GO Transit to Take Over UP Express

According to Oliver Moore in The Globe, the separate Metrolinx division responsible for the Union Pearson Express will be placed under GO Transit’s control. The fate of UPX President Kathy Haley is unclear.

UPX even managed to win awards from the Global AirRail Alliance for:

2015 Travelport Project of the Year – UP Express

2015 AccesRail Integrated Partnership of the Year – UP Express

2015 Personality of the Year – Kathy Haley, UP Express

2014 Air Rail Concept of the Year – UP Express: Strategic Partnerships, Toronto, Canada

2014 Travelport Project of the Year – UP Express: The Airport Connection

2013 Travelport Project of the Year – Union Pearson Express Project

One wonders who they were competing against, but the Alliance’s site does not list nominees, only winners. It is am impressive “project” that can rake in the hardware before ever carrying a passenger or proving its viability as a business. Such is the back-scratching nature of the industry, I must assume.

While it may be convenient to target Haley as the culprit here, the real question is how the structure and corporate attitude that led to UPX’ creation arose in the first place. From the beginning, this has been a project for which the word pretentious is almost inadequate. Despite the abandonment of this scheme by its original private sector proponent – for the simple reason that it was judged financially unsound – Ontario forged on with this as a signature project, part of the Bid Book for the Pan Am Games. We would show the world what Ontario could do.

Haley may take the fall for this fiasco, but she worked for a board who lapped up the praise, who bought into the flawed vision of what UPX would become. That board, and the government who set all of this in motion to begin with, owe us all an explanation.

32 thoughts on “GO Transit to Take Over UP Express

  1. The truncated EA processes may also have some blame. The same ‘any type of subway as long as it’s a subway’ mindset is seen in other more current juggernauts. And typical of EAs at least in Canada, no question about the end use ie. air travel is a HORRENDOUS and glossed over contributor to climate change, and it’s time to start counting it in to our profiles.

    The fix was in, and it’s a sad waste of a corridor, and how to reclaim it for a better/sound use? And then, who pays?

    Aah, Moronto, Morontario…

    (or is that Morontowe, Owintario?)


  2. We just saw the Board in action when it “approved” the new fares for UPX after the Minister announced the new fares. Does that hurt the government’s attempt to scapegoat Kathy Haley now that we know pricing decisions are made in the Minister’s office and not at Metrolinx? Simply put, how do we know that the old prices weren’t decided by the Minister, not Ms. Haley?


  3. Hi Steve! Long time no see.

    Of course it was. When Eglinton West is built, ridership will drop to zero.


  4. Years ago, the Ontario Government decided that they would re-invent the wheel. They created UTDC and the world awoke one day to find that their city transit problems were solved. Probably using two hands one could count the systems that were sold a bill off goods on the ICTS system. Toronto can’t get rid of it because we are awaiting another invention, Detroit probably hasn’t got the money to tear the thing down and Vancouver, I bet, doesn’t know how to save face and convert it to a conventionally run transit system that doesn’t cost an arm & leg to build, run and maintain.

    Now we have UPX and Metrolinx–Same Government, just a different management!

    Really, should we expect any better–our provincial and municipal politicians are truly transit experts.

    Steve: And you may remember all the wonderful stories about what the ICTS system would do and how it would transform Toronto.


  5. Harold writes:

    Years ago, the Ontario Government decided that they would re-invent the wheel…Now we have UPX and Metrolinx–Same Government, just a different management!

    The paper’s columns on this matter, and many others, are full of posters like Harold who are only there to swing a political axe, but like many, Harold chops off his own foot for trying.

    Steve: Be careful with that metaphor as you may chop off your own leg in your smugness.

    It was the Conservatives who promoted linear propulsion, a rejected Kraus-Maffei technology, since it was attractive, not repulsive in magnetic and therefore tractive effort.

    Steve: You are confusing two separate parts of the KM system. Part was the suspension system which, using maglev, was attractive (under running support magnets pulling upward to a support beam) rather than repulsive (using an induced field to push the car away from the support beam). Part was propulsion, in this case a linear motor to provide a no contact, no moving parts, frictionless system. Attractive suspension has problems with energy requirements and with lateral stability, and it was abandoned. The motor has its own technical problems with gap spacing which are particularly severe when the rail ices up in bad weather. Magnetic levitation works best for high speed operation, not in an urban transit environment.

    Here, let me quote a referenced source, I can’t be bothered wasting time with cheap political opportunists:

    Ontario premier Bill Davis was looking for something far more marketable and high-tech. Back on November 22, 1972, the provincial government announced the development of its own Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) concept. On May 1, 1973, it awarded a contract to Krauss Maffei A.G. of West Germany to design and build a demonstration system of magnetically levitated trains around the Canadian National Exhibition by 1975. Streetcars were the past, they argued; maglev technology was clearly the future. The GO URBAN project went as far as building columns to support an elevated track, and there were plans for a connection to Union Station by 1977. However, the West German government withdrew its support and Krauss-Maffei could not continue with the proposal. The beginnings of the 2.5 mile demonstrator line were scrapped.

