The Government of Ontario has announced the commencement of the GO Rail Network Electrification Transit Project Assessment Process. The process builds on public consultations held last year and will assess the environmental impacts of converting core segments of the GO rail network, including the UP Express, from diesel to electric. It is a critical step towards enabling the province to begin the procurement process to select a vendor to electrify the system.
In tandem with the assessment process, Ontario is also undertaking a feasibility study on the use of hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative technology for electrifying GO rail service and the UP Express. Recent advances in the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power electric trains in other jurisdictions makes it important that Ontario consider this clean electric technology as an alternative to conventional overhead wires. As part of the study, this fall the province will bring together industry leaders in fuel cell technology for a symposium to explore the potential application of hydrogen fuel cell technology to electrify the GO rail network.
Ontario is undertaking a $21.3 billion transformation of the GO network, which is the largest commuter rail project in Canada. The investment will deliver faster and more frequent service, create thousands of jobs and improve people’s quality of life. Ontario is on track to electrify and expand the rail network, and bring more two-way, all-day service to commuters and families by increasing the number of weekly trips from about 1,500 to nearly 6,000 by 2025.
Improvements to over 30 GO stations are currently in procurement and planning work is underway with municipal partners on 12 new GO RER stations across the network. Portions of the work also support the integration of City of Toronto’s SmartTrack program with the broader GO RER program.
The Notice of Commencement and public meetings for the GO Rail Network Electrification Transit Project Assessment Process was issued June 14, 2017.