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Explosions Shut Down 401, Wilson

Update — 11:44 p.m.: CN Rail has approved GO Transit operations along the track near the refinery explosion. Tomorrow morning’s GO trains from Barrie should proceed along their regular tracks, with some speed restrictions near the explosion area.

Update — 10:55 p.m.: GO Transit is still advising passengers that Yorkdale Terminal remains closed to GO buses and that the buses are still diverting. It also warns passengers who would ordinarily travel on the 65 Barrie GO train tomorrow morning that some delays may occur on that line as it passes near the site of the explosion. CN Rail inspectors are now inspecting the line and GO hopes to run trains through the area at reduced speeds tomorrow. If GO trains cannot travel along their regular line, they will travel as far as York University Station, then travel along a CN Rail freight line to the Richmond Hill line, then follow that line downtown to Union Station. Regardless, Barrie passengers can expect some delays tomorrow.

Update — 10:41 p.m.: Some of the 12,000 evacuated residents are being allowed back home, and the TTC is confident that all services will be back to normal by tomorrow morning.

Update — 5:05 p.m.: Transit Toronto reader Jonathon Markowski reports that 96 Wilson and 165 Weston Road North buses were diverting “via Wilson station bus roadway (without actually servicing the terminal — just to avoid a lengthy left-turn lineup), Transit Road, Billy Bishop Way, Dufferin, Lawrence and Jane. Some Keele buses are also diverting along Jane Street, although others are not.”

The beta version of the TTC’s “new” website has now gone offline.

Update — 4:56 p.m.: citytv News reports that the TTC is now operating subway trains to Downsview, Wilson and Yorkdale Stations, although the TTC’s “new” website reports that the subway is still closed and the TTC’s “old” website reports that all subways are operating normally. TTC buses are still detouring around the area.

GO Transit buses are still not operating to Yorkdale Bus Terminal, and GO buses are still detouring because Highway 401 is still closed. Some news reports indicate that emergency personnel are evacuating Yorkdale Mall as a precaution, even though the TTC subway trains are stopping at Yorkdale Station.

Update — 12:18 p.m.: The TTC now reports that it is diverting buses on these routes: 108 Downsview; 29 Dufferin; 107 Keele North; 84 Sheppard West; 165 Weston Road North; 96 Wilson. (No word about 41 Keele.)

Update — 11:09 a.m.: The TTC has shut down the 1 Yonge — University — Spadina subway between Downsview and Lawrence West Stations and is operating shuttle buses between the two stations. No word on how 41 Keele, 96 Wilson and 165 Weston Road North passengers can find alternative service or how buses are detouring during the evacuation.

GO Transit buses on the 34 Brampton Local, 60 Wonderland and 94 Oshawa Highway 2 routes are skipping Yorkdale because of the evacuation, but will operate to York Mills. Bus passengers should expect delays of as long as 30 minutes behind schedule.

It may be Sunday, but expect significant delays if you are travelling on the surface in the north end of the city. A series of explosions at a propane depot near the Wilson Avenue/Keele Street intersection at 4 a.m. has shut down Highway 401 between Highway 400 and the Don Valley Parkway and has forced the evacuation of a number of homes.

The Toronto Star is following this ongoing story. If your travels include the 401, or buses which travel on Keele Street or Wilson Avenue, or any of the streets near the 401, your trip will likely be severely disrupted as TTC and GO buses, not to mention thousands of drivers, try to find alternate routes to get where they need to go. Leave yourself more time to get to your destination.

For photos and video of the scene, check out coverage by North York Explosion Wakes Up Half the City

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