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Weekend subway closures in Toronto...
and New York, London, Berlin and...

As we noted in our previous post, Torontonians like to grumble, especially about their transit system.

Every time the TTC shuts down part of the subway network to make some necessary repairs or updates, the grumbling intensifies. We like to pretend that this doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world and that only the TTC does this to us and only us for some evil unknown reason.

Flitting across our computer screen today, we noticed this tweet, reacting to the TTC’s closing Line 1 between Lawrence West and St George Station this weekend:

“#TTC is the leading expert at making riders late & frustrated. The world could learn a thing or two. #expertise #transit #Toronto “.

But, surely we all know that’s really not true, don’t we?

Just this week, we learned how the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority shut down, not just part of a line or even just one line, but the entire subway system and not just for a weekend but for 29 straight hours on a weekday — from Tuesday evening until Thursday morning.

And, let’s remember that Toronto isn’t the only city with a rapid-transit system experiencing capacity issues and an urgent and overdue need to upgrade. This Wednesday, an exasperated information manager at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), a commuter rail service linking San Francisco, Oakland and other nearby cities, went way off the official message. Corey Doctorow explains in Boing Boing:

“On Wednesday night, the person who runs the Twitter feed for San Francisco’s BART system began answering riders’ frustrated tweets with frank, honest statements that eschewed the bland ‘thank you for your feedback’ and the chipper ‘we’re working on it!’ norms of corporate social media in favor of brutally honest assessments of the sorry state of the system, starting with, ‘BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality.’

“BART’s twitter manager, Taylor Huckabee (who tweets in his personal capacity as @iwriterealgood) turned #thisisourreality into a hashtag, and continued to answer (and sometimes rebut) riders with open, truthful statements about the state of BART, a cash-starved piece of critical infrastructure in a city that’s bursting at its seams.

“Public reaction has been gratifyingly sympathetic: it turns out that riders and customers don’t want to be spoon-fed bland reassurances; they want to know what is going on, where the problems lie, who is at fault, and what can be done about it.

(For example, Huckabee tweeted: “We have 3 hours a night to do maintenance on a system built to serve 100k per week that now serves 430k per day. #ThisIsOurReality” and, responding to commuter suggestions that he was explaining away a bureaucratic / organizational failure, “We don’t consider successfully moving the equivalent of the population of Atlanta through BART on a daily basis a failure.”)

(See also another account of this incident by Sophie Kleeman, writing in Gizmondo: “I would like to buy a drink for the poor soul who ran the San Francisco BART Twitter account last night”, here.

So what should we expect the TTC to do instead? Shut down the system for an extended period on a weekday? Or do less maintenance and let the system deteriorate, as seems to have happened in the San Francisco area?

Simply put, the answer seems to be: keep doing what you’re doing by making sure the system is well maintained and in a state of good repair. Keep closing the system down over the weekend, when fewer of us are traveling, and don’t risk putting work off until the system breaks down during rush hours when we most need it.

So, let’s take a look at what are other transit systems up to this weekend to “frustrate their passengers”.



From January 3 until November 25 - No service between Olympia-Stadion and Ruhleben. Line reconstruction. Alternative: Buses operating along an extended regular route.


From February 11 until August 31 - Grottkauer Straße station closed during extensive demolition and reconstruction of the northern access building. Crews are also installing an elevator to make the station accessible Ride to the next station and connect to local buses to reach the area of the station.


From February 2 until April 22 - Closed overnight Sundays / Mondays and Thursdays / Fridays between Kurt-Schumacher-Platz and Wedding during line reconstruction.


Blue Line:

10 p.m. March 18 until 4 a.m. March 21 - Addison Station closed as part of a project to modernize the line. Free shuttle buses.

Brown Line:

From 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. March 19 and 20 - Loop-bound trains skip Wellington and Diversey Stations during track maintenance.

Red Line:

9 p.m. March 18 until 4 a.m. March 21 - Howard-bound trains bypass Wilson through Jarvis Stations as part of project to rebuild Wilson Station. Howard-bound trains will not stop at Wilson, Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, Thorndale, Granville, Loyola, Morse or Jarvis stations.

For service to these stations, take a Howard-bound train to Howard and transfer to a 95th-bound train.

For service from these stations, take a 95th-bound train to Sheridan and transfer to a Howard-bound train.

At Sheridan Station, Howard-bound trains will stop at their normal platform, but passengers must board or exit trains on the outer tracks instead of the inner tracks.

Buses operating along regular routes partially replace trains.


Circle Line:

March 19 and 20 - no service along the entire line to allow crews to carry out track, drainage and Crossrail work between Farringdon and Liverpool Street.

District Line:

March 19 and 20 - no service between Tower Hill and West Ham during track and drainage replacement work at Aldgate East and Crossrail work at Whitechapel. Replacement buses operate.

