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cityscape

Change on Two Rails

In pushing for electric rail in the west end, local activists have the big picture in mind.

Past the rail bridge over Dupont Street, between Edwin Avenue and Dundas, the geography of the city suddenly changes. What stretches from east to west in a steady line suddenly lurches, going from residential to industrial to residential again, following the rails that wind though the landscape. Dundas, more or less a straight north-south corridor between Boustead Avenue and Dupont, veers west again, tracking the length of the CP Rail line between Old Weston and Scarlett Road. Further east, Keele becomes Weston Road at St. Clair, running parallel with the Canadian National Railway as it heads northwest, toward the airport.

The area for which the West Toronto Diamond and the West Toronto Juntion are both named is a place shaped—and, in many ways, defined—by the trains that run through it.

It’s a place where contested commercial, residential, and industrial infrastructures meet, where GO trains thunder past cyclists and joggers on the West Toronto Railpath, and where 300,000 people make their home. Controversially, it’s also where the province plans to run the Union-Pearson Air Rail Link, a long-awaited rail line to Pearson along the Georgetown South corridor—and a route that shares its tracks with CN and VIA Rail.

That there will be more trains running through their backyards isn’t such an issue, say local residents. The issue—a view shared among those who attended last weekend’s Clean Trains Festival on the West Toronto Railpath—is what will be powering them.

In January of 2011, David McKeown, Toronto’s chief medical officer, wrote a letter to Metrolinx chair Robert Prichard [PDF], calling for the electrification of the rail corridor; current plans call for the airport line to run on diesel. The letter was a huge boost for concerned West Toronto residents who had long been fighting for electrification. Seventy-five schools sit in close proximity to the tracks, they say, and the impact of heavy, carcinogenic diesel emissions—with chemicals like acrolein, benzene, and acetaldehyde hanging in the air—would be too toxic to ignore. McKeown agreed. 


“Electrification of the Georgetown and Lakeshore rail corridors,” he wrote, “while proposed for primarily business reasons, will bring health benefits to the communities adjacent to these corridors. By undertaking this initiative, Metrolinx will also be making its own modest but real contribution to the overall collective effort to improve air quality for the broader population of Toronto.” But his cost-benefit assessment went beyond simply eliminating emissions, suggesting that a beneficial knock-on effect would result. You’d have less traffic congestion, better transit options for area residents, and healthier lifestyles, too—using the Railpath, residents would have cleaner air to breathe while using cleaner methods to get to and from the GO station.

“I encourage you to adopt this recommendation and to proceed as soon as possible with Phase One,” McKeown wrote, “and subsequent phases of the electrifiation of the Georgetown and Lakeshore rail corridors.”

Two months later, Metrolinx distributed a newsletter to area residents that sealed the deal, supposedly. “Metrolinx Board approves electrification,” it stated, saying that, “This move follows approval by the Metrolinx Board of Directors…to begin electrification of the Lakeshore and Georgetown GO Transit rail corridors, with the new Air Rail Link (ARL) as the first phase.” At the time, it was taken as a victory for the grassroots, as if the provincial government had been swayed in some last-ditch David-versus-Goliath moment.

That, it turns out, was before reading the fine print.

“First,” wrote York South-Weston MP Mike Sullivan (NDP) in a letter to the Star, “Metrolinx has already purchased diesel trains, not electric for the Air Rail Link. They are convertible in the future, at an unknown cost.” The cars, built by Japan-based manufacturer Nippon Sharyo, can indeed be converted to run on electric power—like converting a diesel car to do the same, the design characteristics of a diesel train engine allow it. But at this stage, the McGuinty government has effectively said that while there will indeed be electric trains on the Georgetown route at some point, it won’t set a timeline for it. It’s diesel for the foreseeable future. 



“It’s like saying, ‘We’re going to knowingly dump toxins in your drinking water,’” wrote Andrew Cash, another area MP (NDP, Davenport), commenting on the issue in NOW Magazine. “‘But chill, in a decade or so we’ll go green.’”

