Another massive project proposed by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is underway and after testing conducted last week, it looks like new changes coming to the Toronto subway system will make a lot of people very, very happy.

The TTC has announced that it successfully tested a new automatic train control system that will replace the TTC's current signalling infrastructure, which dates back to 1954 when Line 1 was first opened.

This much-needed upgraded to the transit system's signalling system will convert the TTC from a "fixed block" system to an automatic one. In the older but currently used fixed block system, the TTC tracks are purposely divided into different "blocks" to always keep trains a safe distance apart. But it's incredibly slow and often leads to delays, as only one train can travel through a block at a time.

But the new, automatic signalling system, referred to as ATC, is a "moving block" system which equips trains with radio signals that allow them to communicate their speed and location to a computerized control system in real time. The automated system then automatically determines how fast trains are able to travel by factoring in how far apart trains must to prevent collisions.

Following the 13-day long testing period, TTC Chief Operating officer Mike Palmer happily announced that the new ATC system surpassed expectations. After initial glitches were diagnosed and repaired, Palmer reported that there was only a 5-minute total delay that occurred on the section of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) where the testing was conducted.

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According to projections, the new signalling system will guarantee fewer and shorter delays, as well as increase the amount and speed of service on the TTC. The report estimates that Line 1, the TTC's busiest line, will be able to increase its passenger capacity by 25 per cent due to the increased speed and efficiency of transit under the new system.

With testing over, the entire ATC system update on TTC lines has already begun, with the system already in place on the new extension of Line 1.

Projections for the new system anticipate all of Line 1 will be updated by 2019, amounting to an estimated $562.3 million, while the updates to Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) are expected to be complete by about 2030.

Source: The Star