Metrolinx Air Station on Railpath

MX Air StationMX Air Station

As part of the environmental conditions imposed on Metrolinx by the Ministry of the Environment 3 air monitoring stations are to be placed along the Georgetown Rail Corridor. Putting aside that an Electric system would be better on every level, MX is moving forward with a diesel system and air conditions will be monitored for about 10 years to create real measurements instead of hypothetical modeling. If there are any deviations from projections then "mitigation" techniques such as walls will be ordered by the MOE.

At the end of the day there was no other spot in our area other than the Railpath to put a station. Many residents will hate it and many will like having the real air quality statistics it will provide. The order to place these stations was from the MOE so it could be said that this was a cabinet level choice and there was really not much say in it. Why now? MX needs to have what is called "baseline" data, that is data BEFORE diesel expansion so that they can then have a starting point to look for increases once rail expansion happens. Their are links on this blog and at the MX site that explain this in more detail and show what their current air models predict.

Do we get anything in return? MX will be paying the City rent for the entire time the station is their. MX will hire landscapers to design and blend the station in with RP as best they can with indigenous plants. When the station leaves, MX will restore the site. As the station needs utilities MX will assist Parks in the laying of power to the new community gardening shed at Wallace.(More about that coming soon). This will be a substantial cost saving to Parks. In addition MX will help facilitate the laying of water to the Wallace shed area so that in the future the shed will have water and an outdoor fountain with a dog tap. I asked MX to provide a press release but have not received anything as of this posting.


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I like it...

About a year ago, I became quite interested in the question of whether it would be possible to have a set of air quality monitoring stations placed at locations along the tracks. I was even considering building how to build a proof-of-concept, on my own. One other detail that was important, is that the collected data be shared openly, using a service like Pachube (

Needless to say, when I first saw the station that was constructed along the Railpath, between Ruskin and Wallace, I was quite excited. What I'm curious about now, though, is whether the collected data is available online.

The detail in the post above, about mitigation, got my hackles up, however. I don't like the idea of erecting walls, along the tracks, at all. Whether or not this would be used as a strategy for controlling noise, or other effects (air pollution?) matters not to me. In fact, the mere suggestion that such an action could ever be necessary, seems to add credence to the argument that the new trains should not be powered by diesel locomotives, at all; as they would contribute to both additional noise and air pollution along the length of the corridor.

A few weeks back, I was looking at the new monitoring station when a passerby, from the neighbourhood, struck up a conversation about it. She called into question, the choice of location for the station. In particular, that she felt it should have perhaps been located closer to the Bloor Street GO Station, as that is where the locomotives are starting and stopping. It's at that point, when a larger exhaust of diesel smoke is produced. To be honest, I have no idea whether this would introduce a bias to the collected data, or whether this would result in a more accurate account of the environmental effects of the rail traffic. But it did get me thinking.

I came across this bit of information, from Metrolinx, regarding the location of all three monitoring stations...

... and there's a map here (from 2009), which shows the proposed locations for each...

At the moment, I'm still searching for more details on whether there is a place where the measurements are, or will be, made available online. This section of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment site, may be a place to watch for it though...

If anyone here is aware of additional detail about this, please share it.

Air Monitor: Metrolinx Responds

Manuel Pedrosa, Manager, Community Relations, Georgetown Project Metrolinx asked that these comments be posted in reply to your questions. His contact info is also in this thread and its his job to talk to us so give him a call if you want more detail.

"Once the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) completes its review of the data collected from our air monitoring stations and validates the results, the data will be published at We have submitted two quarterly reports to the MOE for the Weston air monitoring station. We are waiting for acceptance of these reports prior to posting.

Metrolinx engaged an advisory group made up of representatives from various stakeholders and technical specialists to review possible locations for the air quality monitoring stations. The MOE validated the locations for the three stations. One of the key acceptance criteria was to have unobstructed exposure on all sides of the air quality monitoring station. At the Bloor station, the MOE concluded that it was not an ideal site because of the buildings in the area which would impede data collection by the monitoring station."

Air Station Comments from Metrolinx

Manuel Pedrosa from Metrolinx wanted to add this information about the Air Station on Railpath. He was not available at the time of my original post:

Metrolinx will be installing an air quality monitoring station at Wallace Avenue, one of three locations along the Georgetown South rail corridor. The results will be used to measure the level of air emissions from all sources including trains operating in the rail corridor. This data will be reported quarterly to the Ministry of the Environment as well as the public. It will be used to validate the modelling results from our Air Quality and Human Health assessment studies that measured the effectiveness of implementing Tier 4 engine emission standards on GO locomotive and the Airport Rail Link equipment. The studies concluded that we are providing a significant increase in mass transit service, taking even more cars off the road, for about the same emission levels that exist today.


Manuel Pedrosa
Manager, Community Relations
Georgetown South Project
GO Transit, a division of Metrolinx
20 Bay Street, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2W3

Tel: 647-260-6719
Cell: 416-996-9213