The Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit project has seen plenty of progress as stations and stops are worked on across the Toronto route. But witnessing a transit vehicle move through a tunnel for the first time is something any transit buff – or future passenger – will appreciate. You’ll find video, images and the full story of that moment below.
Once a transit tunnel is created, how many times will it be used over generations?
No matter the number, the first time is special.
Recently, the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit (LRT) reached an important milestone. As part of a testing and commissioning phase, a train – actually, a light rail vehicle (LRV) – entered one of the tunnels for the first time.
LRV 6216 travelled from the Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility (EMSF), over Black Creek Drive on the elevated guideway, and into the north (or westbound) tunnel, stopping just short of the Keelesdale Station platform. It then travelled back to the EMSF along the same route.
The train run was part of a series of clearance checks – to make sure that the trains don’t run into any obstructions, and that everything is built to specification. This is also a chance to test all the systems that make up a new transit line – including trackwork, overhead power and communications. All these activities are part of the testing and commissioning phase of the Crosstown project.
After completing the clearance checks with the trains, the drivers took advantage of the opportunity to do a few runs in and out of the tunnel at incremental speeds of up to 25km/h. This helped evaluate the dynamics of the train within the tunnel.
To date, yard operations have been limited to 10 km/h. Once the tunnel is fully commissioned, the trains will be operating at speeds up to 80 km/h.
As construction teams complete Mount Dennis, Keelesdale and Caledonia stations later this year, two-car trains (two vehicles coupled together) will travel the tunnels on a test track between Mount Dennis and Caledonia Stations while simulating regular service.
Each of the 76 vehicles for the line must travel 600 kilometres on the test track to pass its commissioning test and be ready to carry passengers.
But the first time is always the most memorable along the line.
Story by Patricia Pytel, Crosslinx Transit Solutions communications manager.