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Some news I found about the Airport Link and plans for GO's expansion of the Georgetown corridor. Interesting to note, that while the proposed Blue 22 is ONE option (and the most likely to be built), the Environmental Assessment will study other options for the Union Station-Pearson Airport Link including...

- Express buses along the Gardiner and the 427 to the Airport

- Rapid Transit Serivce along GO's Lakeshore corridor connecting to a new Monorail up the 427 to the Airport

- Turning the rail corridor through Weston into a 23km long Subway line

Here's the news article...

GO insists all air-rail options on table

Route that would cut through Weston only one scenario

CLARK KIM

Oct. 4, 2006

Recent public meetings over the air-rail link connecting Union Station to Pearson Airport seem to have done little to convince local residents that GO Transit is seriously considering alternatives other than a direct route cutting through Weston.

GO Transit, which organized the meetings as part of the comprehensive environmental assessment (EA) it agreed to undertake last year after much public pressure, will now submit to the Ministry of Environment a draft on all the options to be studied.

The document, referred to as the terms of reference, will also specify the evaluation methods and selection criteria that GO Transit plans to use to ultimately select the preferred route for the airport link.

But Mike Sullivan, chair of the Weston Community Coalition, said many residents felt the environmental study won't fairly determine the best route if transit officials don't factor in all the environmental impacts such as noise and pollution of all the options.

"The fix seems to be in, in the way they designed the terms of reference," said Sullivan, noting the main factor being considered seems to be the cost of the project. "What people came away with is that it will be hard for any other route to displace Weston (as an alternative)."

That's because the shortest and most direct route is through the CN Weston rail corridor, Sullivan explained. His request to have the public view the draft terms of reference before they're handed over to the province won't likely be granted.

He argued if the document isn't changed drastically, the environmental assessment will be flawed.

GO Transit had originally studied the expansion of its Georgetown line along the Weston corridor to handle more commuters coming from Peel and Halton regions into the city.

What upset local residents, however, was that the proposed air-rail link using the same rail corridor would result in the community being cut in half. New tracks would be added to accommodate the expected 200 privately owned Blue 22 diesel-run trains travelling back and forth, catering only to the well-off business commuters downtown.

While agreeing there's a perception that cost is the primary determining factor, GO Transit corridor manager Imants Hausmanis said all the alternatives will be evaluated in a fair manner.

Other routes to be considered include providing express bus service between Union station and the airport on the Gardiner Expressway and Hwy. 427 or rapid transit service using the GO Lakeshore line and up Hwy. 427 to the airport (monorail).

"It (cost) is an important criteria," he noted. "But it is by no means the preeminent criteria."

Hausmanis added that environmental impacts will be "stringently looked at" during the actual environmental assessment, which can only take place after the terms of reference are submitted to the minister of environment.

"That will happen at the end of October," he confirmed.

No more meetings are scheduled before then. But the public will be consulted again by the Ministry of the Environment through a mandated process before it determines whether to approve the draft terms of reference, approve the document with certain conditions, or reject it altogether.

Looking further into the future, Hausmanis explained once the environmental assessment is complete, GO Transit will make a recommendation after another four to five rounds of public consultation on what it believes to be the best route. The Ministry of Environment then makes the decision to accept or reject that recommendation.

The best scenario, Sullivan insisted, is to turn the Weston corridor into a subway path, which would serve everyone in Toronto therefore generating revenue.

The 23-kilometre subway line would also cost just as much as the 6-kilometre expansion to York Region since the rail corridor along Weston already exists and no expropriation of land is necessary.

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Some news I found about the Airport Link and plans for GO's expansion of the Georgetown corridor. Interesting to note, that while the proposed Blue 22 is ONE option (and the most likely to be built), the Environmental Assessment will study other options for the Union Station-Pearson Airport Link including...

- Express buses along the Gardiner and the 427 to the Airport

- Rapid Transit Serivce along GO's Lakeshore corridor connecting to a new Monorail up the 427 to the Airport

- Turning the rail corridor through Weston into a 23km long Subway line

Wouldn't the subway line, which I assume would be above ground, also cut the neighbourhood in half just like the Blue-22 link? Or wouls the line contatain tunnelled portions?

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Wouldn't the subway line, which I assume would be above ground, also cut the neighbourhood in half just like the Blue-22 link? Or wouls the line contatain tunnelled portions?

Who knows how they'll afford to tunnel portions of the line! Ahahaha!

And If they turn it into a subway line, that'll be inconveniencing all those Georgetown riders who will have to switch over to a slower mode of transportation (assuming they put in a few more stops on the line) rather then wisking along in their GO train (bad idea alert).

