Metrolinx Seems To Change Story Day by Day

Metrolinx, as usual, seems to be changing it mind day to day as it searches for ways to win a PR campaign against citizens. They say one thing one day and then change their minds the next. Reading the last section of this story you have to wonder if they really have any plan at all. You have to wonder why the announcement below happens at this time.

GO trains to get clean diesel engines in 2017

Brodie Fenlon

Toronto — Globe and Mail Update Published on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 12:23AM EDT Last updated on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 11:18AM EDT

Metrolinx says the engines on its entire fleet of GO Train locomotives will be rebuilt beginning in 2017 with state-of-the-art clean diesel technology, even as it embarks on a major study of the electrification of its entire system.

It's the first time the province's Toronto transportation agency has said publicly that it intends to make all of its trains Tier 4 compliant, a tough new emissions standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for new trains built after 2015.

A recent Metrolinx environmental assessment of the Georgetown South GO expansion and Union-Pearson rail link was predicated on the use of existing Tier 2 locomotives. It projected, in a worst-case scenario, acute health effects for residents along the line from diesel exhaust.

Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen approved the expansion – which will see traffic ramp up from 49 to 464 trains daily on the lower half of the corridor by 2031 – as long as the air link and Georgetown GO service use Tier 4 trains.

But Gary McNeil, executive vice-president of Metrolinx and managing director of GO Transit, said the agency will go a significant step farther by converting its entire fleet.

“Around 2017, we're going to have to rebuild our engines, and at that time they'll be rebuilt to Tier 4 technology,” he said. “So we're looking, in the very short term, [at] our entire fleet being Tier 4 compatible as far as the emissions are concerned.”

Mr. McNeil also suggested the number of trains on the expanded Georgetown line will be significantly lower than Metrolinx's own projections in its environmental assessment.

“If I was to look at a crystal ball, I'd say we're probably looking at about 10 more trains in 2015. So it's a gradual increase of service,” he said.

The Clean Train Coalition, which wants the Georgetown corridor electrified, said they're bewildered by Mr. McNeil's statements.

The environmental assessment talks about “a six-fold increase [in train traffic] on Day 1. Now he's saying they're just going to slowly ramp up service. This is news to us,” said the coalition's Keith Brooks.

“This idea that all trains from now on are going to be Tier 4, this is also news to us. … What we're talking about and what he's talking about don't seem to be the same thing.”

The Metrolinx board approved Tuesday a major one-year study of electrification, which will include a cost-benefit analysis, detailed environmental and health assessments and recommendations about how – and if – the diesel railway should be electrified.


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Electric Trains on YouTube

A friend forwarded me a link to a YouTube video that makes an interesting point about the government's position on Electric trains. It reminds me of the very effective campaign against the City's Olympic bid in the late 1980s called Bread Not Circuses. It is totally worth checking out.

Six-fold increase on day 1?

Regarding this section of the article:

The environmental assessment talks about “a six-fold increase [in train traffic] on Day 1. Now he's saying they're just going to slowly ramp up service. This is news to us,” said the coalition's Keith Brooks.

Are they sure the enviro assessment says that? From any meeting I went to, GO / Metrolinx / their consultants always said that it would be a gradual increase in trains.

Just a guess

I would think the EA documentation needs to anticipate the most aggressive expansion that is conceivable. That would be different then the procurement decision for equipment. Procurement would need to be more closely tied to the actual service.
I don't see evidence there has been any change of plans, but numbers that have different meaning. The approach of gradually increasing service seems logical.

Six-fold increase on day 1? Who Really Knows?

With Metrolinx the story changes day by day. I see the 10 trains a day increase as more of an attempt to shape public opinion than anything else. If it were true why are we rushing to spend 1 billion dollars for 10 trains? As Steve Munro has stated over and over, Metrolinx's plan doesn't add up.