Wilson Yard

Coordinates: 43°44′21″N 79°27′16″W / 43.73917°N 79.45444°W / 43.73917; -79.45444
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Wilson Complex, viewed from a southbound train

43°44′21″N 79°27′16″W / 43.73917°N 79.45444°W / 43.73917; -79.45444

Wilson Yard (also known as the Wilson Complex) is the largest of the Toronto Transit Commission's subway yards and bus garages.[1] The subway yard services subway trains on Line 1 Yonge–University.[2][3] The facility is located on Transit Road north of Wilson Avenue, in the former city of North York (now part of Toronto), between Wilson and Sheppard West stations.[4][5][6]

The site is on a large parcel of land first was once part of Downsview Airport, built in 1936.[7] During World War II the airport was turned into a military facility, most often known as Canadian Forces Base Downsview. The site became available to the TTC around the 1970s, after the federal government sold off part of the base lands as surplus.

In 1974 the TTC considered interim expedients for storage of subway vehicles, until the Wilson Yard became available.[8]

The 60-acre (24 ha) yard was completed in 1976 and began operations in 1977.[1] The facility also houses a bus barn and maintenance facilities for subway cars.

When Downsview (the original name of Sheppard West) station opened in 1996, a northern yard entry track to the extended mainline was constructed to provide better train access to the station, situated north of the yard.

The Wilson Yard connecting tunnel branching off the mainline south of Sheppard West station at the station crossover

By 2010, a tunnel was constructed to provide a link to a proposed northerly expansion of the yard to the mainline just south of Downsview station, though track was not laid and it was left dormant until the yard expansion project was completed in 2018.[9][10] When it finally opened, this new link provided an entry/exit to the new northern section of the yard for trains servicing the Toronto–York Spadina Subway Extension.[10]

Since May 2018, trains going out of service at the Wilson Yard do so by deadheading southbound from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station, instead of northbound from Wilson station. This avoids northbound trains going out of service after the evening rush hour having to cross the southbound track, which was the practice prior to this time.[11]

Modifications to the Wilson Yard were made to accommodate the new Toronto Rocket trains, the Toronto–York Spadina Subway Extension and increased demand on Line 1 Yonge–University. Work included expansion of the carhouse, a new hostler platform to support the new north-end entry/exit track, a new north-end runaround track connecting 8 new storage tracks in the west yard, a new power substation[12] and a new training building with a simulator for TR trains.[10]

Opened in September 2018, the new hostler platform and north-end entry/exit track helps to reduce traffic delays by 44% in the early morning when work cars return from their night shift and service trains depart.[13]

Automatic train control is being added to all the TTC's heavy rail routes. Automatic Train Control was functional within the 60 acre Wilson Yard in 2019.[14] Spokesmen said robot control of trains, within the yard, would increase safety and decrease delays.

Subway division facilities[edit]

  • Carhouse with nine interior tracks.[15]
  • Exterior storage tracks.
  • Power sub-station.[12]
  • Connections to the mainline at the north and south ends of the yard.[10]

Wilson Yard is home to approximately half the commission's fleet of trains and work cars.[16] The yard regularly houses most of the Toronto Rocket subway trains. It also houses some disused and outdated equipment.[17]

Bus division facilities[edit]

Bus facilities include:[1]

  • 21,000 m2 (230,000 sq ft) garage
  • 11 twelve-metre hoists and 3 eighteen-metre hoists
  • 2 wash racks, 2 diesel fuelling stations
  • 4 inspection pit stations
  • Eurovac system
  • bus-only bridge over Transit Road connecting the bus facility to bus platforms at Wilson station


  1. ^ a b c Godfrey Mallion, James Bow (11 June 2019). "The Wilson Bus Garage and Subway Yard". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 26 August 2020. Given this and expected future growth, the TTC knew that a lot of space would be required for the complex. The alignment of the Spadina subway opened up an intriguing possibility of using largely vacant land beside Downsview Airport. Sixty acres were chosen north of Wilson Avenue and west of Wilson Heights Boulevard.
  2. ^ Sunshine, Fannie (24 April 2013). "OUR EXCLUSIVE LOOK: Keele and Finch most affected by subway extension". Inside Toronto. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  3. ^ Mike Filey (2012). "Toronto Sketches 11: "The Way We Were"". Dundurn Press. p. 161. ISBN 9781459707658. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  4. ^ Jai Centeno, Chris (19 April 2008). "TTC subway crash sends 2 to hospital". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  5. ^ Mike Filey (23 April 2014). Mike Filey's Toronto Sketches. Dundurn. pp. 369–370. ISBN 978-1-4597-2949-0.
  6. ^ "Wilson Yard Expansion Project". Bondfield. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  7. ^ Mike Filey (2002). A Toronto Album 2: More Glimpses of the City That Was. Dundurn Press. p. 57. ISBN 9781770701205. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  8. ^ "A review of proposed additions to Toronto's subway system". Metropolitan Toronto Transportation Plan Review. 1974. p. 21. Retrieved 31 July 2016. Additional cars, without additional storage facilities at Kipling or Wilson, could be accommodated, to a limited degree, with "on-line" storage, until completion of the Wilson yard.
  9. ^ "Wilson Yard Expansion Project". Bondfield Construction.
  10. ^ a b c d Bow, James (6 May 2017). "Wilson Yard Connection Tunnel". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  11. ^ Munro, Steve (23 April 2018). "TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, May 13, 2018". Steve Munro. Retrieved 24 April 2018. Trains leaving service in the evening to Wilson Yard will now do so southbound from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre rather than northbound at Wilson. This avoids conflicts between the yard movements and southbound service.
  12. ^ a b "Procurement_Authorization – Wilson Yard Expansion Project Contract AW85-4" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  13. ^ Spurr, Ben (November 7, 2018). "TTC using 'gap trains' to improve service on busiest subway line". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Natalie Johnson (2019-05-10). "How the Wilson Yard subway shuffle can make or break the morning commute". CTV News. Some of the worst commutes in the TTC's recent history have been rooted in problems at Wilson Yard. On Jan. 30, 2018, trains were delayed nearly an hour getting out of the yard due to a signal failure and the effects cascaded throughout the system. Subway stations overflowed with commuters waiting for trains that did not come. The delay lasted hours. Over the last year, automatic train control has been installed at the Wilson Yard, reducing the number of signal failures and improving reliability.
  15. ^ "Wilson Carhouse". Google Maps. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  16. ^ "Service Summary" (PDF). www3.ttc.ca. 2010. Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  17. ^ Bateman, Chris. "Where to find abandoned TTC buses and subway trains". Blog TO. Retrieved 31 July 2016.