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Eglinton Crosstown LRT Tunnelling Officially Gets Underway

The slow process of digging out underground tunnels for Toronto's future light-rail vehicles got its start earlier this morning.

It’s somehow reassuring to know that despite pervasive confusion at City Hall, Toronto is still somehow managing to press ahead with a major infrastructure project—or at any rate, the province is managing to do it on Toronto’s behalf. (Which isn’t to say Toronto doesn’t have a couple of its own things on the go.)

Earlier today, Minister of Transportation Glen Murray, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, and MP Laura Albanese called members of the media to an excavated shaft near Eglinton Avenue and Black Creek Drive. There, they officially launched the first of four tunnel-boring machines that will dig the 10-plus kilometre underground segment of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The Metrolinx-led project is one of four new light-rail lines scheduled for completion over the next seven years. The first two boring machines, which are nicknamed Dennis and Lea, will dig the western section of the tunnel, from Black Creek Drive. Another two machines, Don and Humber, will dig the eastern portion, from Leslie Street to Yonge Street. It’s expected that each machine will make 10 or 15 metres of progress per day.

Click through the image gallery, above, for a look at what happened at this morning’s launch ceremony.

Or, you can watch a video that describes how the boring machines work.

CORRECTION: June 5, 2013, 11:22 AM This post originally said that the Black Creek Drive segment of the Eglinton Crosstown is to the east, and that the Leslie portion is to the west. In fact, it’s the reverse.


  • The_Architect

    I think you mixed up eastern and western.. The western section would be from Black Creek and the eastern section from Leslie.

    • SteveKupferman

      Corrected. Thanks!

      • Walter Lis

        Right is east, left is west. Your west, my east.

  • Geotoronto

    When does the the boring/digging start on the eastern part at Leslie?

  • Professor Polymath

    I had hoped they’d name a pair of the tunnel boring machines Duke and Billy. Further, I propose we rename the avenue Ellington.

  • SmarterThanYou86

    Don’t know why, but I immediately thought of the war head drilling scene in Austin Powers “Does that make you horny baby?” lol, sorry.

  • FlamingDiarrhea

    I’m getting Rob Ford wasted tonight!

  • Jacob

    To think they could have started this two years ago…

    Anyway, good news!

    • SmarterThanYou86

      To think, they could have started this in the 90s – thanks Mike Harris!

      • Walter

        I guess for anyone who supports the LRT vision, this is an actual “thanks” and not a sarcastic “thanks”.

  • Walter

    I believe these TBM’s will work toward the Eglinton West Station, and then will be re-launched from Eglinton West to Eglinton stations. The other pair will go from Leslie to Yonge (Eglinton Station).

    This means that there is still time for some common sense to prevail so the eastern portion could still be built grade separated from Leslie to Kennedy.

    • Walter

      There’s nothing stopping them from upgrading portions of the line as time goes on as conditions warrant.

  • Suicide Boi

    Sounds good! Can’t wait to throw myself in front of one of these trains!

  • nevilleross

    I want all of Transit City completed, even If I don’t ever get to see it thanks to the fat piece of shit we have for a mayor.