Category Archives for "Latest News"

May 31

Progress is Steady on Yonge Subway North Extension

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Metrolinx continues to advance this $4 to 6 billion, 8km project to extend the Yonge Subway northward into York Region.  The activities over the past 2 years provide interesting insights into major transit project management and execution. 

As readers recall from our last posting (June, 2021), there was extensive controversy and resident anger about the chosen route in the northern segment through Markham/Thornhill (“green route”).  Residents were concerned that this ran under dozens of residential properties.  In mid-2021, Transport Action Ontario (TAO) suggested an alternate route (“yellow route”) using cut and cover under the vacant Langstaff lands.  This was much more popular with the community.  Metrolinx studied the yellow route extensively, and finally concluded in early 2022 that it was technically feasible, but not preferred due to higher cost, complex construction, technical constraints (tighter curves, steeper inclines, slower train speeds), and impacts to future development.

Possibly in an attempt to placate local residents, Metrolinx announced that a 40 – 50 meter deep station at Royal Orchard Blvd would be added to the project, with station costs borne by the Province’s Transit Oriented Communities program.

In February, 2022, York Region Council approved the green route. The amended Environmental Project Report was completed by Metrolinx one month later.

In September, 2022, a contract was awarded to complete early upgrades to Finch Station to accommodate the extension (electrical and fire connections).  Construction is underway.  Work is also underway for advance utilities relocations along Yonge St.  Agreement has also been reached with CN for use of their corridor for the at-grade portion of the extension.

The procurement plan for the project will involve two major contracts:

  • Advance Tunneling contract, planned as a Design-Build-Finance.  The RFQ was released in April, 2023. Release of the RFP is planned for late 2023 with contract award in 2024.  Excavation for the launch shaft is expected in late 2024, and arrival of the tunnel boring machines in late 2025.  Two twin bore tunnels are planned.
  • Stations, Rail and Systems contract, likely to be a Progressive Design-Build.  Timing TBD.

Metrolinx is also engaged in corridor protection.  Under the Build Transit Faster Act, lands in the corridor have been designated as Transit Corridor Lands (TCLs).  Both TCLs and lands within a prescribed distance (eg 30 meters) must obtain a Corridor Development Permit prior to construction (eg pool, building, shed).  This restriction is registered on title in the Land Registry Office.  To date, there have apparently been no issues with designations or permits.

Metrolinx is also negotiating with property owners for temporary or permanent property acquisition.  In some cases, only subsurface acquisition will be required. No information is publicly available on how this is working out.

Finally, workshops are being held with municipal staff on station design.  No information is yet available to the public on this topic.

In conclusion, following resolution of the controversial routing issue, progress on this project appears to have been steady.  TAO looks forward to a continued smooth path. 

May 14

Passing of Dale Wilson, former President of Transport Action Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News

Dale Wilson, author, railway historian and passenger rail advocate, died  in Sudbury on Friday, May 5. He was 86 years old.

Dale was an active member of Transport Action for many years and in fact had just renewed his membership one month earlier.  He was president of Transport Action Ontario (TAO) in the late 1990’s.  Dale was a hard-working president – travelling down to Toronto for each and every board meeting.  Dale was a strong leader with a wealth of rail knowledge, and much was accomplished under his leadership. 

In 2000, Dale received a Distinguished Service Award from TAO and he was designated President Emeritus by TAO in 2005. 

Dale wrote numerous excellent books and articles on Canadian railway history,  many of which are in the C. Robert Craig Memorial Library.

Dale was also  involved with the Northern Ontario Railroad  Museum and Heritage Centre in Capreol since its beginning, and was a current member of its board.   Transport Action Ontario and Transport Action Canada have both made contributions to this museum in memory of Dale. 

TAO members have offered to assist the family with sorting and archiving Dale’s railway records, if needed.

Our condolences to Dale’s wife, Freda and Dale’s family.

Apr 19

Federal Airport Study Casts Doubt on Pickering Airport

By Transport Action Ontario | Aviation , Latest News

In a surprise announcement on April 18, 2023, federal Transport Minister Alghabra kicked off a study on airport capacity in Southern Ontario. A prime focus appears to be the Pickering Lands, where it was stated: “We have no intention to proceed with building an airport on the Pickering Lands in the near term and the conclusions of the study could lead, for example, to a determination that an airport on the Pickering Lands is not required in the long term”.

Transport Action Ontario (TAO) has long opposed the Pickering Airport. We believe that improved passenger rail service can provide more than enough capacity for medium distance (< 800 km) trips, so that the existing Pearson Airport could handle all future long-distance needs.

TAO will monitor this study closely. In addition to Pickering, there are other questions that should be studied, including

  • Future role of Toronto Island, Hamilton, London and other airports in Southern Ontario
  • Adequacy of ground connections to airports, i.e. rail and bus
Apr 16

Advocacy Summary for April, 2022 – April, 2023

By Transport Action Ontario | Events , Highways and Bridges , Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario , Southwestern Ontario , Uncategorized , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario’s annual general meeting (AGM) was held in Toronto on April 15, 2023 in a hybrid format. The meeting followed a pro-forma agenda, including Treasurer’s report and election of officers and directors for the upcoming year.

The major part of the meeting was devoted to the President’s report, which summarized the extensive advocacy work undertaken by the organization all across the Province over the past 12 months. In total, work was conducted on about 30 items, with some successes and good progress on others.

For members and subscribers who were unable to attend the AGM, the President’s Report is attached as a FYI.

Mar 22

Gardiner East Transparency – Advocacy Update

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News

Transport Action Ontario is a core member of a coalition of community groups called Gardiner East Transparency (GET), calling for the City of Toronto to be transparent and to reveal the full go-forward costs and foregone revenues – potentially exceeding $1 billion – of its June, 2015 decision to build a colossal elevated link between the Gardiner East Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.

A media release (see below) was issued on March 13, 2023 and was extremely well received, with over 10 radio, TV and print outlets picking up the story.

Unfortunately, despite many letters and deputations from residents, Toronto’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee chose on March 20 to not take further action on this matter. GET will continue its advocacy by keeping the issue visible during the upcoming Toronto mayoral campaign April 3 to June 26.