To Cash, one of the organizers of the Clean Trains Festival, this is tantamount to a provincial insult of the public’s intelligence. “You know, people in the community have been saying for years that they want this thing electrified,” Cash told Torontoist during the festival. “The province does not listen. Through two elections that’s been a big issue, and those of us that have championed electrification,” he said, gesturing to the neighbourhoods along the Railpath, “have won, almost right along this rail corridor.”

At this point, all three levels of local government are involved, with Peggy Nash bringing the issue to Parliament, supported by Sullivan and transit critic Olivia Chow. And then there’s Jonah Schein, the MPP for Davenport, who will force a debate on electrification at the Ontario legislature later today with a private members’ bill. 



There are health concerns, issues with schools, noise, pollution, and as far as developing progressive transit is concerned, there’s definitely a sense of putting the right foot forward at a critical time. But in Schein’s neighbourhood, it’s the sense that people are being duped, he suggests, that’s of particular note. Considering the mixed economics of the area, many of these residents may have made costly, irreversible decisions about home ownership with this controversy in mind. How many chose to stick around because they heard Metrolinx was going electric rather than diesel? How many will now have difficulty selling with the opposite being true, at least in the short term? “It’s not an affordable neighbourhood, ” he said, “but it’s one of the more affordable neighbourhoods, and these people have put all their money into their mortgages and now they’re going to be screwed. And they don’t know about it necessarily.”

There’s also a question of running a new rail route through a community that won’t itself benefit from the service in question. “It seems a little ridiculous that the thing’s got two stops outside of Union and the airport,” Ward 19 councillor Mike Layton argues, “and that [it] doesn’t really service the neighbourhood that it goes through.” If there’s going to be a parade of a diesel rumbling through West Toronto, he suggested, West Toronto should at least be serviced by the route. With this in mind, Layton, with the support of York South-Weston councillor Frances Nunziata—one of the least-likely political unions imaginable in modern-day Toronto—tabled a motion in early April for the Air Rail Link to include everywhere from Liberty Village to Etobicoke North and Woodbine in its route. All situated in the West Toronto area, these stations would bring the line from two stops to 10. “We were also calling for it to be electrified immediately,” Layton explains, “because we don’t like the idea of a diesel-burning train going through neighbourhoods.”

Ten stops might slow the line down a little more than intended, Layton says, but that’s also not really the point. 

”I think we’ve got to get everyone around this corridor and get other people outside of it to realize, ‘You know what? Not making this investment now is a bad move.’ It’s putting money into something that’s really going to harm this community, and it’s something you’re just going to have to upgrade in the end anyhow.” Noting how many people would be served by re-jigging the line in this way—not just the business travellers and others hell-bent on getting to the airport—Schein agreed. “There are communities that would be supported, that need access to public transit, like Davenport and York South-Weston,” he said, “and it’s just a shame that that’s not happening.”

Layton and Nunziata’s motion received near-unanimous support at council: 41 in favour, with one opposed. Still, despite its stated position that the will of council rules supreme—something we’ve heard often with respect to other transit discussions—there was little from Queen’s Park in response. For the people at the microphone and in the crowd at Saturday’s festival, knowing this raises new, frustrating questions, or simply reinforces the old ones: what exactly is the provincial government’s problem? “It’s not clear to me, exactly,” said Schein. “I don’t know if they’ve dug themselves a hole and they’d look foolish to turn around.”

The looming prospect of the 2015 Pan Am Games is likely a complicating factor, with a do-or-die target date to get the line up and running. Perhaps Dalton McGuinty’s government sees that as a reason, however debatable, to hedge its safest bets now on getting an established system on the tracks, namely diesel, and worry about making the conversion to electric later. Purely electric trains, though less expensive in the long run, are also a little costly as a start-up expense. But that ignores the long-term issue, many at the rally said.

