] but this number is not used by the public or shown on TTC maps and signs.

Rather than the long subway passenger cars used by the Toronto Transit Commission's three other rapid-transit lines, it runs a medium-capacity rail transport system using Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) Mark I vehicles built by Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) and powered by linear induction motors. They are essentially the same as the original fleet of the Vancouver SkyTrain and that of the Detroit People Mover, although unlike these other operators, the TTC has opted to run them semi-automatically with a driver on board.

The line has six stations and is 6.4 km (4.0 mi) in length, 0.5 km (0.3 mi) of it underground. It is operated by the Toronto Transit Commission and administered as part of its subway system, although the Scarborough RT differs technologically from the city's other three lines in a number of respects. RT stands for "rapid transit", as the name "subway" seemed inappropriate for a line with only a small section underground. Internally, the TTC uses the name "rapid transit" to refer to all four lines. The term is sometimes used for streetcar lines as well. The line's tracks are of standard gauge, unlike those of the rest of Toronto's streetcar and subway lines.

The Scarborough RT will be merged with a future rapid transit line that will be constructed under Eglinton Avenue, collectively forming the Eglinton–Scarborough Crosstown line. The Scarborough RT will be rebuilt to use a new fleet of light rail cars, replacing the line's current fleet. Scarborough RT riders will be bussed for three years until the rebuilding is completed.[4]



The abandoned loop at Kennedy Station, which became a dead-end tail track in 1988
The original streetcar platform can be seen at Kennedy Station. This image also clearly shows the pusher plate for the linear motor between the rails, and the two inductive communications wires on either side of the plate.
The RT on its elevated tracks between Scarborough Centre and McCowan

In 1972, the provincial government announced the GO-Urban plan to build an intermediate capacity transit system across suburban Toronto using the experimental Krauss-Maffei Transurban.[5] The system failed to function to come to fruition, and the TTC began building the line for CLRV streetcars, but the ICTS system was used instead, because the Province of Ontario agreed to pay a large portion of the costs. This change was made after construction had commenced. At Kennedy Station, there are clues revealing that it was originally built for streetcar operation; it is possible to see old low-level streetcar platforms protruding under the current high-level platforms, and Kennedy Station originally had a loop to turn streetcars. This proved too sharp for safe operation of SRT cars, and the loop was abandoned for regular usage and replaced by a crossover.[6] Ontario wanted to develop and promote its new technology, which was originally designed for a proposed urban GO Transit service known as GO ALRT. Changes to federal railway regulations had made the new system unnecessary for GO, and so the government hoped to sell it to other transit services in order to recoup its investment.

The Scarborough RT opened in March 1985. Only three years after it opened, the TTC had to renovate its southwestern terminus at Kennedy Station, because the looped turnaround track, originally designed for streetcars under the earlier plan and not needed for the bi-directional ICTS trains, was causing derailments; it was replaced with a single terminal track and the station was thus quasi-Spanish solution, with one side for boarding and another side for alighting, though the boarding side is also used for alighting during off-peak hours.

Largely because of the relatively high cost of the ICTS technology for the service it provides, the line has seen no extensions since it opened. Many transit advocates believe that it would have been wiser either to build it using streetcars, as was originally planned, to allow for lower costs and more flexibility in route options or simply to extend the underground Bloor–Danforth line further into Scarborough (for more details, see Future below).



The trains operated were developed by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC), then an Ontario Crown corporation but now a division of Bombardier Transportation. The business proposal initially bore little fruit – a proposed pilot project in Hamilton was cancelled after meeting widespread public opposition, and the technology was used initially only by the Scarborough RT, Vancouver's SkyTrain, and the Detroit People Mover. With expansion of the SkyTrain and sales to Ankara, Kuala Lumpur, New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport AirTrain, and Yongin EverLine in Yongin near Seoul, South Korea,[7] a newer version, sold under the name "ART" (advanced rapid transit), has become a success for Bombardier.

One unusual feature of the ICTS cars is that they are driven by linear induction motors: instead of using conventional motors to turn the wheels, they push themselves along the route using magnets and a distinctive metal plate that runs down the centre of the tracks. This system requires very few moving parts, and therefore leads to lower maintenance costs.

