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Rocket Talk: What Are Those Subway Symbols For?

Have questions about the TTC? Rocket Talk is a regular Torontoist column, featuring TTC Chair Adam Giambrone and Director of Communications Brad Ross’s answers to Torontoist readers’ questions. Submit your questions to rockettalk@torontoist.com!

Reader Alix James asks:

What’s with the differently coloured symbols in the subway? Triangles and circles in green, yellow, and red.

Reader Tom Woodhall asks:

Many subway stations have lately had small, ceramic-looking markers placed on some of the walls/columns on the platforms. Always adjacent, the green circles and orange triangles are sometimes attached from behind, sometimes held on with what appears to be masking tape. They’re usually located about eight feet from the floor.
Is this related to the automatic train control system? Is it to teach small children colours and shapes while they ride the rocket? Why not blue octagons or purple trapezoids?


20100810ttcnewwallmarker-orangetrianglegreendisc.jpg

TTC Chair Adam Giambrone says:

Multicoloured markers on the platform wall help operators and guards line up the train in the station in the right location, and also advise them when to start braking.
As there are different subway cars with different operating characteristics, some signs are particular to a particular car—and since Toronto Rockets (TRs) are going to begin to arrive next month, the TTC is beginning to install new markers.
CURRENT MARKERS
Circular Red Disk (All Trains)
This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the operator to position the train in the station. When the train is stopped with the marker located between the front of the train and the first set of doors, the train is properly spotted (that is, aligned) in the station.
Circular Green Disk (H-type and T-1 Trains)
This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall and applies to H-type and T-1 trains. When the guard’s window is aligned with this marker, under normal operating conditions, the guard knows that the train is properly spotted on the platform and it is safe to open the doors.
20100810ttcnewwallmarker-orangedisc.jpg
Circular Orange Disk (H-type and T-1 Trains)
This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the guard on H-type and T-1 trains to observe the platform (for passenger safety) for the required distance, under normal operating conditions, as the train is moving to exit the station.
NEW MARKERS
With the arrival of Toronto Rocket subway trains in the near future, the need for new green and orange wall markers has been identified, as the trains have different operating characteristics and the guard of the train is located in a different position.
The following platform wall markers are now being installed on the Yonge-University-Spadina and Bloor-Danforth subway lines:
20100810ttcnewwallmarker-greentriangle.jpg
Green Triangle (Guarding from the Trailing Car)
This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the guard, who is positioned in the trailing car. When the guard’s window is aligned with this marker, the train is properly spotted on the platform, and it is safe to open the doors.
Orange Triangle (Guarding from the Trailing Car)
This marker is typically mounted on the station platform wall to assist the guard positioned in the trailing car to observe the platform for the required distance as the train is moving to exit the station.
Photos by Harry Choi/Torontoist.

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