Ever since Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, announced that the Georgetown South expansion of GO services, plus the link to Pearson Airport, would be allowed to proceed subject to a number of conditions, there has been much spin in the press by both side of the argument.
My position is quite clear in two previous posts: the numbers used by Metrolinx to substantiate their claims about comparative pollution of auto and train travel are seriously flawed to the point that claims made by Metrolinx and the govenment are simply not true.
One additional problem came to light earlier today.
On its website, Metrolinx characterizes the decision as follows:
Trains operated by GO Transit on the Georgetown rail corridor and the Union Pearson Rail Link service must use Tier 4 state of the art engines when the service expansion begins or as soon as the technology is commercially available.
However, the order actually reads:
2. All trains utilized for GO Transit that travel to, from or through Georgetown along the Georgetown South Corridor shall be Tier 4 compliant when service begins or when Tier 4 compliant technology becomes commercially available.
3. All trains utilized for the Union-Pearson Rail Link in the Georgetown South Corridor shall be Tier 4 compliant when service begins or when Tier 4 compliant technology becomes commercially available.
The wording of item 2 above is curious. Only trains that “to, from or through Georgetown” are subject to the order. This omits the following services from the scope of the order:
- Proposed frequent short-turn service to Brampton,
- Trains to Milton which use the corridor south of West Toronto diamond,
- Trains to Barrie which use the corridor south of Dundas Street, and run parallel to it for some distance to the north,
- Trains to Bolton, a proposed new peak period GO line, which uses the corridor to the point where it turns west over the Humber River.
However, Metrolinx has no compunctions about including these trains in its calculations of diverted trips, saved emissions and, of course, the benefits of Tier 4 diesel technology.
Either the order is oddly and badly drafted, or there is a deliberate attempt to limit its scope while giving the impression that all new trains will have the latest in pollution controls. The former would be mere incompetence. The latter casts both Metrolinx and the Government’s position in a much darker light.
The Minister of the Environment owes everyone a clear statement regarding the intent of his order. If it applies to all trains that will operate on the rail corridor beginning roughly at the Strachan Avenue grade crossing and ending at Georgetown, then say so. If not, then explain why the frequent services planned for the heavy Milton (future Cambridge) and Barrie routes will operate with Tier 2 diesels.