When the car motors are accelerating, they actually lift the car off the track an extremely small distance, repealing against the wide aluminum plate in the centre of the track.[8] This micro-lifting prevents the truck wheels from making a solid electrical contact with the track. Instead of using the conventional method, in which motive power is supplied by a single third rail, with return current travelling through the running rails, a separate positive and negative power rail are provided on one side of the track. With respect to the accelerating trucks and the micro-lifting, the truck wheels have a somewhat larger flange than normal in order to keep the car inline on the track during the micro-lifting.

The trains are also able to be operated exclusively by computers, doing away with the need for a human operator. The public, however, was not ready for driverless trains when the Scarborough RT opened, particularly in light of frequent software glitches early in its operation, so operators were retained (other systems, including Vancouver's SkyTrain, took full advantage of the automated operation). The Scarborough RT trains have only one operator, unlike TTC subway trains, which carry both a guard, who operates the train's doors, and an operator, who drives. In practice, the Scarborough RT trains drive themselves; the operator monitors their operations and controls the doors. The transit workers' union has firmly opposed driverless trains.[9] One feature, which was not there at the Scarborough RT's opening, is the automated stop announcement system, which was introduced in January 2008.


The line follows a roughly L-shaped route: first northward from Kennedy Station, parallelling the Canadian National Railway/GO Transit's Stouffville line tracks, between Kennedy Road and Midland Avenue, 4 km (2.5 mi) to Ellesmere Road; then eastward between Ellesmere and Progress Avenue, through Scarborough City Centre to McCowan Road. The Scarborough RT's ICTS trains, which are not shared with any of the TTC's other lines, have their own small yard east of McCowan Station. This yard is large enough to store the existing fleet, but would have to be expanded or replaced if the TTC were to expand the line's capacity by buying new trains. Basic maintenance is performed in this yard, but for more major work, the cars are taken to the subway's Greenwood Yard, which must be done by truck, because differences in track gauge make it impossible for the Scarborough RT's track to be connected with the rest of the subway and streetcar systems.

The north-south section of the route, where it follows the CN tracks, is at ground level; the shorter east-west section (except for the ground-level yard) is elevated, as is the Kennedy terminus. The line dives briefly underground just north of Ellesmere Station to cross under the CN tracks.

All stations, whether by transfer or fare-paid terminal, connect to surface TTC bus routes. Other connections are noted below.

Two stations, Kennedy and Scarborough Centre, are wheelchair accessible.

There have been proposals to add a station at Brimley Road, due to the increased number of residential developments in the area of Brimley and Ellesmere Roads.[citation needed]

Late at night when the Scarborough RT is not operating, the 302 Danforth Rd-McCowan Blue Night bus serves the same area. The 302 originates at Danforth and Warden, where it connects with the 300 Bloor-Danforth that travels to the west. From Warden, the 302 travels east along Danforth to McCowan, then north along McCowan to Steeles. With the exception of McCowan RT station, it does not pass near any of the subway or RT stations, though other night bus services pass near stations. Bus service is extended on Sundays because the subway and RT start at 9 a.m. instead the usual 6 a.m. start.

Future expansion


The Scarborough RT has long been maligned for many reasons. Because it uses different vehicles and a different track gauge from the rest of the TTC's rail network, it cannot be easily integrated or extended. Because the line was built to handle Mark I vehicles, subway trains would not be able to handle its tight curves even if the track were replaced with the TTC's 1,495 mm (4 ft 10 78 in) track gauge.[10] The TTC's fleet of Mark I vehicles is aging and demand has exceeded the capacity of the TTC's Mark I fleet,[11] but these vehicles are no longer produced by Bombardier, leaving the TTC with the expensive prospect of either retrofitting the line for Mark II vehicles (such as those used in Vancouver) or streetcars, or paying Bombardier to restart the production of Mark I vehicles. Most critics[who?] of the line point to the fact that the demand is not such that it requires "Rapid Transit". The TTC itself estimates potential demand at no more than 10,000 passengers/hour/direction,[12] which could be served by streetcars running in a grade-separated right of way in 2015.[13]


Since 2008, the TTC is assessing an extension of the SRT from McCowan to Malvern Town Centre.[14] They have also made a motion that the current study should include the addition of a station where the existing line crosses Brimley Road.[15]

In 2006, a study was completed on the prospects of this line.[16] It recommended upgrading the line to handle larger ART Mark II vehicles, at a cost of $360 million (2006 dollars). Extending the Bloor–Danforth line (either along the current Scarborough RT route, or along a different alignment directly to Scarborough Centre) was not considered cost-effective or justifiable.

