Watch: Work Continues on Toronto’s Union Station Enhancement Project

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor, Railway Age
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Metrolinx announced May 25 that the first of two cranes has been installed in the Union Station rail corridor to support station improvements.

Once complete, Metrolinx says GO Transit customers will enjoy a new concourse that will “seamlessly connect Bay and York Streets, provide wider platforms and more convenient access to and from the concourse levels.” These improvements, the agency adds, will “allow for increased service levels across the network as trains move through the station more efficiently.”

Work to construct the new south passenger concourse is happening in an area only 30 meters wide between Bay and York Street, located in one of the busiest passenger rail corridors in the country.

To support construction and allow for material to be transported within the small site, two large cranes needed to be installed within the Union Station Rail Corridor.

The first crane was trucked to site and installed in mid-April, on the west side of the project site. (See video below.)

According to Metrolinx, a lot of preparatory work was done before the crane could be installed—starting with ensuring a solid foundation.

Crews excavated down 77 meters, then began constructing an engineered crane pad in stages. At the end of each backfilling stage, a soil compaction test was done to ensure the ground below could support the weight of the crane.

A 300-tonne mobile crane was brought to site to begin installing sections of the west crane known as the mast.

After the crane was assembled, load testing was completed, which involves lifting increasingly heavy weights. The crane was then inspected and commissioned—which, Metrolinx says is critical to ensuring safety onsite.

Both cranes, which can reach up to 60 meters and lift 24,000 kilograms, will also have swing limiters, to ensure they only lift within the designated construction area.

According to Metrolinx, in the coming weeks, the second crane will be installed on the east side of the site, and demolition and excavation work, which has been ongoing since last fall, is expected to wrap up.

This work, Metrolinx says, was being done to remove the older GO platforms on the south side of Union Station, and to dig out space for the new south GO concourse. Concrete work on this new passenger area is the next step.

“This is all part of building the Union Station of tomorrow, while respecting the heritage of the past,” Metrolinx said. “It’s [the] heart of the GO network, connecting Toronto to every part of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

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