Surprising nobody, the Crosstown LRT opening date remains a mystery

Metrolinx’s progress on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT remains “relentless” and the agency continues to make progress on the long-delayed line, but there is no word as yet on when it will open. This is according to Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster, who spoke at Metrolinx’s latest board meeting at the end of June.

“We are working together with our supply chain, with CDS, and with a combination of other suppliers to make sure that we can open this line as soon as possible but open it safe and punctual,” Verster emphasized at the June 27 Board of Directors meeting.

Verster stated that, regarding physical construction, the City of Toronto is completing inspections, and they are tending to and clearing minor defects as they are identified. For testing and commissioning, their site acceptance testing is now at 91.4%, and system integration testing, which Verster called the “really crucial one”, is at 69.2%.

The CEO also talked about a new software patch that he said helped remove defects with the signalling and train control system, to the extent that infrastructure was “declared ready” for crew training to start, which was an important precondition from Metrolinx’s colleagues in the TTC and from the agency itself.

Operator training is another area of importance — to date, 17 trainers have completed the ‘train-the-trainer’ program. The agency plans to train 95 operators to operate the Eglinton Crosstown LRT “…so that we can get to a completion of training and [so that] services can start in in year — in the months to follow,” Verster said.

As per the Toronto Star, a June 27 report from Metrolinx notes that construction permits have been closed for all stations except Eglinton — meaning that 14 out of 15 stations on the line have been given occupancy permits after inspection to ensure that they meet Ontario’s building code (and are, therefore, safe to operate in).

Although the Crosstown LRT still doesnt have an official opening date, it appears the agency wants to iron out all the kinks and avoid a premature opening, perhaps to prevent it from turning into a disaster. 

“So, learning from [the] Ottawa [LRT experience], we are planning to—when we get to substantial completion—to have a bedding-in period, [of] probably two to three months, whereby we’ll run the full service and at capacity, and make sure that we iron out all of the operational issues that may exist between maintenance teams,” Verster said, noting that they’ll ensure that trains and the system perform as they should. “[We’ll] make sure that on opening day, we run a service that is punctual [for] the customers and the market’s expectation[s].”

“We are not declaring an opening date yet, but we will declare an opening date three months in advance of that first day of service when we expect to run our first trains.”

Once complete, the Crosstown LRT will access  TTC Line 1 at both Yonge and further west at Cedarvale, linking with three GO Stations and a larger network of buses. There will be 25 stops on the 19-km line between Kennedy in the east and Mount Dennis in the west.