Scarborough RT shuts down again – despite recently slowing trains
Passengers exit a Scarborough RT train on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Josh Dehaas)
Josh Dehaas, CTV Toronto
Published Tuesday, March 3, 2015 8:55PM EST
Total shutdowns of the Scarborough RT, like the one that occurred Tuesday, aren’t the only frustration users of the aging rapid transit line are facing.
CTV Toronto has learned that the trains have been moving even slower than usual ever since the last total shutdown on Feb. 17.
Trains were ordered to move no faster than 50 km/h after Feb. 17, according to John Chamberlain, the TTC’s Program Manager for Subway Service Improvements.
That change, combined with more braking, has added a few extra minutes to every commute from Kennedy Station to McCowan Stations since Feb. 17.
Before that, the trains were already operating at a lower speed than when first rolled out in 1985 – a maximum of 65 km/h since 2008, instead of 80 km/h.
“While 80 km/h is the maximum design speed for the SRT system; it is 30 years old and was not intended to be operated for 30-40 years,” Chamberlain said.
The Kennedy to McCowan roundtrip currently takes approximately 30 minutes, versus 27 minutes before Feb. 17 and 23 minutes in the 1980s.
It’s not clear what caused the Feb. 17 shutdown but an investigation is underway, according to Chamberlain.
One possibility is weather. “Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, negatively affect this 30-year-old system,” he said.
Monday’s shutdown was caused by “signal-related issues,” according to a tweet that the TTC sent out at around 7:30 p.m. Trains were up and running again by around 9 p.m.
Future shutdowns planned
The above-ground Scarborough RT will eventually be replaced with an underground subway.
In the meantime, the TTC plans to rehabilitate the aging system to last another 10 years.
That will lead to planned weekend shutdowns, including a few over the next few months, according to Chamberlain.
On those days, shuttle buses will replace trains. The shuttle buses take about 48 minutes for a roundtrip.
The Scarborough RT carries about 4.7 million passengers per year, according to the TTC.