Efforts to better manage congestion across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and increase GO rail service will advance with the opening of a new station in December and the upgrade and expansion of the Don Yard.
The CA$17.1 million (US$12.7 million) Don Yard improvement project will provide additional train storage and train servicing capabilities close to Union Station. Ontario officials say this will allow Metrolinx to better meet future growth and demand for GO and UP Express service, while reducing fuel consumption and costs.
The project includes modifying existing tracks and creating three new storage tracks, 300 meters of new concrete retaining walls, a substation upgrade and compressed air systems that will reduce train noise and allow trains to shut down during layover periods.
The Don Yard project supports Ontario’s GO Regional Express Rail (RER) plan, which aims to bring faster, more frequent and more convenient transit service to communities across the GTHA by 2025. In three years, the new tracks will become mainline tracks as part of the RER expansion and they are designed to meet mainline standards.
“These track and rail improvements are part of one of the largest and most complex rail upgrades in the world. GO Transit is transforming to bring residents of the GTHA a faster and more efficient way to travel. The upgrade will help us reduce deadhead trips, fuel consumption and costs, crew hours and congestion within the Union Station Rail Corridor at peak travel times,” said Bruce McCuaig, president and CEO, Metrolinx.
In other GO news, the York Region will have a new stop on the Richmond Hill line when the Gormley GO Station opens on Dec. 5. The CA$22-million (US$16.4-million) project is fully accessible and will host five morning and five afternoon GO train trips. GO buses will also serve the new station and a layover train storage facility was built and opened in Richmond Hill to support the new Gormley GO Station.
Design work for the station preserved the natural environment surrounding the station including a creek, a forested area and a small meadow. Additionally, the station has been built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Green building features include rainwater harvesting technology and innovative roofing that is made from 95-percent recycled materials.
Since 2013, Ontario and Metrolinx have built three new GO stations, renovated 10 existing GO stations and added a total of 7,000 new GO station parking spots. They have also purchased 220 new GO buses, 69 new GO train coaches and 10 new GO train locomotives.