    Steve: I am greatly amused by your quoting the Transit Toronto site in your swipe at Harold. Its proprietor is an LRT advocate. The Davis government fell into a trap, repeated many times by Queen’s Park, of treating “transit” as an industrial development scheme to promote “Ontario technology” rather than as an economic development plan to improve urban transportation. Building streetcars was something many others were doing, and therefore not an opportunity for creating a new market. The problem is that the industry was not interested in a technically more complex mode that required more expensive and intrusive infrastructure. As the development of ICTS went on, the government went to great lengths to suppress criticism or any technical details that could undermine their credibility.

    Lots more on-line Harold. Including which “government” Bill Davis was a member of. In all fairness to Davis, he was a very good man, and a very effective leader. Ontario was a world leader in many areas at that time, and invested wisely much of the time in transit.

    Steve: Actually, although Davis killed the Spadina Expressway, his contribution to transit was poisoned by embrace of new technology. Toronto has suffered for decades because it did not embrace LRT when the suburbs were still in early years of development and could have grown around a network of major LRT routes.

    And a missive to all: Either we find creative solutions to the present mess, or we’re doomed to repeat it. Yes SRT was a disaster. No, the technology isn’t completely wrong. Most of the problems are in the stator/rotor geometry of the linear propulsive system. Being attractive, like any magnets, tend to slam together if gap isn’t maintained. Repulsive technology, the type being used today in Mag-Lev, is self stabilizing. But alas, all a bit technical for those looking for cheap points.

    Steve: Harold is not looking for “cheap points” and you damage your own credibility by misrepresenting his argument.

    By and large, GO is a success almost any city would be proud of, especially North American ones. UPX was a disaster by any measure, but it means we have to pick up the pieces and get it right.

    GO has the highest fare-box return of any transit system in North Am, and the TTC, for all its faults, comes second. Either we appreciate the good and repair the bad to keep this moving forward, or we lose the advantage we have over many other cities and provinces. Cities like Edmonton and Calgary come in far below the fare-box return that GO and TTC do.

    Steve: Farebox return does not necessarily indicate “success” but rather the prevailing local political level of support for subsidies. Many transit operations internationally are considered vital and successful parts of their cities, but they do not get as high a return as the TTC or GO.

    The TTC and GO trade off fares, subsidies and quality of service. GO has looked good because for years its growth was confined to corridors and time periods where there was built-in success. Now that the priority has shifted to reducing road travel, service will grow in less “profitable” ways. This is happening already, and will continue with the growth of frequent, all-day service. Basically we are buying road capacity by shifting travel to trains. If the economic analysis only looks at one side of the ledger (the trains), it misses context, a common problem when transit comes up for criticism from “tax fighters”. Things get even worse when the Mayor and Council simultaneous demand a cap on fare increases and refuse to bump operating subsidies.


  6. Kathy Haley isn’t really at the core of the problem. Her responsibility was to make the UP Express a good “experience”. I think that’s the one area where UPX has been a success. The stations, train cabins and customer service are all pretty well done, given the Metrolinx-provided parameters of creating a “Heathrow Express”-style train service. I don’t see how bringing in someone different to run UPX could’ve made a dramatic difference in terms of the overall project budget or fare structure.

    Steve: I agree that UPX was doomed, whoever ran it, because of the political context which forced its creation and demanded minimal ongoing cost. The responsibility for this mess goes deeper and higher than one person.


  7. Apologies, I’m a little inebriated, and tired of arguing with people wishing to rant against everything progressive because of the fault of a few.

    Steve: That comment tells me a lot about your long, rambling, self-important posts.

    Here’s the link I meant to post for “Farebox *Recovery*” (I posted “return” as used in the UK).

    Btw: Now that I reread it, the source that I copied and pasted as reference is faulty, but the gist stands.

    Here’s a very well researched reference that is also technically detailed:

    In November 1974 Krauss-Maffei announced that it was forced to withdraw from the project. The West German government had been funding development of several maglev systems based on different technologies, and decided at that time that Krauss-Maffei’s system was less interesting than ones from Thyssen-Henschel and Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm. There were also technical problems; in testing, the complex systems needed to switch trains on the magnetic tracks froze up, and would require a re-design. With Krauss-Maffei’s financial support gone, and daunting technical problems remaining to be solved, the maglev project died. A test track being constructed on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition was abandoned in place, with the foundations and a few support pillars already constructed. Krauss-Maffei continued development of the original inter-city Transrapid, but at a very slow pace and through a series of mergers with other companies involved in maglev technology. The first Transrapid system did not enter service until 30 years later.

    I don’t know if either reference quoted goes into the ‘shady side’ of the story, but Davis was an associate of one of the directors of Krauss-Maffei.

