Corp Comm Connects

Mayor Tory, transportation minister offer show of unity on SmartTrack and GO expansion

Steven Del Duca and John Tory will be at a Metrolinx meeting for an update on various commuter rail scenarios under consideration.
Feb. 9, 2016
By Tess Kalinowski

In a show of goodwill that suggests John Tory's SmartTrack transit plan is on track with the province's GO expansion, the mayor will join Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca at the Metrolinx board on Wednesday.

A report called Integrating GO RER (regional express rail) with SmartTrack is among the agenda items, which also include an update on the underused airport train and another report on regional fare integration.

The GO/SmartTrack report prescribes further study of various train frequencies and fares - factors that a city report last month showed will be critical in attracting riders to the SmartTrack service.

The province’s commitment on GO regional express rail is to have two-way service and 15-minute frequencies on five of the seven GO corridors that would be electrified, including the two lines identified in the Tory plan.

The $8-billion SmartTrack plan proposes using the Kitchener and Stouffville GO lines to move Toronto commuters and connect to Markham and the airport corporate centre through Union Station.

Metrolinx says it wants to study four potential scenarios:

The report is clear that the various options would mean trade-offs in requirements such as infrastructure and the number of new trains.

With as many as eight new stations on the line, the third scenario would increase train access for Toronto commuters but potentially slow the trips of commuters travelling longer distances, says the report.

The last alternative provides a little less access to the GO lines for Torontonians but mitigates the problem of longer commutes for long-distance riders.

Now that Tory has abandoned plans to build a prohibitively expensive heavy-rail connection to the airport area in the west, the city and province are looking at various options for continuing the Eglinton Crosstown LRT west of Mount Dennis, including, potentially, underground and elevated sections and anywhere from six to 17 stations.