Glenn Kapasky: Tunnel Visions

Text by James Bow

When the SHEPPARD SUBWAY opened, one of the things transit enthusiasts noticed was how bright and clean the tunnels were. The line hadn’t had the time to get caked with almost fifty years of brake dust and other grime. A few weeks after the line’s opening, Glenn Kapasky peered into the tunnels from the station platforms, with a camera, and recorded this unusual state of affairs.

The Sheppard subway is also unusual for being the only line on the system that was primarily built using a tunnel bore. Most of the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth subways were constructed using the cut-and-cover technique. These tunnels are rectangular in profile, having been cut out of the ground and filled in. Like portions of the University line, much of the Sheppard subway never saw daylight. The tunnel bores chewed through the dirt and rock and left behind twin circular profiles. Sheppard’s tunnels appear to be larger than those seen elsewhere on the system. Much of the track is paralleled by a platform, making it possible to walk between stations in relative safety.

I don’t think I need to remind readers that Toronto’s subway tunnels are dangerous places and the TTC is more than happy to lay trespassing charges on any unauthorized personnel caught inside. Glenn took these pictures from the Sheppard subway platforms using a telephoto lens.


Glenn Kapasky's Tunnel Visions Image Archive