    In the event, for all his faults, Davis served this province well, and Toronto led the continent in many years of being voted the best and safest transit system. Let’s not forget that, those days can be relived again.

    Steve: Toronto was the “best and safest” transit system because of the system itself and the people who built it, and the thriving city in which it exists, not because of Bill Davis.


  8. Loved the concept of UP Express … very appreciative it tied Union to the Airport … very disappointed with the delivery, package, and promotion … more concerned now with the fallout of changing prices and the direction that now follows with changing leadership and direction … there needs to be more cohesive planning.


  9. Digging through old paper, I came across a Feb. 21, 2014 Star piece that had Ed Levy talk of a DRL and seems like he was thinking of this Weston corridor being part of it all. So – with this change can we think that maybe this year we’ll see some re-adjustments – somehow – of part of the UPX service to being a Dundas St. W. to Union rush hour service? How complex is it to re-use what’s been done (especially including the Dundas St. W. platforms) to enable this? Of course this would cost some money, sigh, but isn’t there a bit of a transit crisis, and wouldn’t it be nice to have some clawback of political and some staff salaries to enable this resolution?

    Meanwhile, with this Weston corridor, I’m worried about the interplay between the existing bike RailTrail (and its proposed extension), and all the pressures for heavy rail expansion like the RER and the more recent scheme, the Smart Track. Is there enough spare capacity on this corridor for all the transit and proposed transit and the Rail Trail? Or will the Extension be installed south of Queen only to have it all ripped out? (and what’s a few million when we have both campaign promises and transit to fulfill?) We need better biking in the core, (and sooo many are happy to shunt bikes to off-road vs. where we need to go – on-road/urban, with decades of pattern showing main road harms), but we also need improved transit.


  10. @Hamish Wilson

    Unfortunately with the antiquated rules governing the operation of heavy commuter rail trying to re-purpose it for heavy subway operation would be extremely difficult. The corridor to the airport should have been built as HRT, not commuter rail, from the start. This would have required total isolation of it from the GO, VIA and odd freight that travels along the line. This would have required over/underpasses for all crossings between the two services and possibly a concrete barrier between them to keep a derailed train from crossing into the right of way of the other service. Then there is the problem of different gauges if it were to be integrated with TTC subway service. A section of this RofW should have been reserved for HRT years ago, but alas, it wasn’t.

    The rail trail is going to get squeezed as it crosses Bloor street because there is another track to go in on the east side of the station. There seems to be a dichotomy between what the City wants for new bike rails and what Metrolinx is willing to give up in its rail corridor. It looks as though they are going to put in 8 tracks south of Dundas down to the USRC. Two of these dedicated to true HRT could carry as much as the entire corridor as commuter rail without huge infra structure changes at Union Station. Perhaps you can lobby for a gondola service to get bikes from Bloor Dundas to the CN tower. After all they seem to be the latest answer for everything and are much more friendly to bikes than giant ferris wheels.


  11. Well Steve, the the topic was ICTS, and if I’m partly responsible for veering off of it, you carry it even further.

    Here’s what Harold wrote:

    Probably using two hands one could count the systems that were sold a bill off goods on the ICTS system. Toronto can’t get rid of it because we are awaiting another invention, Detroit probably hasn’t got the money to tear the thing down and Vancouver, I bet, doesn’t know how to save face and convert it to a conventionally run transit system that doesn’t cost an arm & leg to build, run and maintain.

    So let’s get back to that aspect, because the claim is far from correct, smugness or not, and my comments on repulsive v. attractive propulsion weren’t on levitation, (although it pertains) they were on linear propulsion:

    Steve: Your original comments were with respect to the Maglev system that eventually became ICTS (shorn of its “levitation”). You mixed remarks about low and high speed trains, and this gets directly to the matter of repulsive levitation. As for the LIMs, the idea of “attractive” and “repulsive” does not make sense in that context. The coil on the train induces a magnetic field in the reaction rail, and because the field on the train is moving, the train pulls itself along the track. In this context, “push” and “pull” is only a question of point of view, and the mechanics are the same. You are squabbling over a made-up distinction I was not addressing.

    In the city of Guangzhou, China, the world’s largest linear motor train system has over 100km of track. Already, three train lines in the city are using the technology and are responsible for carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers each day.

    These are some of the newest subway lines that have been built in the city. One of them, line 6, opened just 2 years ago and is now the busiest line in the whole city.

    The 3 Guangzhou metro lines use cars that were jointly manufactured by ITOCHU and CSR-Sifang. Meanwhile, in some of Japan’s biggest cities, Kawasaki Heavy Industries has manufactured LIM transit cars for systems serving hundreds of thousands of passengers a day in Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo.

    Kawasaki isn’t the only Japanese manufacturer of LIM cars. The upcoming system in Sendai is being supplied by Kinki Sharyo, and the Fukuoka system was supplied by Hitachi.