To Olivia Chow, the federal NDP’s transit critic and MP for Trinity-Spadina, it’s all redolent of a larger, even more frustrating problem at the national level. “It’s unbelievable that Canada, in 2012, does not have electric trains,” she told us. “We have the technology; Bombardier is a Canadian firm.” Though what Metrolinx is getting from Japan is possibly cheaper, what Canadian technology offers, she suggests, is recognized as a leading product in clean transportation—and doesn’t leave government with many excuses, whether federally, provincially, or municipally. 



“Bombardier goes around the world building electric trains everywhere,” she said. “Tokyo has them; I’ve taken them many times in Copenhagen. They are precise, they’re beautiful to ride in, and they are smooth, clean, and fast.”

At the Clean Trains Festival, local discussions were coloured by these broader, more nationally focused questions: “We’re going to keep on pushing,” Schein said. “We’re not the only community or the only riding affected; I know this is an issue south of us and north of us. So we’ll keep on bringing it up, getting together, fighting on it.” 




Photos by Jessica Rose Powell.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    On emissions: has anyone compared the amount of emissions from the new trains compared with all the cars in the area?

    • Anonymous

      From what I’ve heard, the new trains will not be running anywhere near capacity in terms of ridership, so the pollution they emit will not be offset by the number of cars taken off the roads. But even if it was, that concentration of pollution in a densely-populated area would not be acceptable given the technology that exists to eliminate the issue (i.e. electric trains).

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neville-Ross/100002343524258 Neville Ross

        The only problem with your argument (and everybody else’s) is this: what will power these trains? At present, the only power we have is coal and gas powered plants, so there will still be emissions. If this train was to be truly green, we be using nuclear power to do it, but you know how people are about nuclear power-it’s the spawn of Satan as far as most people are concerned.

        • Anonymous

          Hydro represents 25-30% of electricity generation in Ontario. New capacity is being added at Niagara which will probably more than cover the electricity needs of the trains. Just the emerging wind and solar sector of power generation likely represents enough electricity for the needs of electric trains.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neville-Ross/100002343524258 Neville Ross

            I’m sorry, but I don’t trust wind or solar to power the grid for something that has a a big pull like an electric train-for that matter, neither do the French, since all of France is powered by nuclear reactors. I think that it’s time we stop this insane hatred of it and develop some sense about nuclear power rather than the fear-mongering truthiness that we collectively have about it now.

          • Anonymous

            Wind+solar is very consistent. How often it it both cloudy and windless?

          • Anonymous

            In Canada, half of the year. And it’s still not consistent enough to be basing a grid running EMU’s on.

          • Anonymous

            I’ll rephrase: how often is neither sunny nor windy acorss the entire province/country?
            Also, even it works half the year, we use other powr sourcesd for the other half. :-)

          • Anonymous

            My counter to yours: I’d still rather have this than have what you (and the CTC members) obviously want. This is the same type of power used in France, and it provides the power needed to run TGV trains from Paris to Cannes. As I said, it’s time to stop believing in fear/scare-mongering truthiness about nuclear power, and in truth and sense about it instead.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the difference between chanting “Subways! Subways! Subways!” and “Clean Trains Now!” if both fail to talk about how to pay the extra costs?

    • Scott

      Metrolinx’s own studies show that an electric system would have more stops, more users, more reveue, and save money. In terms of extra money, why built something twice?

      • Anonymous

        Because you’re not building it twice. The only difference between diesel and electric is the *addition* to the existing infrastructure of 25,000volt AC overhead wire and either replacement of the DMU powertrains or acquisition of electric trains and redeployment of the diesels (which will be far cleaner than for instance the VIA trains passing on the same line towards Kitchener)

    • Bane

      Nowhere in Mr. Schein’s call for action is a cost proposal. Does he plan to fund this with good will?

