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Deep freeze taking toll on GTA transit

Last Updated Jan 31, 2019 at 6:12 pm EDT

Toronto and the GTA remains under an extreme cold warning, as the bitterly cold temperatures continue to grip the region.

Thursday was the coldest morning of the winter season. At 2 a.m. the temperature at Pearson airport hit -22.6 C with a windchill of -38.

The frigid temperatures also affected transit across the GTA, with frozen switches, doors and signals being the most common on-and-off issues.

The TTC has been plagued with weather-related issues over the past couple of days, including shutdowns of Line 3. The line was once again shut down on Thursday morning due to the weather. Shuttle buses are running.

It was also a rough commute for riders on GO Transit due to the weather and signal issues.

Trains on the Richmond Hill line were delayed up to 40 minutes due to a frozen switch north of Gormley Station.

A weather-related track switch problem west of Oshawa Station also caused delays and cancellations on the Lakeshore East Line. One of the westbound trains was stopped at Rouge Hill Station due to mechanical problems.

Meanwhile, on the Kitchener Line, one of its trains was delayed for more than an hour at Bramalea Station due to a signal problem and passenger assist alarm.

Service on the UP Express was cancelled just before 8 a.m. but resumed at 12:30 p.m. with trains running every 30 minutes, instead of every 15 minutes. On Wednesday evening, service was also suspended because of weather-related equipment issues.

Metrolinx said it ran limited service on the Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines throughout the day while it regrouped for the evening rush hour.

“What we need to do today is bring some of those trains into the shop for an extended period of time and let them properly thaw out,” Metrolinx spokesperson Matt Llewellyn said.

The agency also said it doesn’t offer a service guarantee when the weather is this cold.

Environment Canada issued the extreme cold warning on Monday, the day after a massive snowstorm blanketed the GTA.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said the windchill is expected to be between -30 to -38 through to very early Friday morning.

Taylor said the high on Thursday will be -14 C but the wind will make it feel like -26 C this afternoon. It will continue to be cold overnight as the windchill drops to -30.

Milder temperatures are expected later in the day on Friday and into the weekend.