    The Oedo subway line in Tokyo, one of the busiest lines in the city, is using several different manufacturers’ offerings: the first generation cars were manufactured by Nippon Sharyo and Hitachi, while new-generation cars delivered just this year were made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Tokyo’s example is proving that more than one manufacturer can be the supplier of linear motor trains.

    These companies aren’t unaware of each others’ presence and do work with (and compete with) each other. They have even collaborated on certain occasions (as an example, Bombardier supplied bogies for some of Guangzhou’s metro cars – while Mitsubishi supplied the actual linear motors).

    Steve: So what? The debate is not about the viability of LIMs, but that ICTS with its requirement for complete grade separation was sold as the only available intermediate mode between buses and subways as if LRT simply did not exist. This was outright deception by the Ontario government and the proponents of their technology who did not want to admit that an alternative was possible for many of their proposed implementations, including what became the SRT.

    These cities chose SkyTrain technology for various reasons, one of the most popular reasons being the reduction in tunnel sizes and – as a result – the reduction in capital costs for building the system. In Japan, SkyTrain technology systems are directly promoted as a way of saving money.]

    Steve: That statement still presumes that one is comparing completely grade-separated implementations where a tunnel is an unavoidable feature. That’s not what the situation is with many LRT lines, and the strength of the technology is that it does not require a tunnel for many implementations.

    Do you dispute those claims Steve? If not, then mine weren’t smug. Testy, perhaps.

    Steve: Claims? You are making claims that have nothing to do with the argument I am advancing. Maybe if you stopped being so damned arrogant and dismissive of others’ opinions, you might be on a sounder footing.

    Linear induction is very alive and well. Bombardier, of course, inherited the original Ontario developments through various and many changes of ownership.

    Btw: When I mentioned “stator and rotor”…I *smugly* presumed the reader would realize it referred to propulsion, not levitation.

    Steve: I know what a stator and rotor are.

    No further comments from you will be posted.


  12. Steve writes:

    Farebox return does not necessarily indicate “success” but rather the prevailing local political level of support for subsidies. Many transit operations internationally are considered vital and successful parts of their cities, but they do not get as high a return as the TTC or GO.

    Absolutely agreed, but I was addressing the all too familiar rant of late against ‘government involvement’, at a time where even right of center governments, even in the US, consider it money well spent.

    Unfortunately, ‘fare-box return’ has become a way to counter claims that it is ‘money wasted’.

    Some of the best systems in the world return only half what GO does, and are considered to be a great success because of the money they *save*, not what it costs. I note from the tables that Vienna, considered by many indices “the most livable city in the world” (albeit very subjective) has a ratio of 50%. Their system is superb. And so are the results.

    Hamish writes:

    Dundas St. W. to Union rush hour service? How complex is it to re-use what’s been done (especially including the Dundas St. W. platforms) to enable this? Of course this would cost some money.

    No matter how the corridor is re-purposed, it’s going to take investment to increase utility. My first thought for doing what you propose was ‘Bloor-Danforth is already overloaded, how is that going to help?’…but since this has to happen as part of a much greater rejig…you might be right. Open the re-purposed corridor in steps. I was looking at utilization of UPX figures last night, and Bloor has multiples more traffic than Weston. Still not a lot, but is indicative of the catchment potential for Bloor/Dundas West.

    However, this brings us back to co-fare integration with TTC. Without that, opening that section for a de-facto ‘Smarttrack by UPX’ might be a failure, not due to potential, which is immense, but by poor implementation. If the Metrolinx ‘powers that be’ want this to be a success, TTC, let alone GO fare integration of some degree, must occur.

    The beauty of this limited section being used is that implementation with the current rolling stock can easily be done, maybe even three car trains if load demands and supply of stock permits. The present walkway just opened from Bloor to Dundas West would/should be covered and enclosed pending the ‘underground access’ as proposed.


  13. I’m really appreciating the technical feedbacks on the complexities of possible change of UPX or part of the service to a DRL in the west end. There’s a BIG difference between a rail usage and a transit RofW it seems (an understatement?), and commenters/Steve would know waay better than I how it might be done in Europe to enable more seamless services. But having direct-to-Union area service every 15 minutes in rush hour might be a sizeable help to drain off some of the Bloor subway loading right? And would that ripple inwards? To B/Y?

    Steve: Actually, no, it won’t. Any service has to be frequent enough that the overhead of waiting for the train is not a barrier to use, especially if there is an extra transfer involved. Nobody is going to get off the subway inbound at Dundas West/Bloor, even with a direct connection between platforms, if they face a potential wait of 15 minutes for their train. This undoes any advantage of the faster trip via the alternate route unless St. George has become intolerably congested. Bloor-Yonge does not get as much of its transfer demand from the west as from the east, and people from the west who do change at Yonge are generally headed only a few stops south (or even north), and for them the route via Union is not an advantage. Don’t forget that the transfer at Union back to the subway (unless one’s destination is in walking distance) is a considerable addition to travel time as well.