      • Anonymous

        Costs have been weighed in Metrolinx’s studies. The electric trains have a longer lifespan and require less investment in air and noise pollution mitigation. It is also cheaper to buy electric trains than diesel trains only to convert the diesel trains in the future, which is the province’s current plan.

  • Scott

    It’s called Junction Triangle.

  • Kol Klink

    this is just silly, the added pollution from these trains will be in a drop in the bucket, i would like to see some hard data that they will negatively affect air quality, you know how many diesel/gasoline cars pass through that area every day.

    • Nick

      I agree. The Tier 4 diesel engines that are being sourced for the ARL are so modern that they don’t exist yet, although I read recently that GE has some spiffy hybrid locomotives in the works. I think the protesters are complaining about the smelly old diesel locomotives of yore. This is like comparing a belching 10 year old F150 diesel pickup to a Mercedes BlueTec diesel, where you can hardly notice the emissions.

      • Anonymous

        Nick – the engines are probably going to be Cummins both because they will have Tier 4 engines but also for Buy America content for the concurrent contract for Sonoma-Marin Transit (SMART) in California.

      • Anonymous

        I wouldn’t idle a Mercedes BlueTec diesel next to my house with an open window. You know there’s toxic pollution coming out of the tailpipe, even if there’s not as much as before. Improvements to engines are made, but these motors always pollute. If you have a lot of diesel trains in operation as planned in the ARL/Kitchener GO rail corridor, you’ll have a lot of pollution and noise. You’d probably go electric if Ford or Mercedes offered an electric truck with the same capabilities that you wanted that was cheaper to operate and better for the environment. If the technology is available that does what we want, we should logically embrace it. That’s what electric trains mean.

        • Nick

          a) I wouldn’t do it if it cost 2 or 3 times more, which is the case with many electric vehicles right now and is true for the electrification costs. But I certainly would have my window open if a BlueTec diesel drove by. Don’t get me wrong, I know that electrification is superior, but the money is simply not here in Canada. If we lived in Germany, yes, the feds would be funding this a part of a sensible urban transit strategy, but Harper and Co. aren’t about to do so. Let’s get this built and then have the conversion talk down the line.

          • Anonymous

            Conversion might not happen in a generation without a real commitment from the province, which is a lot of time and a lot of pollution. Electrification isn’t beyond our reach in this highly used rail corridor. We’re building the project right now; we might as well electrify now.

    • Anonymous

      The planned expansion of passenger rail services in this area is going to be huge, so of course pollution is going to increase greatly if the trains are diesel. Talk with groups like the Clean Train Coalition who can show you the data, and read the Toronto Medical Officer of Health’s report where he criticizes the use of diesel trains for such a historic expansion in service. Why is silly to oppose air pollution when we have the technology to mitigate these concerns, the kind of technology has proven itself around the world for decades?

  • Anonymous

    My understanding is that, with the Stage 4 diesels, the ARL will be well within all current pollution standards, even in worst-case weather conditions and operating assumptions. Moreover, the Medical Officer of Health is on board with the plan to operate diesels now and electrify eventually. And the ARL will indeed have a stop at Weston and thereby serve the junction. What’s left, other than NIMBYism?

    • Scott

      The issue is that as a taxpayer and a transit user an electric system is far superior, that’s why nobody is building new diesel commuter systems. An electric system also has the benefit that as the grid gets greener, so does the system. A fuel based system never gets greener. I would remind people that if you read this story people are in fact asking for MORE trains so the NIMBY argument, which is usually used in place of a real position, makes little sense. I was at the rally and people from Liberty Viollage, Queen Street, and St. Clair were asking for MORE trains, MORE stops. It helps if you know what you are talking about it.

