Thursday, December 14, 2006

TTC service revisions allow for Lower Bay station viewing

The Toronto Transit Commission recently announced plans for revised subway service along the Bloor-Danforth subway line weekends in Feb/Mar 2007 in order to perform necessary major structural repairs to the tunnel roof between St. George and Bay stations.

As a result of this revised subway service, people who are on the eastern portion of the Bloor-Danforth line (between Kennedy and Museum stations) during Saturdays and Sundays from February 18 to March 31, 2007 will have an opportunity to see Lower Bay subway station.

Lower Bay station sits below the current (Upper) Bay station. It was open to the public for six months, when the Bloor-Danforth subway opened in 1966. Originally, the Bloor-Danforth subway line was 'interlined' with the Yonge-University subway line. The operating arrangements of this setup had a train starting from Eglinton Station, going around the loop via Union, turning left after Museum and going through upper St. George Station before getting onto the Bloor-Danforth line and arriving at Keele. This train would then reverse direction and take the Bloor-Danforth line all the way to Woodbine (via lower St. George and upper Bay) before reversing direction again, taking the wye through Lower Bay Station, returning to the Yonge-University line and heading back to Eglinton.

In the first six months of operation, two major issues emerged:

  1. A single disabled train was enough to bring the entire subway system to a halt.
  2. Passengers had difficulty deciding which trains to take at either St. George or Bay stations.

The TTC surveyed its passengers about this subway arrangement, and the results of that survey, coupled with the effects of the abovementioned two issues, convinced the TTC that interlining the two subway lines was more trouble than it was worth. As a result, the two subway lines were separated and Lower Bay station was taken out of commission and closed to the public.

Over the years, Lower Bay station has since been used as a setting for film companies to shoot subway scenes. Examples of movies that used this station include the 1995 film 'Johnny Mnemonic' and the 1990 film 'Darkman'. In addition, the television show 'Due South' also used this station as well. The station has also been used to test new subway signs, to test platform improvements, and to store used equipment. Those traveling on the Bloor-Danforth line can still catch a glimpse of the station from the front-end window of a westbound train just after leaving Yonge. Others may have heard of the station as part of urban infiltration stories that have been posted on various internet sites.

For those of you that want to see this long lost station, you will have your chance on Saturdays and Sundays from February 18 to March 31, 2007. Hopefully the TTC will advertise this opportunity for the public to see a piece of its past. It would seem to be an easy way to gain a few extra fares, in addition to allowing people to see something that would normally be off-limits. I know I plan to check it out, you should as well if you have the opportunity.

Update: February 24, 2007 - See here for details about Lower Bay and its inclusion into Doors Open Toronto 2007.


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1 comment:

Joe said...

Wii and TTC party sometime in March, then? I'll bowl your ass off.