    The value of the rail corridor for transit is even higher south of Queen St. at Dufferin I think. Again, there are complexities with rail vs. transit RoW, but now the Meat Packers is gone, it could be possible to get a transitway for use by some of the Queen and King cars down (east) along the north side of this corridor to Front St. at Bathurst via Liberty Village, and from the Front/Bathurst area, get in to the core a bit faster maybe as Front St. is not as crowded up as King is, and it’s wider. Also, there’s still a nicely graded strip of land from rail level up to road level at Spadina, (now with a bridge support in its middle, sigh). As the Queensway is a RoW to Parkdale, it would be a faster trip in from Etobicoke, which some of us think is overdue. It’s a new idea for the TTC/Clowncil/Metrolinx, and inferior to having a full Front St. transitway, but we are soo behind, something is maybe a bit better than nada. And because we’re so badly behind, it’d likely have to be simpler one ‘lane’ reversible transitway, and likely not so easy to get rails on it either, though it’s likely worth it, as that corridor has been due for a TTC boost for a century-ish.

    As for money, let’s back away from the Suspect Subway Extension, and squeeze the billions for the entire region please, and sure, have a VRT proceeds mostly for transit. Simple eh?


  14. Steve, I will fully understand if you do not publish this as you want to get away from this frivolous discussion but I felt that I should set somethings straight.

    Stephen Saines says:

    “It was the Conservatives who promoted linear propulsion, a rejected Kraus-Maffei technology, since it was attractive, not repulsive in magnetic and therefore tractive effort.”

    You are confusing two different items here. The levitation magnets used attractive force and where therefore highly unstable as the attractive force gets stronger as the magnets get closer. This required a super fast feedback system to keep the levitation magnets on the car from hitting the levitating rail. There are also some maglev systems that use repelling magnets which are inherently stable because as the two magnets get closer together the repulsion increases keeping them apart.

    Induction motors, as do all electric motors use both attractive and repulsive magnet force to obtain motion. In an AC induction motor there is a stator or stationary set of windings which produce an electrically rotating 3 phase magnetic field which induces an electric current into the rotor or “squirrel cage” as it is called. It has this name because it looks like the wire cages in which squirrels or hamsters would run to get their exercise. The magnetic field induced in the squirrel cage is attracted by opposite poles in front of it and repelled by like poles behind it. As it is impossible to get a north pole without a south pole motors must use BOTH repulsion and attraction at the same time.

    Linear induction motors unwind the rotor of a normal motor and place it in a straight line, the linear part, under the truck. The rotor also has to be unwound but since it is no longer part of the car it has to extend for the entire length of the line. This requires a hell of lot more material than is required for a rotary motor.

    In a rotary motor the magnetic field was contained inside the motor and was highly efficient, over 85% before the introduction of modern electronic controllers. The magnetic field is not contained in a linear motor and a significant portion escapes at the edges of the stator coils. This increases if the gap, the air gap in Steve’s comments, changes. Another problem associated with lims is that there is a vertical repulsion created between the car and the reaction rail. The car is actually pushed upward slightly. This caused a break in the conductivity between the running rail and the wheels so ICTS could not use these rails for a power return.

    “And a missive to all: Either we find creative solutions to the present mess, or we’re doomed to repeat it. Yes SRT was a disaster. No, the technology isn’t completely wrong. Most of the problems are in the stator/rotor geometry of the linear propulsive system. Being attractive, like any magnets, tend to slam together if gap isn’t maintained. Repulsive technology, the type being used today in Mag-Lev, is self stabilizing. But alas, all a bit technical for those looking for cheap points.”

    Take a look at the guideway for the repulsive maglev trains in this site. It requires both levitation magnets and lateral stabilization magnets. Try to imagine that layout in a switch that could change tracks in under 5 minutes. You are also again mixing up the levitating forces with the propulsive forces in the second last sentence.

    The maglev ICTS system had a capacity of about 20 people per car and the four levitating magnets used 7.5 kW each of power to overcome friction. This power was consumed all the time the car was in service. The friction losses for the H series subway cars, which carried a lot more than 20 people, were 7.5 kW per axle and were only a problem when the car was moving. The lim, because of its design and control system, was less than 25% efficient. To eliminate friction we consumed much more energy to move 20 people as the subway lost to friction to move 200 and the energy to move them was almost as high. I got these figures from the then Minister of Transport, Gordon Carton on a Thursday night a public meeting at which there were a number of reporters and political strategists for the opposition party present. The following Wednesday he was no longer in the provincial cabinet. Are these facts related? I don’t know.

    The other big theoretical advantage of lims on the final ICTS was that since there were no propulsion or braking forces between the wheels and the running rails the rails would not wear as fast. What they didn’t realize was that the repulsive forces, in this case pushing the car up from the rails, between the on board lim and the reaction rail caused the trucks to hunt so much that severe corrugations were created in the running rail and they required more maintenance that regular propulsion systems.

