The Sheppard East LRT (SELRT) is a light rail transit system, which is being constructed in Toronto, Ontario, and will be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

Construction work of the system began in September 2009 and is expected to be completed by September 2013. The project is estimated to cost $1bn.

Toronto is the fifth most popular city in North America with a total population of around 2.5 million. The subway system and elevated rapid transit line are the city’s major transit systems. The 85 bus service is currently serving its Sheppard corridor.

TTC, North America’s third largest transportation system, provides public transit services, including buses and streetcars, within the region.

Sheppard East LRT background

The Toronto Transit City Light Rail Plan (TTCLRP) includes the construction of seven LRT lines in Toronto and was supported by the TTC in March 2007. The 120km-long SELRT is one of the seven lines planned.

“Toronto is the fifth most popular city in North America.”

In June 2007, the TTC approved TTCLRP’s implementation work plan. The plan envisaged the construction of at least one line by 2010.

The groundbreaking event for the SELRT was conducted in December 2009, in addition to the system’s environmental assessment (EA) study.

Construction of the SELRT was scheduled after the approval of funds.

SELRT project

The SELRT line network connects the regions of Finch Avenue, Eglinton Avenue, Jane St and Don Mills Road.

The SELRT project was designed by considering the hourly ridership in a direction at peak point and the busiest spot on the line. It will replace heavily commuted Sheppard East bus routes with modern electrical LRT, separated from traffic.

The project will also provide transit services to the commuters in the far end of Scarborough, located in the east wing of Toronto.

Metrolinx, owner of SELRT, will supervise the execution of the project by the TTC. The new LRT will be fully integrated into the Toronto transit system.

The proposed project involves the construction of a new line on Sheppard Avenue East, connecting Don Mills Station with Meadowvale Road. The new line will have 30 stops with an underground connection to Don Mills Station.

SELRT line network construction

“Construction began in 2009 and is expected to be completed by 2013.”

The construction work started with the construction of sewer and water-main systems. The new line will be constructed at street level in the centre of Sheppard Avenue East.

To ensure minimum disruption times during the construction, one side of the road is being laid at a time, which will restrict open excavations.

SELRT line route

The 14km east-west bound line will connect 30 stations in the region. The line’s west terminal will be at Don Mills Station in North York, while the east terminal of the line will be constructed at Scarborough’s Meadowvale Road.

SELRT will run towards east through Sheppard Avenue. The line will ultimately be integrated into the existing Toronto transit system. It will be connected to the subway level at Don Mills Station and with Finch West LRT.

The new line will connect the roads Yorkland, Birchmount, Kennedy, Midland, McCowan, Markham, Progress Avenue, Neilson Road and Morningside.

SELRT will also be connected to the York Region Transit or Viva Bus Service at Don Mills Station, TTC Bus Routes and Stouffville GO Train Line at Agincourt station. The line will pass through a tunnel that is located west of Consumers Road and under Highway 404.

Rolling stock

“The SELRT is one of seven lines planned as part of the programme.”

The line will integrate 35 new, modern, electrically powered light rail vehicles, which are low-floor locomotives with level loading from on-street platforms.

The new vehicles will have the capability to operate in both directions. As they will not require a loop to turn around, this will reduce the infrastructure and area required, as well as noise and vibrations.

The rolling stock is estimated to cost $210m.

Rapid transit programme financing

SELRT line is being funded as part of the MoveOntario 2020 rapid transit programme. The project will be funded under a federal-provincial funding partnership, in which the Province of Ontario and the Canadian Government will both participate.

The Ontario province will fund $633m, while $333m will be provided by the Canadian Government.

Rapid transit system future plans

It is planned that the SELRT will extend towards Durham region in the east and to the north-south LRT on Don Mills Road. It will also extend to the Scarborough rapid transit system in the vicinity of Markham Road.