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Electrical Insulation for TTC Subway Extension Project

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TTC subway build

In September 1949 construction began on ‘Canada’s First Subway’ in downtown Toronto. This was a massive undertaking that continued until 1954 with the completion of the Yonge subway between Union Station and Eglinton Station. The one municipal service that prospered during the war years was public transit because gas rationing limited the use of automobiles.

Fast forward to today and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is currently undergoing expansion. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Project will provide a critical extension for the existing TTC subway system across the municipal boundary between the City of Toronto and The Regional Municipality of York (York Region) and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016. Click hereto see construction in progress.

The needs for such a monumental infrastructure project are varied. With an estimated cost of $2.6 billion the TTC extended multiple tenders for different components of the job. Among the construction elements was a coverboard for the electrified third rail in the subway. This piece acts as a safety device protecting workers from electrocution. At one time these coverboards were made of wood but over time environmental conditions caused them to deteriorate so a more robust material was required. Fiberglass was chosen for its environmental and fire retardant qualities.

Synthane Taylor participated in the bid process along with six other companies. The coverboard tender required a total of 3080 units of 19-foot pultruded lengths of fibreglass coverboards for a total length of 17.8 kilometers.  While Synthane Taylor were not the lowest bidder, they won the contract on a combination of price and excellent delivery ability.  Due to previous experience with TTC projects, Synthane Taylor were the ideal candidate for the job as they had already developed procedures and production methods that ensured efficiency. This enabled them to have the first shipment ready in just over a week. No other supplier could offer that turnaround. With tight schedules this was a priority for the TTC and they were pleased to work with a familiar supplier who had produced quality insulating materials for them several times over the past decade.

Installation commenced in August 2013 and is continuing through September. When complete the length of the subway extension will be 8.6 km consisting of 6.2 km from Downsview Station to Steeles West (in Toronto) and 2.4 km from Steeles West Station to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station (in York Region). This will be the first Toronto Transit Commission rapid transit line to cross the City of Toronto boundary.
Using the fibreglass coverboards provides this extension with a more modern design that will last much longer than its wooden counterpart. The coverboards will also contribute significantly to the safety features within the subway system.
To learn more about this exciting transit project visit the TTC website

TTC Coverboard
Cross section of TTC Electrical Coverboard

Topics: safetyelectrical insulationelectric insulatorcoverboard

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