Concrete walls and yellow ventillation tubing can be seen below the surface.

Cedarvale Station work rooted in Herculean effort, including far below the surface

Giant, friendly mechanical beasts have provided much of the digging power to make this centerpiece stop a future reality. See the engineering science, and world-class ingenuity, in the latest station profiled in our continuing Crosstown LRT tour.

When complete, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project will be a clean and modern example of effortless city transit. You’ll step on and off while covering as much as 19 kilometers without a sweat.

But to get there from here, it’s taken the remarkable crews of our building partners at Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS) – as well as huge and powerful machines – willing to get down and dirty, a hard metre at a time.

Inside the large cavern, concrete walls and equipment - along with yellow ventillation tubing - can be seen.
World below – 23 metres underground, round bored tunnels meet cut-and-cover tunnels.

Located at the foot of Allen Road, Cedarvale Station will be an underground station, featuring an interchange with the existing Eglinton West subway station, for a seamless transition to the TTC’s Line 1 Yonge-University.

Artwork is shown in an artist's rendering, including circles and lines on walls.
Cedarvale Station will be home to ‘Super Signals’ by Douglas Coupland. The piece is based on exaggerations of traditional wayfinding graphics. They intentionally references the transit iconography used across the line. Created from aluminium panels, brightly coloured concentric circles float on a background of contrasting black and white diagonal lines. This series of vivid graphics provides passengers with an immersive experience intended to uplift and amplify the enjoyment of being in transit.

The station is being designed from the subterranean levels up as a local hub. In fact, the Cedarvale name itself was used to align it with the name of the surrounding community. And if movement by CTS workers is Herculean now, it’ll become kinetic once the light rail transit vehicles begin to pull into the finished station – with its four entrances, as well as 80 indoor and 40 outdoor bicycle parking spots.

An artist depiction shows an view looking down at the large entrance of Cedarvale Station.
A view of the future – An artist’s rendering of what Cedarvale Station will look like.

Cedarvale saw construction early on when excavation started for the extraction and launch site of two tunnel boring machines (TBM) – named Dennis and Lea – in 2013.

Crowds gather at night to watch one of the huge tunnelling machines move into position.
On April 18, 2015, many came out to witness the extraction and relaunch of TBMs Dennis and Lea at Allen Road and Eglinton Avenue. They would continue their journey towards Yonge Street.

Tunnelling began that same year at Black Creek Drive before the mighty TBMs made it to the existing subway station almost four years later. But what do you do once a TBM reaches a point where it needs to stop because a TTC subway is in the way? You have to move those dirt moving workhorses.

Tunneling facts

Remember the claw, or rather gantry crane, we described during our tour of the Oakwood Station? (If you missed it, click here to visit that station.) On April 18, 2015, the TBMs were lifted out of the site just west of Allen Road and relaunched to the site just on the other side, east of Allen Road, over the TTC subway line. Dennis and Lea proceeded to make their way from Allen Road all the way to Yonge Street.

Today, components of the station are being built in the TBM extraction and launch shafts. This year, sections of the existing subway station will be underpinned and supported all while the existing TTC service continues above. Think of a giant cradle supporting the existing TTC line while LRT construction happens below. We’ll take a more, comprehensive look at underpinning once we reach Eglinton Station. And yes, spoilers ahead, it is as technically cool as it sounds.

Image shows one of the TBMs, and points out four are used for Crosstown, and are named Dennis, Lea, Don and Humber. It's a tradition to name them.

For now, construction for Cedarvale Station continues to ramp up as it gets closer and closer to its opening in 2021.

A graphic shows a stack of mud beside the CN Tower and points out the volume of muck to be extracted from the tunels is enough to fill the ACC to the height of the CN Tower.

When that day happens, customers will be excused for forgetting the strength needed to move through the Earth to make those journeys possible. But with the dirt still fresh – much of it moved for the first time in human history – it’s worth standing back and admiring the effort.

An artist rendering shows customers arriving inside a clean and bright space, including escalators between levels.
An artist rendering shows how the inside of Cedarvale may look to customers – after the hard work is done.

If you want to see more of the journey taken by these massive machines, here’s something to bring you up to – their – speed. It’s our complete Tunnelling 101 primer. Just click here.

Next stop on our progress tour, Forest Hill Station. Click here to go to that next stop.

Story by Erika D’Urbano, Metrolinx communications specialist.