On June 15, 2007, the Ontario government had released MoveOntario 2020, a plan that would fund 52 different transit projects throughout Toronto and Hamilton for the cost of $17.5 billion, including the Scarborough RT extension to Sheppard Avenue, which would meet the proposed Sheppard East LRT line, also to be funded by MoveOntario 2020.[citation needed]

On April 1, 2009, the Ontario government will help fund a plan to expand the Scarborough RT east towards either Markham Road, or further northeast to the Malvern Town Centre and to replace its existing vehicles along that line.[17] The expansion and its upgrades should be completed by 2015.[18]

The view outside of Lawrence East Station, as of August 2007

In September 2009, Scarborough Community Council recommended, with Toronto City Council officially passing on to the TTC and Metrolinx, a proposal to replace the RT's ICTS technology with the LRT technology of Transit City. This would have all surface and elevated RT systems in Scarborough use interchangeable technology, and ironically return the RT to its originally-planned system.[19] Efforts had been underway to have the replacement completed by the summer of 2015, in time for the Pan Am games;[20] however, due to provincial budget issues, this had to be delayed. The line will remain as ICTS into 2015, supplemented with second-hand cars from Vancouver; once the Games are completed, the conversion to Transit City technology will be undertaken.[21] However, Rob Ford, who became mayor on December 1, 2010, has plans to replace the Scarborough RT with an extension of the Bloor-Danforth line.[22]

Eglinton–Scarborough Crosstown Line

In March 2011, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the allocation of $12.4 billion of future expansion of the Toronto subway and RT, part of which will cover the expense of rebuilding the Scarborough RT to use modern light rail cars. The line will also be extended westward from Kennedy station along Eglinton Avenue until west of Black Creek Drive in York collectively to form a new Eglinton–Scarborough Crosstown line.[23] As part of the rebuilding, it is expected that Ellesmere station will be closed due to low demand.[citation needed] The section along Eglinton Avenue will be underground.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Toronto Transit Commission, Scheduled Service Summary, Board Period Commencing Sunday, July 21, 1991
  4. ^ "Eglinton LRT ready to launch" by Tess Kalinowski, Toronto Star. June 29, 2011
  5. ^ "GO-Urban's bright future fades suddenly", Toronto Star, 14 November 1974
  6. ^ Transit Toronto - Why was the Kennedy RT station renovated so soon after it was built?
  7. ^
  8. ^ Ion Boldea, S. A. Nasar (2001). Linear motion electromagnetic devices. 
  9. ^ Bruser, David (2006-11-17). "TTC eyes driverless subway". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  10. ^ "Transit Toronto Newspaper Archive: Toronto Star, Monday April 24, 2006". Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  11. ^ "Strategic Plan for the Future of the Scarborough RT" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  12. ^ "TTC Open House #2: Scarborough RT EA" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  13. ^ "Strategic Plan for the Future of the Scarborough RT" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  14. ^ "Proposed Extension of the Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT)". Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  15. ^ "TTC Minutes - February 27, 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  16. ^ "Scarborough RT Strategic Plan – Study Report - Final Report - August 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  17. ^ "Province Moving Transit Projects Forward" (Press release). Ontario Ministry of Transportation. 2009-04-01. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  18. ^ "Province Moving Transit Projects Forward". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  19. ^ "Scarborough Community Council Committee Report - Meeting No. 28". Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  20. ^ "Transit City Update – Project Approach". Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  21. ^ "Queen's Park Commits to Transit City, Sort Of". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  22. ^ "Rob Ford: 'Transit City is over'". CBC News. 2010-12-01. 
  23. ^

External links

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