In the comment thread on the article about GO Transit Service Changes, two readers asked about the status of expansion projects that were supposed to be “in the works” – the addition of track capacity from Don to Scarborough Junction and from Guildwood to Pickering, as well as a contract for signalling upgrades.
I wrote to Metrolinx for comment on these issues, and have received a reply from Matt Llewellyn in Media Relations.
1. Someone left a comment on my blog today claiming that the projects to add a fourth track from Don to Scarborough, and a third track from Guildwood to Pickering, have been cancelled. Is this true, and if so, why?
Through our new rigorous analysis of potential investments we are prioritizing the infrastructure needed right now, giving communities the transit system they need and deserve, while making taxpayer dollars go further.
As part of that process, it was determined it is possible to reduce the entire three-mile three track section while still achieving the current service levels needed between Rouge Hill GO Station and Durham Junction. We’re able to delay these major improvements now thanks to a stronger working relationship we’ve developed with our Railway partners. By finding smarter and better ways to work together, we’re significantly accelerating service improvements to these areas.
Any future infrastructure needed in this area will be determined through the OnCorridor Program that is currently in procurement.
We will continue to work closely with the impacted stakeholders and community as we work towards upgrading transit and adding essential regional transportation capacity to our network.
On a related note, has the scheme to build the “Ontario Line” above grade, possibly in the rail corridor from Gerrard west to Parliament, had any effect on the four-track plans for that section of the corridor?
Metrolinx Initial Business Case indicates the Ontario Line will have a portal east of Cherry Street, crossing over the Don River and continuing along the GO Rail corridor, along a widened embankment or elevated structure.
We are currently reviewing the work that is needed to advance the infrastructure necessary to provide more GO service on this stretch of the corridor, alongside the infrastructure needs for the Ontario Line.
What is the status of a project to re-signal GO corridors to allow more frequent headways and better safety control? There was a consulting contract let to Parsons in late 2017 but is the project actually progressing?
Parsons is supporting Metrolinx as a technical advisor for the Signal and Train Control program under Go Expansion.
The signaling and train control program, which will allow for more trains at a lower headway and improved safety, is progressing under Go Expansion.
The Go Expansion program is currently in the procurement phase.
Through the GO Expansion program, we will be leveraging the worldwide expertise of the private sector to drive contractor accountability for delivering on the required service outcomes.
From these answers it is clear that Metrolinx has decided to shift responsibility for any infrastructure upgrades to whichever consortium wins the GO Expansion program bid and takes over responsibility for this work. This could bring a level of expertise to GO not seen before (if the comment above is to be believed), but this could also add yet another layer of opacity and frustration to any meaningful public participation in a review of what might or might not be built.