Spadina Station Walkway

(courtesy Transit Toronto -


The Spadina subway starts where the University subway ends, at St. George Station. There, track switches pull inside the tracks connecting the University line to the Bloor-Danforth subway west of Bloor Street. Once able to pass over the connecting tracks, the line takes a sharp turn right and burrows under Spadina Road to a new station just below Lowther Avenue. Originally, this station was to be called Lowther and exist separately from Bloor-Danforth's Spadina station, but the decision was made to add another connection to the Bloor-Danforth subway line. This gave Lowther access to the Spadina subway entrances closer to Bloor and to the Spadina bus platforms and saved the TTC money on personnel by eliminating the need for a staffed entrance at Lowther.

To make this connection feasible for the average patron, the TTC built a moving walkway to ease the long trip between the Spadina line platforms and the rest of Spadina station. This moving walkway remains a popular feature of the station for children of all ages. The northern entrance to this station was built into a restored old house. The house had to be put onto tracks and pulled back from its foundation so that work could go on below ground connecting the entrance to the station. For all this work, the entrance is typically unmanned, and accessed by token or Metropass only. Two pieces of art were commissioned for this station, one "Morning Glory" by Louise de Neverville and "Barren Ground Caribou" by Joyce Weiland.


Before photo (courtesy Transit Toronto):

TTC report:




MEETING DATE: February 25, 2004



It is recommended that the Commission approve the retirement of the moving walkways at Spadina Station by the end of 2004.


If the decision to retire the units is approved, operating funds of $100k, that have been allocated for maintenance, would be utilized in 2004 to remove and cover the existing walkways. Beginning in 2005, the Operating Budget will be adjusted to reflect the closure of the walkways. Funds have not been budgeted for replacement of the walkways in TTCs 2004-2008 Capital Program.


The Spadina moving walkways were installed in 1978. Each walkway is 450-ft. in length slightly less than the length of a TTC platform at 500-ft. The horizontal walkways are located in a standard corridor joining the Yonge-University-Spadina (YUS) and Bloor-Danforth (BD) Subway Lines at Spadina Station. The daily usage of the corridor is 11,000 patrons, of which a portion use the moving walkway. Passengers who wish to transfer lines may do so at St. George Station instead of using the corridor.


The moving walkways are now entering their 26th year of operation. In addition to the $100k annual maintenance cost, immediate replacement of major components such as pallets, step chains, newels and drive system assembly are required to ensure the safe operation at a cost of $1.1 million. This would extend the life for only 10 more years and would then require a decision to replace or remove.


In November 2003, the walkways were shut down for a detailed inspection to fully ascertain the condition. The inspection confirmed the poor state of the walkways. The walkways have remained out of service for the time being while labour resources were diverted to Sheppard Subway to deal with the high number of elevating device calls and ongoing deficiency inspection work. Only three complaints have been received since the shutdown of the walkways.

Staff has conducted cost budget analysis on three options. Option A is to extend the life of the walkways. Option B is to replace the existing walkways with four new walkways. Option C is to retire the walkways and cover the existing pit, leaving a wider corridor with the same or equivalent flooring as the existing. A summarized comparison is shown in the table below.




A Extend Design Life

10 years

$1.1 M


B Replace with 4 New Walkways (1)

25 years

$4.0 M


C Retire Units and Cover Existing Pit

50 years

$ 0

$0 /year

  1. The units are not sold in 450-ft. lengths anymore. The manufacturer has advised two shorter walkways for each direction would be necessary. New walkways would have a 25-year life expectancy.


The retirement of walkways results in a cost avoidance of $1.1 million for immediate replacement of major components and/or replacement capital cost of $4.0 million, plus annual maintenance cost of up to $100k/year.

We recommend Option C, as there are suitable alternatives available to the public:

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February 4, 2004


Walkway removal, September 2004:

Work is complete, February 2005: