Metrolinx revises Yonge North Subway Extension route

Dec. 9, 2021
The refined route is in response to community feedback and will see a deeper, less angled route between Younge Street and the Richmond Hill GO Line.

The Yonge North Subway Extension that will connect the York Region and Toronto with an eight-kilometer (4.9-mile) extension of the Toronto Transit Commission’s Line 1 will now take a less angled route between Yonge Street and the existing Richmond Hill GO Line following community feedback.

“The Yonge North Subway Extension is a long-awaited project that will bring faster transit to more people across York Region and Toronto. It is a vital piece of the transit network that we are building across the region and will connect communities and people for decades to come,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster. “Over the past eight months, we have engaged with municipalities and consulted with communities, including the Royal Orchard neighborhood in Thornhill. Members of the community have shared concerns about updated plans that shift the route of the subway extension off of Yonge Street in the northern segment of the line and have asked how we will make sure that the new subway service does not become a disruption to the community.”

The revised route will see tunnels that will travel mostly under Bay Thorn Drive, a move Verster says will see the subway travel under 20 homes and 15 additional properties versus the previous alignment that would travel under 40 homes and 23 additional properties. Additionally, the tunnels will be constructed between 21 meters and 50 meters (68.9 feet and 164 feet) below the surface to lessen the impact of potential noise and vibration.

“These refinements will keep things peaceful and quiet in the neighborhoods along the route while still delivering all the benefits of the subway extension for York Region,” said Verster. “While we already expected that noise and vibration levels would not be significantly different to what residents experience today, these refinements will make them even lower. In fact, early environmental studies based on the new route show that by using the proven technology available, noise and vibration levels from operations will be so faint in the Royal Orchard community that they’ll be practically imperceptible to human senses.”

The project’s tunnels will be bored and built on what Metrolinx describes as “modern and up-to-date industry standards,” which include thick reinforced concrete. The agency is also examining track components such as high-grade rail fasteners, ballast mats and rail dampers to further reduce noise and vibration of future subway service.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.