    The system was also supposed to be quieter because there were no moving parts in the motors or gears. What they didn’t take into consideration was the effect of the induced magnetic field in the reaction rail. It created an electric current that heated the rail almost to the melting point in stations so they had to replace the solid piece of aluminum with laminated aluminum, thin layers separated by insulating paint and clamped together. The laminated layers became loose over time and started to vibrate like the ballast transformers in old fluorescent lights.

    In a University of California San Bernadino paper they state that “…there is no point of using a maglev in the city, since its technical advantages are substantial only at high speeds and high distances (inter-city travel). There is simply no space in a city to reach the speed and the full potential of the maglev…) They also go on to point out the dangers if there is a power failure as the top magnet drops on to the bottom one at speed. The resulting friction would generate a lot of heat and damage.

    You claim that levitating maglev is a “bit technical for those looking for cheap points.” In does not require a large amount of technical knowledge to look that the guideway for that system and realize that switching would be a brute. Since you seem to mix up attractive levitation forces with attractive (and repulsive) propulsive forces in the linear induction motor perhaps the whole concept is a little too technical for you. Before you accuse people of being “cheap political opportunists” you should thoroughly research and understand the topic. When are you being fitted for a prosthetic foot?

    My apologies for running on.

    Steve: I am publishing this only to close off a technical discussion that has wandered way off topic. This is the end of this particular thread.


  15. We need a single transit agency for the GTHNA – Greater Toronto Hamilton and Niagara area.


  16. A Quiet Guy from Richmond Hill | March 4, 2016 at 1:04 am

    “We need a single transit agency for the GTHNA – Greater Toronto Hamilton and Niagara area.”

    That would be the worst possible thing. What works in one area will not necessarily work in another. What we need is a co-ordinating body that would help to integrate these systems. Actually there is a lot of useful interaction between adjacent agencies, TTC excluded. The TTC cannot afford to offer reduced fare transit to people who come from other areas because they receive such a small subsidy. What would help is a provincial subsidy to reduce cross boundary fares.

    York region wants the Yonge Subway extended north to Richmond Hill but doing so would greatly overload the system in Toronto so Toronto riders could not get on the system. Should the residents of Toronto suffer so that those in another jurisdiction get a faster ride? I don’t think many would think so.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Steve said:

    Nobody is going to get off the subway inbound at Dundas West/Bloor, even with a direct connection between platforms, if they face a potential wait of 15 minutes for their train.

    I’d put a 15-minute figure in trying to be cognizant of limits on rolling stock etc., Would a ten minute service be the key to some effective relief?

    Steve: Even 10 is a challenge for this location because the transfer connection is so horrible. If this were more convenient, riders would likely tolerate slightly wider headways. The situation with the subway and RT at Kennedy is a good example — compare to the bus to RT interchange at STC which is still two levels, but doesn’t seem to arouse the wrath of passengers in the same way.


  18. Thanks Steve. The other issue with the corridor and the Rail Trail is whatever might occur with the Smart Track scheme, it being layered atop the complexities of heavy rail rules, service boosts, UPX and costs. Add political ego and campaign promises for yet another set of complications. Is the Smart Track workable within RER/existing tracks, or is it needing more trackage, or is it just not workable at all? Steve would know better than I the sets of schemes and plans for using this diagonal corridor for improving transit, and it is the higher/better use, but the cyclists are often wanting some safety, though maybe it will have to be raised, not like gondolas, but a suspended track perhaps.

    And yes, maybe bulldoze through the Crossways for that connection. And/or rebuild the TTC station to abut the railtrack.


  19. So does the electricity for streetcars and subways come from fossil fuels?

    Steve: Yes and no. Ontario is now primarily nuclear with hydro power and some gas generation. I would say substantially “not fossil”.


  20. “One wonders who they were competing against, but the Alliance’s site does not list nominees, only winners.”

    Nobody, I’m guessing. Can you think of another mainline rail station at an airport, built in 2013, 2014, or 2015? I can’t. They don’t build such things very often.

    The “AirRail Alliance” exists to promote mainline rail stations at airports, so they will give the award to whichever one is actually under construction that year.

    Steve: It has all the earmarks of an industry association that cranks out awards like sausages just so its members can have some hardware on their desk. But it’s impressive for the Board of Directors and Ministers who don’t know any better.


  21. Sorry, correction. I looked a bit deper into the Global Air Rail Alliance and they *specifically* promote *express* trains from airport to downtown. There are even fewer of those built. UPX probably won their award literally because it was the only one under construction each year.


  22. ieso.ca shows real-time electricity usage, cost, and generation breakdown.

    As I write this on Saturday morning, nuclear is 63.4%, hydro is 24.6%, gas is 10.7%, and wind is 1.1%. The last two are quite low today. On a windy weekday morning, both would be higher.


  23. To all those saying Metrolinx should purchase TTC, TTC spokeswoman Bad Ross has already stated that the TTC would vigorously oppose any such purchase but that the ultimate decision will depend on the government.