      • Anonymous

        Right, but here’s the thing. The current plan is to have both: a diesel ARL in the short term, and an electrified GO system in the long term. You’re saying you only want the electrified GO, thus halting an ARL that is fully funded and approved, that we’ve been waiting 15 years to get. Saying you want “more” trains while wanting to cancel a project that’s ready to go is exactly — exactly — like Mayor Ford saying he wants subways. You don’t get credit for being in favor of a plan that doesn’t exist.

        • Testu

          This is exactly what happens every time we try to expand transit in Toronto. The plans are made, debated and approved, then someone gets a bug up their arse about something in the plan and the whole project is put on hold indefinitely or scrapped entirely.

          This is why the only significant transit improvements in the GTA in the last 20 years have been happening in the suburbs.

        • Anonymous

          But people want a real commitment to electrification, not a vague reassurance that one day it’ll happen. The ARL will go ahead no matter what kind of trains are going to be used. It’s not going to get cancelled.

          • Anonymous

            Now that the money and plans are on the table, another indefinite delay on the ARL may as well be a cancellation.

          • Anonymous

            It won’t get cancelled because of electrification. Its profile is now too high for the government to back down. The main expenditures–corridor widening, convertible vehicles–have already been accounted for and are under construction.

      • Anonymous

        What are you talking about? There are all sorts of new diesel commuter trains – Capital Metro in Austin, A-Train in Dallas, WES in Portland, FrontRunner in Salt Lake, Music City Star in Nashville, NorthStar in Minneapolis … all of these are less than five years old AND ALL OF THEM ARE DIESEL. Montreal’s new Repentigny-Mascouche Line is electric by necessity in the tunnel to Central Station but then switches to diesel rather than continue as electric.

        Electric is great but no one can afford it, which is why no new commuter service in the US or Canada uses it. I’m sorry it’s not perfect, but Diesel is perfectly reasonable for urban commuter lines.

        • RepoTXTN

          I can only speak for Dallas and Nashville being from Dallas and now living in Nashville. I rode the Dart daily in Dallas and now the Music City Star in Nashville.

          Dallas should not really be used as an example of Diesel. Though the A-Train may be diesel, the work-horse for the Dallas train system is the Dart, which has been in operation very successfully since 1996 and is electric. Current ridership on the Dart is close to 90,000 trips per week, versus about 1500 per week on the A-Train. The A-Train is a Denton County train that basically gets you from one outlying area into the Dart system which covers much greater area and carries the bulk of the train riding population in Dallas. It would be inaccurate to paint the A-Train as the default Dallas train option.

          As far as Nashville, the Music City Star, a diesel, has been in operation for around 6 years. The Star has had some success, but I would say it has been somewhat of a struggle. Ridership is currently around 1200 riders per day. Tracks are rented/leased pre-existing tracks with no real options for expansion. For example, the train runs from outlying areas to the Nashville river-front downtown rather than being spread throughout the city like the Dallas light-rail. Since the train can’t expand from that point, most riders are forced to catch shuttles and/or city buses to continue the commute to their office. My commute after exiting the train involves hopping a shuttle and then a city bus which ultimately gets me to the office. The Dart in Dallas had stops throughout the city, with stops generally a few minutes from your office. Also, to be considered are also noise issues. Both the A-Train and Star suffer from noise complaints from the various neighborhoods they travel through. Ticket cost on the Star is much higher on than the Dart also. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with Diesel vs Electric, but a Dart day pass is $4. A one-way ticket on the Star is $5, more than double the cost.

          • Anonymous

            DART is light rail. It has nothing to do with this discussion, unless you are advocating that the airport link be light rail (a technical impossibility, I believe, since it uses rail lines that require federal heavy-rail safety standards). Speaking of light rail, I would love to see the Eglinton LRT get out to the airport to perform the kind of frequent-service, low-cost transport that DART provides to DFW and Love Field. For this to be a possibility in our lifetime the Eglinton LRT needs to be on the surface west of Keele (to keep costs down), which is why the Idiot Mayor was rightfully slapped on the wrist for his inane bury-the-LRT argument.

