What the Heck is the SmartTrack Line?

On in SagesTO by

All John Tory wants for the new year is a SmartTrack Line. For the past few months, Toronto’s newest mayor has been talking up his $8 billion dollar transportation plan as the main platform for his campaign. While some are excited, others are skeptical and some are just plain confused.

Is it a subway? Is it a streetcar? Is it an LRT? What the heck is the SmartTrack Line anyways?

In short, the SmartTrack Line is an above ground “surface subway” system that uses our existing rail infrastructure with additional stops and new (probably electric) trains. There will be 22 stops running from the airport to Mount Dennis to Union Station, and northeast to Markham. The line will intersect with select subway stations, GO Transit, LRT and the new Union Pearson Express. Mayor Tory promises it will be quicker, reduce passenger and car congestion, with the same TTC fare. It’s estimated to be completed by 2021, if approved by city council.

What does this surface subway look like?

Is it sleek? Is it sexy? Not really. It looks like a commuter train. International cities like London, Paris and Tokyo have already adopted these trains to help folks connect with subways and commuter lines. Their transit systems loop around the city, connecting to major stations and transit hubs. Here’s what they look like.

Paris Rapid Transit

Tokyo’s Yamanote Line

Will Mayor Tory use his SmartTrack Line to get to City Hall? Not likely. The Mayor, who lives at One Bedford in the Yorkville neighbourhood, and will probably just take the subway.

Do you think the SmartTrack Line is a good idea?


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