It would be hard to share the line between a subway and GO trains (plus occasional CN) given the current GO operations and the fact that there are some single-track portions of the line. This is assuming they'll want to operate frequent service.

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  • 1 year later...

Since only the Sun has published this article, I cannot really confirm that construction will occur but still. Prepare for a battle with Weston residents! And I am with them. If Metrolinx considers a luxury express line with no intermediate stops, then we have a problem.

WESTON BRACES FOR RAIL-LINK ROW

News that construction of a controversial high-speed rail link from Union station to the airport could start next year has startled some city councillors and community members.

Blue 22, the contentious air-rail transit line first proposed in 2003, resurfaced when a senior provincial government source told the Sunday Sun that discussions between the province and SNC-Lavalin, the company that will build the line, are underway.

"This is very disappointing," said Frances Nunziata, Ward 11 councillor of York South-Weston. "The line goes right through Weston -- we have homes, schools and churches just a few feet away from the tracks."

Nunziata said the Weston community has already collected thousands of signatures opposing the line and was surprised to hear construction could start in early 2009.

"I know they were going to run through an environmental assessment, but that was the last I heard of it," she added.

As the name suggests, the line would provide a 22-minute ride from Union Station to Pearson Airport at $20 a pop.

However, community members complain the proposed route threatens to shut down main streets in Weston, partitioning the community in half.

Community members from the Weston Community Coalition said they would rather see an underground, publicly run rail line.

"There is no doubt that Toronto needs a link between Union Station and the airport, but it should not be a privately run line.

"They should have an express and non-express route so the public can take advantage of this line. What is the point of having this if there are no stops to pick anyone up?" asks Al Pietersma, a member of the Weston Community Coalition.

50-YEAR CONTROL

The retired University of Toronto professor also noted that SNC-Lavalin would have control over the line for at least 50 years, and worries any future development for public transportation would be in jeopardy. A subway extension from Eglinton West station to the airport was in the works, but Ontario's former Tory government killed it in the mid-90s. .

Blue 22 is part of the McGuinty government's MoveOntario 2020 plan to improve transit services in the province.

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Since only the Sun has published this article, I cannot really confirm that construction will occur but still. Prepare for a battle with Weston residents! And I am with them. If Metrolinx considers a luxury express line with no intermediate stops, then we have a problem.

I agree. This line should be built as the first example of Metrolinx's Regional Express concept, in which there would be other stops on the line, frequent service all day, and a fare structure aimed at wide usage.

Hopefully it will be included in the draft RTP in just over two weeks.

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Reminds me of the Narita Airport Bullet Train project that got scrapped in the late 80's... :angry:

I would love to have an express rail service to the airport. However, if they're going to be built right in a middle of a historic neighbourhood like Weston, heck yeah they would want a station built there.

Question is the line going to be electrified?

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I think they are using refurbished Rail Diesel Cars?

It's supposed to be privately run, so I would not expect transit friendly fares. Like Mr. H said, this should be a showcase line. I have a feeling it will be a showcase for how Metrolinx should NOT build a regional express line.

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For what it's worth, I just checked, and Metrolinx's test cases explicitly list this as a Regional Express line. The real test is in two weeks, true, but I think the test cases are telling.

I suspect that Metrolinx and GO Transit have both been pressuring the province to not make this a one-off private line, but to integrate into the network that will be built. There's no problem with SNC Lavelin building and operating it (GO trains have been privately operated from the beginning) but they need to be a part of the GO network.

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David has a very good point about an opportunity for a showcase line. There has been some confusion about what Metrolinx means when they talk about regional express or REX, and this corridor is the perfect opportunity to build a REX line to showcase the technology and service improvements being proposed.

One of the best examples of how an airport service should be run can be found at Heathrow. To get into central london, you can take Heathrow Express for a $30 CDN fare or, Heathrow Connect for around $12 CDN and have it take 10 minutes longer due to the stops it makes along the way. In addition, you can take the tube, buses and national rail trains for the regular travelcard fare ($8 - $10 CDN depending on route). It's this sort of comprehensive solution that I would like to see.

Under a REX environment, you could have trains leaving Union Station every 10 minutes and making all stops to Etobicoke North. From there, one branch would leave the main line to provide 20 minute frequencies to the airport, while the other branch would provide 20 minute frequencies to Brampton & Georgetown. With additional stops in Parkdale and Mount Dennis, the airport could be reached in 30 minutes for GO fare. Commuter & intercity trains would also use the corridor to reach Guelph, Kitchener and London and would provide extra capacity during the peak hours. Premium fare express trains could also run, but the focus would be on local travel. As was said earlier, SNC-Lavalin could participate as a contract operator.