            Whether or not A-Train or Music City Star are popular or financially successful (hardly expected in their auto-dependent environments) is not relevant. What matters is that a technology was needed for a new commuter rail line and the choice that was made was diesel.

            For a straightforward commuter rail service, diesel-electric is not perfect, but perfectly reasonable.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s look at the wider context here — look at this chart of US and Canadian airport rail links that was originally posted in a BlogTO story on the cost of the ARL:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/76986612/Airport-Link-Fare-Comparison-Chart

    Not counting Toronto, there are 13 other commuter rail airport links that are diesel.

    There are 3 that are electric.

    It is a lovely goal to ask for electric trains — of course those are the gold standard and a nice thing to have if money and time are no object. But in the real world, as a practical matter, are diesel trains still a reasonable standard? The evidence suggests yes.

    We need to move on to other transit matters like the DRL rather than argue this endlessly.

    • Anonymous

      Maglev is the gold standard. Electric is passé. Get out more.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neville-Ross/100002343524258 Neville Ross

        But maglev is prohibitively expensive, and Canadians wouldn’t bother to build one (heck, we haven’t even built ordinary electric HSR lines between each city yet.) Myself, I’d love to see maglev lines be built instead, or a maglev line to the airport, but as I said, Canadians seem to have NO IMAGINATION on building any of these technologically advanced things beyond building an arm for the space shuttle.

        • Anonymous

          Agree, it’s funny all the people posting that moving from diesel to electric trains would bring Toronto into “the future” sorry kids that’s not the case.

    • Anonymous

      These trains are also important because at present in the Canadian market DMUs only exist on the VIA Sudbury-White River line and the light rail O-Train in Ottawa. Having a 21st century train of up to four coaches which can operate on the mainline should be something VIA and GO should be acquiring for thinner routes like Union-Stouffville or Union-Kitchener-Sarnia, as opposed to a “Tier 0″ smoke belching F40PH trailing a mere 2 coaches as is the current mid-day VIA service to Sarnia, while GO has no small unit between their 10/12 car monster trains and a bus.

    • Anonymous

      It’s the 21st century and the issue is about a massive expansion of GO services and the ARL in a densely-populated corridor. We can effectively mitigate the pollution issues of the expansion with electric trains. Why not attain a high standard, if the studies show that it’s cheaper to run electric trains?

      • Anonymous

        We can also mitigate the pollution issues with Tier 4 diesels, which satisfy all current pollution standards. So at this point, harping on the pollution issue is nothing but scare-mongering. I hope you will protest just as loudly if the TTC proposes to increase (diesel) bus service to/through the Junction.

        • Anonymous

          But the volume of trains that will be operated in this corridor makes electrification the logical option, as many experts and transit advocates such as Steve Munro agree. Even the cleanest diesels meeting current technical standards are going to be detrimental to the environment in the high volumes that this corridor will see. We used to have streetcars and trolleybuses in The Junction, and after the introduction of diesel buses, the service seemed to have declined in ridership. Fortunately we still have the 512 streetcar.

          • Anonymous

            The “logical option” is to build the project that is approved, funded, and ready for construction. Good day.

          • Anonymous

            So let’s continue to build the ARL, and use electric trains! Electrification has already been approved and partially funded through the purchase of convertible trains. Now we need a real commitment as to when it will happen, and now is a good time. The reason it’s not happening immediately is supposedly because only diesel will be ready for the Pan Am games–a two week sporting event. Rob Ford’s Eglinton LRT subway was approved, funded, and ready for construction, yet that didn’t mean that we couldn’t have a better option for transit expansion. One has to fight the good fight.

          • Anonymous

            I wasn’t going to continue this conversation, but … what? When was Ford’s Eglinton subway ever approved or ready for construction?

          • Anonymous

            He made a deal with McGuinty to change the transit expansion plan in Toronto and construction began on the central part, with the rest of the line essentially treated as an extension. Of course, council didn’t approve it after about a year, but it seemed to be a done deal at the time. The tunnel boring machines would have just gone further.

