Metrolinx to study electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system

…text is from Metrolinx, just moved around for the post – although all the Terms of Reference sound great

Yesterday, Metrolinx announced the launch of a study for the electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system to meet the future transit service demands across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Among the issues the Terms of Reference could address:

Criteria to determine the staging of electrification of GO’s rail lines Performance improvements for riders Power supply and distribution  Union Station capacity Rail corridor ownership Urban planning benefits Vehicle technology options and availability Physical constraints Property impacts Impacts on GO capital and operating costs

“The Big Move recommends future Express Rail service throughout the GTHA, for which electrification is an important element. This study is the critical next step. I am very pleased that we are moving forward on this issue in a comprehensive way”, said Rob MacIsaac, Chair of Metrolinx.

We are also establishing an external advisory committee that will be made up of community representatives, riders and independent technical experts, to advise Metrolinx on the Terms of Reference for the study. We will post the membership of the Advisory Committee in the coming weeks on our website. We are beginning work on the study immediately and expect to complete it by 2010.

We will continue to update you about the progress of the study. We are building an improved transit system for the region with your help.

For full release: Metrolinx to study electrification of GO Transit’s rail system

Their site


Let’s hope this isn’t just a smokescreen and they have real intentions to electrify.

Given the way our deficits are growing if they don’t start now they won’t for a generation.

Dont use this study as an excuse to let Metrolinx off the hook. Any common sense organization would have done this study already and concluded, like the rest of the planet, that electric is the way to go now.

Use electric for expanded rail services: health officials
Diesel fumes called ‘particularly harmful'

Brodie Fenlon
Toronto — From Globe and Mail, Tuesday, Jun. 09, 2009 03:43AM EDT

Trains involved in a major expansion of rail traffic in the city's west end must be electrified to guard against the “particularly harmful” impact of diesel fumes on human health, Toronto's medical officer of health says.

David McKeown, in a report that goes to the city's board of health on Monday, said the province's Toronto-area transportation agency, Metrolinx, should replace the diesel engines in its proposed rail link to Pearson Airport and the expansion of GO Transit service along the Georgetown rail corridor with electric vehicles.

If electric cars cannot be found before the extra trains start running in 2013, the agency should use hybrid locomotives and ultra-low-sulphur diesel, and reduce idling in the meantime to mitigate against the increase in diesel exhaust — a toxic brew of chemicals linked to lung cancer, respiratory illness and other health problems, he said.The report, which also calls for improvements to Metrolinx's air-quality and health-risk assessments, is ammunition to local activists who warned that the expansion will pollute the corridor that cuts through neighbourhoods such as Weston, the Junction and Roncesvalles.

Rail traffic is projected to increase to 250 to 450 diesel trains a day over the next 25 years.

“We would expect that there would be adverse health impacts in the parts of the city that are close to the rail lines,” Dr. McKeown said in an interview.

Metrolinx committed at the end of May to study the electrification of all of GO Transit's train lines and set up an advisory committee. Officials said it would cost millions and take many years, but gave no specifics.

Eli Malinksy of the Clean Train Coalition called Dr. McKeown's report “incredible news” that reinforces his group's assertion that diesel fumes are a health risk, and the Georgetown expansion will most affect residents who live along the tracks.

Jim O'Mara, responsible for environment policy and planning at Metrolinx, said that while the agency is looking for alternatives to traditional diesel, its “worst-case” pollution projections without changing anything in the plan fell within regulatory parameters and would cause minimal health effects. Still, it will propose an air-quality monitoring system for the corridor, he said, adding that he welcomes the report and will work with the city.

The detailed technical assessments on air quality and health impacts will be published in about a week, he said.

Toronto Medical Officer of Health David McKeown has come forward with a HUGE statement of position for immediate electrification in his Letter of Objection to the Ministry of Environment's consultation on the Metrolinx Georgetown South Transit E.A.
Please check it out at . Help spread the word, get your own comments into the ministry of the Environment by the end of August, and go online at to tell Metrolinx their study should be scoped to implement electrification of this corridor by 2014 – GO ELECTRIC NOW!!!

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