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One of the best examples of how an airport service should be run can be found at Heathrow. To get into central london, you can take Heathrow Express for a $30 CDN fare or, Heathrow Connect for around $12 CDN and have it take 10 minutes longer due to the stops it makes along the way. In addition, you can take the tube, buses and national rail trains for the regular travelcard fare ($8 - $10 CDN depending on route). It's this sort of comprehensive solution that I would like to see.

Agreed. Going back to the test cases, the Eglinton subway would connect to the airport, as also would the 401 corridor REX line to Mississauga and Oakville to the west, and Oshawa to the east passing through North York (Yonge and Spadina subway connections) and Scarborough. The 407 corridor REX line would also connect bringing in folks from York Region.

Of course, these are just case cases and not proposals at the moment. But they show clearly show what building a network does for us. Every major population area would have a relatively short trip to a REX line capable of getting them to the airport with frequent service - either directly or with a connection.

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I agree. This line should be built as the first example of Metrolinx's Regional Express concept, in which there would be other stops on the line, frequent service all day, and a fare structure aimed at wide usage.

Hopefully it will be included in the draft RTP in just over two weeks.

I disagree completely.

The technology on the corridor could be whatever Metrolinx envisions the Regional Express, but the line should not travel into the airport - the people mover should be run out to the rail corridor, and trains from both GO/Metrolinx and VIA would then be able to service the airport.

Dan

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The technology on the corridor could be whatever Metrolinx envisions the Regional Express, but the line should not travel into the airport - the people mover should be run out to the rail corridor, and trains from both GO/Metrolinx and VIA would then be able to service the airport.

I was focusing on the main corridor from downtown, not on the relatively small spur into the airport.

However, the larger picture is even more complicated given the larger possible Metrolinx vision (ie. web test case) of Eglinton subway and other 401/407 REX lines connecting to the airport. Also, they show a BRT or LRT running up the 427 from Kipling subway.

I do recall reading some comments in Metrolinx minutes to the effect of the GTAA being interested in establishing a transit hub on their property. If so, the plan may well be to bring the lines in. The test case map clearly shows the Eglinton subway and 407 REX terminating on the property, while the 401 REX line has a spur onto the property. It doesn't show how the downtown corridor situation is handled, but it seems reasonable to assume that it would share the southern part of the 407 REX corridor. Of course, this map is clearly marked conceptual so we can't read specific routings from it. It may even be overanalyzing to say that it shows the lines running onto the property.

Alternatively, and I think overall I tend to agree with this approach: keep the various lines off the property and build a new people mover to replace the current non-extensible implementation, with north and south transit terminals serving the various lines. The big benefit is that all trains can run through without impacting passengers not going to the airport at all.

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I disagree completely.

The technology on the corridor could be whatever Metrolinx envisions the Regional Express, but the line should not travel into the airport - the people mover should be run out to the rail corridor, and trains from both GO/Metrolinx and VIA would then be able to service the airport.

Dan

That would be ideal. Turn Pearson into a true multi-modal hub, similar to Frankfurt airport.

However, the current people mover would have to be replaced. The current system, in my opinion is just not adequate to run to the rail corridor. Hell, why not just build the rail spur to the airport, and VIA can run trains there?

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That would be ideal. Turn Pearson into a true multi-modal hub, similar to Frankfurt airport.

However, the current people mover would have to be replaced. The current system, in my opinion is just not adequate to run to the rail corridor. Hell, why not just build the rail spur to the airport, and VIA can run trains there?

The airport does not want locomotives close to their property. Which is why they would only allow RDC's。

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I hope this is coupled with improved service on the Georgetown GO line. It doesn't make sense to upgrade the route to serve just the airport express.

The EA process is to cover both general Georgetown GO improvements (all day two way service) plus the airport service. I have to wonder if given the delay in approving the terms of reference, plus the Sun story's reference to negotiations between the province and SNC-Lavalin, if they are working towards combining the two into a REX implementation.

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That would be ideal. Turn Pearson into a true multi-modal hub, similar to Frankfurt airport.

I hope that this will happen, just like in Frankfurt and Munich.

The airport does not want locomotives close to their property. Which is why they would only allow RDC's。

And there goes my fantasy of high speed trains stopping underneath Pearson Airport :P.

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Hell, why not just build the rail spur to the airport, and VIA can run trains there?

Because it would then be a lot more difficult to run the trains through the airport - all trains would have to make a long and time-consuming back-up maneuver to get back to the mainline.