            What’s happening with the ARL is that it’s under construction with trains purchased that can support electrification. Fighting the good fight isn’t going to stop the ARL and send it back to the proverbial drawing board. It would take slightly longer to put up the wires, but it would not mean scrapping the project and starting over again. It’s too late to stop it. There’s advanced construction throughout the corridor and trains ordered. What we need is the last step: a real commitment to electrification.

  • Anonymous

    Schein: “It’s not an affordable neighbourhood, “but it’s one of the more affordable neighbourhoods, and these people have put all their money into their mortgages and now they’re going to be screwed. And they don’t know about it necessarily.”

    It was an affordable neighbourhood, but the prices cranked up after buyers convinced themselves that they were getting a deal on houses in what they saw as “High Park North”. The Junction is a former industrial zone that was home to some serious polluters. If diesel train opponents really want to scare themselves, they should buy a soil testing kit and check their backyards.

    It’s not as if most Toronto house buyers do much due diligence before buying a house, and it’s unlikely the next wave of buyers will see anything but coffee shop proximity and counter tops when making a decision.

    • Anonymous

      People bought in The Junction for The Junction, not “High Park North”, whatever that is. It’s a beautiful, historic area. A lot of remediation and deindustrialization has taken place in the past decades setting the stage for the present revitalization. A lot has been invested in the great area, and it entered the 21st century as a great place to be with renewed attention. We need success stories to keep old Toronto neighbourhoods vital and relevant into the future. Would you rather The Junction and surrounding neighbourhoods be a dirty and ugly dump with abandoned buildings to the north of leafy High Park–the sort of contrast you see Detroit?

      • Anonymous

        I want the Junction to be just as vibrant as the Annex, which also has a busy rail line running through it.

        • Anonymous

          If that railway corridor saw the kind of expansion that this corridor will see, electrification would also make sense. But no GO trains or airport trains use it. It’s not comparable at all to the situation in The Junction, because that same line which passes through The Annex also passes through The Junction. West Toronto Diamond, the railway junction from which the neighbourhood’s name is derived, is the intersection of three railway corridors. The one in question in this discussion will be one of the busiest in Canada.

  • Josh Gould

    I don’t necessarily disagree with adding more stations, but that’s not the major problem with the ARL. The major problem which dwarfs anything else is the fact that it’s being sold and built as a “luxury” or “business” service at ridiculously high price. We’ll have a choice between the $25 train or the continuing “service” of taking a bus to Kipling which hardly serves anyone not going downtown.

    Of course, if the Eglinton LRT were to be funded right to airport NOW rather than in 10+ years, this would be less of a problem. But I guess the “financial district” crowd needs their subsidies for their diesel “business” ARL, leaving everyone else on a crowded uncomfortable bus.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t get the objection to the price. You just spent, like, $800 on a ticket to Vancouver, why do you need a $3 subsidized trip to the airport?

    • Anonymous

      $25 is still half the price of a taxi. Less than half if you hit rush hour.

  • Anonymous

    We do need electric transit to the airport – TORONTO CITY CENTRE AIRPORT. Maybe if Adam Vaughan pushed for the TTC to construct a 200m extension of the streetcar to the quayside with service from Bathurst as well as Union, we’d have fewer taxis clogging up his neighbourhood. Now that WestJet is getting Q400s I guess we can expect even more passengers there.

  • Anonymous

    I was surprised to see Adam Vaughan protesting the airport in March. I had him pegged as more of a pragmatist.

    • Anonymous

      The downtown councillors have a weird blind spot about TCCA, because David Miller campaigned against it. Ironically, if the ARL had been around in 2004, the island airport would probably be dead by now.

    • Anonymous

      Concerns about the project are purely pragmatic. After all, everyone wants better service and to live well in good health.