Hammersmith and City Line:

March 19 and 20 - no service between King’s Cross St Pancras and Barking during track and drainage replacement work between Farringdon and Aldgate East and Crossrail work at Whitechapel. Replacement buses operate east of Aldgate East

London Overground:

March 19 and 20 - no service between Romford and Upminster due to Crossrail works. Use local London Buses services instead.

March 20 - no service between Sydenham and West Croydon due to network rail track works. Replacement buses operate.

March 20 - no service between Camden Road and Stratford, due to Highbury Corner works. Replacement buses operate.

March 20 until noon - no service between Gospel Oak and Barking to help prepare the line for electrification. Replacement buses operate.

Metropolitan Line:

March 19 and 20 - no service between King’s Cross St Pancras and Aldgate during track, drainage and Crossrail work between Farringdon and Liverpool Street.

Los Angeles

Red and Purple Lines:

11 p.m. March 18 until 7 a.m. March 19 - Trains on each line every 20 minutes due to maintenance. Purple Line only between Wilshire/Vermont and Wilshire/Western.

Boarding Change: Red Line shares 1 track at Vermont/Beverly and Wilshire/Vermont.

Gold Line:

January 8 until March 23: Bus shuttles replace Gold Line between Pico/Aliso and Union Station for Regional Connector work. Allow extra time in area.

Gold Line Rail service levels: Trains between Pasadena and Union Station and between Pico/Aliso and Atlantic are scheduled to arrive every 10 minutes during the day, and every 20 minutes late-night/early morning.

Gold Line Bus Shuttle service levels: Bus shuttles are scheduled to arrive every 6 min for weekday peak periods and every 10 min midday, evenings, nights and weekends.

Crews are relocating tracks at Little Tokyo/Arts District Station as part of a regional connector construction project.

New York

4 subway:

No trains between Bowling Green and Utica Av/New Lots Av from 11:45 p.m. March 18 until 5 a.m. March 21.

N subway R subway 2 subway and 3 subway trains provide alternate service.

Closures continue 16 more weekends until July 23.

7 subway:

No trains between Times Sq-42 St and Queensboro Plaza from early March 19 until early March 21.

7 subway service operates in two sections:

  • Between Flushing-Main St and Queensboro Plaza and
  • Between Times Sq-42 St and 34 St-Hudson Yards, every 15-to-20 minutes.

Free shuttle buses, shuttle trains and NY Waterway’s East River Ferry provide alternate service.

Closures continue six more weekends until November 21.

A and C subway:

Rerouted by the F subway in both directions between W 4 St and Jay St-MetroTech from 11:45 p.m. March 18 until 5 a.m. March 21.

E subway and J subway trains provide alternate service.

Closures continue ten more weekends until June 27.

E subway:

Rerouted by the F subway in both directions between Roosevelt Av and W 4 St from 11:45 p.m. March 18 until 5 a.m. March 21.

7 subway and C subway trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.

Closures continue ten more weekends until June 27.

N subway:

Starting January 18, long-term service changes at nine subway stations along the Sea Beach N subway line are part of a station renewal project. The nine stations — all built in the 1910s — are: 8 Av, Fort Hamilton Pkwy, New Utrecht Av, 18 Av, 20 Av, Bay Pkwy, Kings Hwy, Avenue U, and 86 St. Work continues for four years, starting with Manhattan-bound tracks, and then continuing with the Coney-Island-bound tracks.

Since January 18, Manhattan-bound N subway trains have not stopped at 86 St, Avenue U, Kings Hwy, 20 Av, 18 Av, New Utrecht Av and Fort Hamilton Pkwy and will not serve these stations until spring 2017.

Manhattan-bound N subway trains are available at Bay Pkwy and 8 Av. Coney Island-bound N trains make all stops to Stillwell Av.

For service from these stations, take a Coney Island-bound N subway to Bay Pkwy or Stillwell Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound N subway.

For service to these stations from Stillwell Av, take the Manhattan-bound N subway to Bay Pkwy or 8 Av and transfer to a Coney Island-bound N subway.

Take the D subway from New Utrecht Av-62 St and transfer to the N subway at 36 St.

N subway passengers may also consider alternate service and stations on the D subway and F subway lines.

San Francisco Bay Area


March 18 to 20 - Late night delays between South Hayward and Fremont, due to “important electrical work”. Passengers will experience 35 to 45 minute delays after 10 pm. BART is single-tracking trains through the area for safety.

March 20 - expect delays of 15 to 20 minutes between Glen Park and Balboa Park as crews trim trees next to the trackway from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. For safety, trains will travel slowly through this area delaying anyone traveling south of 24th Street Station on a Pittsburg/Bay Point/SFO train. Dublin/Pleasanton/Daly City trains will turn back at 24th Street. If you are traveling to or from Daly City you will have to change trains at 24th Street.