GO did a study on this a while back, and they found that running the people mover out to the rail corridor was considerably cheaper - the main reasoning was that because the people mover is a smaller vehicle, it can turn more sharply and therefore use less land to get from the airport to the corridor than the full-sized trains would.

Dan

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Has anyone seen any planning documents from GTAA on how they want to handle transit improvements? I seem to recall them wanting to set up a transit hub, but I'd like to find more details. I may go digging through their PDF library when I have some time to see what I can find.

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Has anyone seen any planning documents from GTAA on how they want to handle transit improvements? I seem to recall them wanting to set up a transit hub, but I'd like to find more details. I may go digging through their PDF library when I have some time to see what I can find.

I know in their last airport master plan there was an option to place a transit hub just off of Renforth/Eglinton with the APM extended there. Unfortunately that's now off the table in the new master plan which says because of the technology of the LINK train, it can only be extended as far as a new station at Terminal 1 where it is being expanded over where terminal 2 used to be. Although the Mississauga Transitway is still supposed to have a "gateway" feature at Renforth/Eglinton

However, the airport master plan also suggests that the Airport-Union Link could have intermediate stations at Woodbine Racetrack, Bloor GO Station/Dundas West Subway Station.

Anyways, here's the PDF of the Airport Master Plan dealing with transportation, it's one part of a multi-part document on the GTAA site...

http://gtaa.com/local/files/en/Corporate/P...d%20Parking.pdf

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I know in their last airport master plan there was an option to place a transit hub just off of Renforth/Eglinton with the APM extended there. Unfortunately that's now off the table in the new master plan which says because of the technology of the LINK train, it can only be extended as far as a new station at Terminal 1 where it is being expanded over where terminal 2 used to be. Although the Mississauga Transitway is still supposed to have a "gateway" feature at Renforth/Eglinton

Thanks for the link; that is the document I had read earlier. It's fairly detailed but it predates the Metrolinx process and so really focuses on accommodating the lines that have been proposed rather than making specific requests. I suppose that is a very reasonable approach, but it doesn't really give us any guidance as to how the GTAA would prefer to handle connectivity to the kinds of lines that we've talked about in this post - or even whether there is a specific preference for the approach taken to the Weston corridor.

One interesting bit is that the APM was designed to be convertable to self-propelled if needed. This probably means that a further extension of the APM could be implemented provided it were shut down and converted to a self-propelled approach as part of an extension. Problem is, that would likely leave the airport without an APM for a couple of years.

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The City of Mississauga and Mississauga Transit proposed a local transit terminal some years back on Airport Road, near where Viscount Station is now, however AFAIK the GTAA turned it down. I hope that is not a sign of things to come...

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One interesting bit is that the APM was designed to be convertable to self-propelled if needed. This probably means that a further extension of the APM could be implemented provided it were shut down and converted to a self-propelled approach as part of an extension. Problem is, that would likely leave the airport without an APM for a couple of years.

From riding the airport's system once, the two tracks and trains seem pretty much independent from each other. I wonder if one track/vehicle combo could be converted while the other provides service, and then once the first set is converted the other can be shut down and converted.

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Thanks for the link; that is the document I had read earlier. It's fairly detailed but it predates the Metrolinx process and so really focuses on accommodating the lines that have been proposed rather than making specific requests. I suppose that is a very reasonable approach, but it doesn't really give us any guidance as to how the GTAA would prefer to handle connectivity to the kinds of lines that we've talked about in this post - or even whether there is a specific preference for the approach taken to the Weston corridor.

One interesting bit is that the APM was designed to be convertable to self-propelled if needed. This probably means that a further extension of the APM could be implemented provided it were shut down and converted to a self-propelled approach as part of an extension. Problem is, that would likely leave the airport without an APM for a couple of years.

Given that there are now only two terminals to service (well 3 if you count the Infield Terminal), couldn't they go back to running the shuttle buses while they upgraded the LINK APM? The biggest thing they'd need to change with the existing infrastructure would be to add switching tracks at the Terminal 1 stop and the appropriate signals along the way.

As for extending the line, I've mentioned t before, for the same amount of track it'd make much more sense to run the extension up to Malton and then upgrade the station rather than build a station from scratch at Woodbine. Unless the station there is tied into the land development around the Racetrack why bother putting a station in a hard-access (without some significant infrastructure changes) location? Malton is close enough to Brampton, YRT and the TTC that it could easily become the regional hub for the area. I'm sure the International Centre would appreciate all the extra traffic. The extra minute or so that it would take to travel from Woodbine to Malton would probably be countered by the reduced speed the APM would have to take while maneuvering from Woodbine, past the 427/409 interchange and the into the Viscount lot. The Malton station option would just be a straight run down Airport Rd.

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