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TTC to install gate at Queens Quay streetcar tunnel after another car drives in, gets stuck

TTC crews and Toronto police were called to the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel Saturday morning after a car got stuck in the tunnel.
TTC crews and Toronto police were called to the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel Saturday morning after a car got stuck in the tunnel. Nick Westoll / Global News

After Toronto police say an impaired driver drove down into the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel, the TTC will be installing a gate near the tunnel’s entrance, the transit agency told Global News.

Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said officers were called to the tunnel, located in the middle of Queens Quay West near Bay Street, at around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday. When police arrived, she said they found the male driver behind the wheel.

“The engine was running. [The driver] was in the driver’s seat. He had to be brought out … his foot was on the gas and the rear wheels were still spinning,” Douglas-Cook said.
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“[The vehicle] was into the tunnel approximately 300 metres before it got stuck on the tracks.”

She said the man was arrested and charged with impaired driving.

This is the second incident in a week which saw a vehicle enter the streetcar-only tunnel.

READ MORE: Vehicle drives into Toronto’s Queens Quay streetcar tunnel … again

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross told Global News there have been approximately more than two dozen instances in which transit staff were notified of vehicles making it into the tunnel. TTC staff have installed signs and lights in an effort to prevent vehicles from entering the streetcar right-of-way.

After the incident on Sunday, Ross said staff began looking at gate designs. He said the gate, which could be similar to ones used in parking garages, would potentially be triggered by a transponder on the streetcar.

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Ross said these types of incidents have a major impact on the TTC’s operations.

READ MORE: Vehicle lodged in Toronto’s Queens Quay streetcar tunnel, again

“We’re talking the 509 and 510, two very busy streetcar routes … we cannot use Union Station. It’s a very significant inconvenience for our customers,” he said, adding the transit agency has to pull buses from other surface routes to operate a shuttle service for customers.

“For us, we have to bring a special crew in to do this work and we need to make sure the track hasn’t been damaged.”

Ross didn’t have a timeframe on when the gate would be operational, noting staff need to continue with the design work, installation and testing.