    Steve: There would be a huge issue here on two counts. First of all, the TTC is owned by the City of Toronto. Although parts of it were purchased with subsidy funding, by no means all, and Queen’s Park would have to compensate the City for this. Second, the last thing the province wants to do is to take on responsibility for a large, underfunded operating and capital program which they have been drawing away from for years.

    As for those who think so highly of Metrolinx, just attend a few board meetings and see how knowledgeable and engaged most members are. Don’t forget that UPX happened on their watch.


  24. RE: Toronto’s March 2016 Transit Reports

    Best coverage by far by Steve, but it’s still a dog’s breakfast, not Steve’s coverage, but the report. So rather than trying to make sense of many disparate ends, I thought I’d approach this backwards with the UPX situation arguably calling for a ‘re-engineering’ of its function and purpose, let alone fare structure. It surely presents an opportunity to move ahead in the face of many other conflicting proposals elsewhere in the City?

    The peculiarly singular proposed electrification of the UPX alone, not the corridor up to Bramalea, still has not been addressed by Metrolinx. Perhaps the wheels move very slowly, but it’s something that’s going to have to be separated out from the present electrification projection reports to get what’s already on the plate and running into a much more functional form.

    I just checked on the proposed electrification study report, sorry, lost the link, in case the realization had struck Metrolinx that the UPX corridor (sub-corridor?) can no longer be viewed as stand-alone. I can’t see how the UPX can now be viewed for upgrading to electric without including up to Bramalea. So far, from the report I read, there’s no mention of combining the two.

    But searching for the link I lost to directly quote the report, I just found this status report:

    It is now a bit dated (by six years) and more options have become available since this was published. For me, this is serendipity since I was looking for what type of vehicles Metrolinx had in mind for the electrified RER, and what vehicles they may have considered that would fill an interim function until electrification.

    I’d quote sections, save that it’s in PDF, although for some reason, titled as being in MS Word. This computer is running Linux, and the word programme available won’t reformat PDF.


    How serious Metrolinx were in looking at the various vehicles is a good question, since what are posted present radically different choices than what was chosen for UPX! I must repeat, the Nippon Sharyos are excellent units, but that’s only as good as satisfying the need in context. I somehow feel their ‘ability to be easily converted to electric traction’ was a marketing ruse, and a clumsy one. Nuff on that, conspiracy theories are rampant enough.

    One astounding ‘example’ for the dual-modes posted is a Paris RER dual voltage/current version … for the de-facto standard (North Am too) DC 1500v for LRT and 25 Kv AC for mainline catenary.

    Best I fully read this 71 page report before becoming too excited, but I’d say someone on the inside has a far more dynamic overview on possibilities than the ‘front office’ has. There might be so very interesting reports not published. Hmmmm …

    Someone might have some interesting stories to tell as to how they were over-ruled on choice of rolling stock. I mention that as it might be time … past time … for some of the Metrolinx techs to speak-out about this. There’s probably some very eloquent solutions to the present dilemma of what to do next with Bramalea to Union.

    Btw: For the record on multi-phase propulsive technology: I’m not a motor man, but I am a transformer one, most specifically toroidal. I’m fully up on multi-phase control and implementation, mostly reconstituted AC from DC, albeit some of the older tech mentioned by another poster is well understood. That whine you hear from modern ‘chopper’ motors? That’s generated frequency pulse-width-modulated energy loss from the core laminations slamming together. Nuff said.


  25. Hamish writes:

    And yes, maybe bulldoze through the Crossways for that connection.

    lol … it’s a need for space in a parking garage, not surface obstruction, and the law mandates “like for like” when practicable in expropriation cases. There are other legal devices that can be used, you can gain access without expropriation, but besides all of that, the Dundas West platforms can be accessed via tunnelling to the ends of them, not just from over top. Other than ensuring the stability of structures and land above, access under law is already extant to deal with that.

    In the event, an agreement with Creccal Management is in the works from what I understand. Parking space is very limited in those buildings. I can understand The Crossways need to be guaranteed ‘like for like’ in this instance. Perhaps Metrolinx, now owning the plot immediately to the north of there, can provide sheltered parking space in lieu of what they gain if the ‘basement option’ is exercised? I suspect TTC will also be party to any such arrangement.


  26. Reading back on this site for the diagrams for the Crossway Bloor to Dundas West property lines.

    I won’t go into that per-se, save to give kudos for the diagrams still being available, valuable and still very relevant, but have to re-post parts of Robert Wightman’s comments, they pertain more than ever to the present pending demise of UPX as such:

    If GO had any brains they would take the Weston Sub to Bramalea and the entire Newmarket Sub plus the Union Station Rail Corridor which they own and declare them off limits to any freights while GO trains are running and use non AAR compliant cars. This would cut the equipment cost by 40% to 60% and reduce energy costs as the cars would be lighter. If they could get a route out to Agincourt some way and buy the Havelock Sub then they could also run Uxbridge and North Durham trains with this type of equipment. One of the last papers that GO published on their upcoming electrification study said that the consultant was to look at all possible types of equipment and not just the electrification of the existing service. One can only hope that they do a good job with this study.

