A titan for Toronto’s Crosstown transit project

In this latest stop in our ongoing Crosstown Progress tour – visiting every station along the light rail transit route – we find out why the hub at Eglinton and Yonge Street is already a colossus of the city.

It’s a giant, built from concrete, wood, steel and patience.

Finding it a home beneath one of Canada’s busiest urban street crossings – at the intersection of Eglinton Avenue and Yonge Street – has been a lot to ask for motorists and those who live close by.

But Toronto’s tolerance while working with us amid the immense effort for this – like every section of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit (LRT) project – is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Eglinton Station is the tenth underground stop heading east on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT progress tour. As an interchange station, it will provide a direct connection to the existing Eglinton Station on the TTC’s Line 1.

Tractors work below ground, with a wooden and beam roof just above.

Teams will soon start the work to underpin the current TTC’s line 1. This April, excavation reached the top of the TTC’s station box in preparation for underpinning, under the road at Yonge and Eglinton.

Construction for Eglinton Station began in 2016 with utility relocations. The old Salvation Army Church, located in the area, was demolished to make way for the Crosstown’s emergency exit building. The new church will be rebuilt upon completion of the Eglinton Crosstown, and will house the mechanical to run the new transit line.

Crews and equipment work below, while businesses and condos loom above the site.

Mighty feat – With an active community around, as well as looming above, Eglinton Station is quickly taking form below.

The improved station will have six entrances upon its completion in 2021.

Excavation work continues today and once complete will reach a depth of approximately 20 metres – the height of a six storey building.

Of all of the stations along the Crosstown, Eglinton Station has the largest excavated footprint – a total of 269 metres to be exact. That’s the size of two hockey rinks. This space will be home to mechanical rooms, a crossover space for the light rail vehicle in the case where one of them needs to turn, and of course, the station itself.

A rendering shows how long the station is compared to the tallest building nearby.

Expanding Eglinton station with a new platform is a mammoth task – the pink in this rendering is the existing TTC Line 1, the blue is the new Eglinton Crosstown LRT station area – it’s an underground building longer then the new adjacent condo is tall.

Construction of this station is no easy feat. Similar to the construction happening for the future Cedarvale Station, Eglinton Station is being built under the existing Line 1 subway platform. So, it’s a bit like placing one giant under another.

Very soon, work to underpin the current TTC Station will start in order to ensure the current subway can still run while LRT construction continues below.

A diagram shows large supports holding up the TTC subway line above.

Strong work – Here’s how the underpinning takes place.

But we know construction is really messy. From moving buildings, and putting them back, to digging deep, deep pits, to starting construction of a new station under an existing one, it is fair to say that construction of the future Eglinton Station continues to be a huge engineering feat.

An artist rendering shows cars and pedestrians outside Eglinton Station.

The improved station will have six entrances upon its completion in 2021.

And soon enough, this titan will flex a muscle to move us all.

See how the next stop in our tour, Mount Pleasant, is like a a LEGO project. Click here.

Story by Erika D’Urbano, Metrolinx communications specialist.