‘Extreme conditions’ shut down Line 3, UP Express as arctic air grips Toronto

Frigid temperatures forced the TTC to shut down Line 3 Scarborough again on Thursday morning, after three days of major disruptions on the transit network.

Stuart Green, spokesperson for the TTC, said on social media that crews “worked long and hard through brutally cold conditions” to get Line 3 back in working order. He added that shuttle buses will run between Kennedy and McCowan stations to replace train service until the entirety of the line is operational.

Green made a similar statement on Wednesday morning, only to have service reduced less than two hours later. By yesterday evening, Line 3 was shut down completely.

“The blowing and drifting snow on Line 3 has really created a problem for us. It’s wedging in to the power rail system and that’s what is taking the time to clear,” Green said in an interview.

“We know it’s inconvenient to our customers, but these are extreme conditions. The challenge with Line 3 is that it’s very open. The entire line is open air and very flat in places, so the topography allows for a lot of wind to whip around,” he explained.

Green could not say when regular train service is likely to resume.

Two consecutive days of bitter cold, preceded by a major snowstorm, has caused considerable headaches on both local and regional transit networks.

The UP Express, which normally runs from the downtown to Pearson airport every fifteen minutes, is not operating. Airport staff at Pearson and Billy Bishop airport downtown also warned travellers that the extreme cold could impact flight schedules. Anyone headed to either airport is encouraged to check their flight status online.

GO Transit also reported significant delays on multiple train and bus routes, while several school boards cancelled bus service. There will be no bus transportation in all zones of both the Durham public and Catholic boards, though all schools remain open to students.

Similarly, the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board cancelled buses for St. Andrew, St. Peter and St. Benedict schools.

An arctic air mass hovering over most of southern Ontario since late Tuesday is expected to stick around until the end of the work week. Toronto will see a high of –15 C today, though it will feel more like –26 by mid-afternoon. Wind chill values below –35 are forecast to persist throughout the morning rush hour.

An extreme cold warning issued by Environment Canada earlier this week remains in place.

Icy conditions on roadways throughout the GTA were causing problems for drivers through the early morning hours. The OPP reported multiple collisions on major highways and cautioned motorists to be especially careful while on ramps.

Meanwhile, Peel police responded to an 11-vehicle crash near Mississauga Road and HIghway 401. No one was badly injured, they said on social media.

“Please drive with care as officers are reporting the roadway is icy,” Peel police said in a tweet.

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