    Indeed, I’ve been catching up on that report, and it struck me as odd that the author continually referred to the AAR regs in paragraphs, and then added a proviso every-so-often, on the *possibility* of TC offering an exception, since this is ‘ahem’ Canada. What I haven’t tripped across yet is his mentioning that the O-Line was granted exactly that, in a number of areas, with the full assistance of TC and the studies I quoted were well before the electrification one mentioned by Robert and what I’m now reading.

    Of course, Robert took me to issue by my making similar claims as he did. That’s unfortunate, as the opportunity was there to assist my views, not berate them.

    Robert continues in a following post:

    The problem is that as long as GO has to meet the AAR and Canadian equivalent standards Electrification will not be cheaper within the life span of the equipment unless diesel goes up to $10.00 per litre. GO bi-levels cost about $3 million per car, cab cars cost more because they have to meet locomotive crash standards and are subject to the 92 day servicing requirements that locomotives are because they are considered a locomotive since they have a control stand. Diesel locomotives are $5 to $7 million a pop while straight electrics are $8 to $10 million and dual modes are about $12 million. AAR compliant EMU’s are between $4 and $5 million each.

    The electrification report goes to envious length on Caltrain’s exception, the whimsical insinuation being ‘wouldn’t that be wonderful here?’ Of course, it *is* possible here. And ‘temporal separation’ as touched upon by Steve in an earlier sub-string to one of my posts, is just one of three ways to accommodate that in the report. Another is ATC. Don’t have the section open in front of me, but more than willing to quote it exactly if challenged.

    Those were excellent points then Robert. Even more so now. With a few tweaks to the present track diagram, and addition of an track coming south from Bramalea, and getting the same exceptions the O-Train got, and satisfying any conditions to a higher level than O-Train has ever done…other than political intransigence, there’s little to no reason efforts couldn’t be started to do the first leg of RER with DMUs down to Union.

    Oddly again, the 2010 electrification report mentioned painted a very positive view of DMUs, even going as far as pointing out the UK 200 series of DMUs (a number of which, btw, 220s from memory, although some are uprated to 222s? are available for leasing at this time!) but in conclusion, deems DMUs as unsuitable. And what does UPX choose?

    I wonder if that report wasn’t ‘edited’ for ummm … convenience of events? I’m still digesting it, and re-reading sections. I’ve yet to find the author(s)’ name(s), still looking. I have found the report quoted by Gormick a year later.

    I think there’s answers at hand. It’s more a case of decisions missing to realize them.


  27. It is absurd for Andy Byford to complain that the Davisville headquarters is “old” and that a new building is needed ASAP when there are more pressing issues (SOGR, relief line, new elevators).

    Steve: Actually the building is not in the best shape, but more to the point, what does your comment have to do with the UPX?


  28. You don’t need to go through the X-ways to reach from Bloor GO station to TTC subway station. Technically it’s not in the way. It is under the front outside parking lot you need the tunnel.


  29. The same ridership methodology Metrolinx used to justify sky high UPX fares is now being used to justify the DRL and I am afraid that DRL will be yet another Metrolinx scheme running empty trains.

    Steve: Actually, the DRL ridership estimates use a completely different set of assumptions and model from UPX, and the DRL itself is not a “Metrolinx scheme”. There has always been a strong potential demand in that corridor, but TTC staff downplayed this claiming that they could stuff an outrageously large volume of passengers on the existing subway line instead.


  30. I thought George Sawision’s name looked familiar, let alone “greenlinx”. Google to the rescue:

    On Monday August 23 2010, a Community Meeting with Metrolinx was held at St. Christopher House at 1033 King Street West. Flyers were handed out which included the following description:

    It doesn’t make sense to just continue to use a train to travel from the airport to Union Station anymore. Let’s do it in a better way and use the existing tracks to make a subway from Union Station to the airport.
    Then we can travel and stop at convenient locations along the route to get home faster and in a more convenient way. The cost would be minimal considering the track is already installed. Just electrify with a “third rail” and install stations where needed, as needed.

    Now that is a great idea that benefits ALL residents along the rail line.

    The rail link would also allow a subway to exist at low cost.

    Sometimes great ideas require ‘sane people to understand them.

    The TTC’s current fleet of subway cars are being replaced. Instead of throwing them away, they can be used on the Green Linx above ground subway line.

    Isle of Wight revisited … Worked there due to tiny loading gauge even by Southern Region standards. Third rail wouldn’t work on that corridor, let alone in Union in lieu of catenary clearance limitations. Not to mention the liability of maintenance on older stock.

    LRT? Perhaps … The next few weeks are going to prove interesting.


Comments are closed.