Project Status Update

Updated: August 4, 2015

Next Steps

Since the funding announcement for electrification in April 2015, staff with international expertise in electrification and a technical advisor (Gannett Fleming, Inc.) have been brought on board to support moving forward with the electrification of the rail network.

Construction commitments require Metrolinx to complete the environmental assessment by the end of 2016 and consultations are likely to begin this fall. Pre-consultation activities on electrification will focus on building understanding of electrification, the infrastructure required to support it and information on health and the environment. These materials were created to support the electrification study and will be re-purposed to start building public awareness as we move in to consultations. Detailed design and phasing will follow the approval of the environmental assessment.

Environmental Assessment: (February 24, 2015)
An Environmental Assessment (EA) is required for all large-scale projects that have potential impact on the environment.

Electrification of the rail corridor is one of these large-scale projects and Metrolinx has now completed both a Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) for the Union Pearson (UP) Express (completed in December 2014), and a Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for Minor Transmission conducted by Hydro One (completed February 2015).

On February 13, 2015, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change advised that after review of the Part II Order request received on the UP Express Traction Power Substation Class EA (by Hydro One), an Individual Environmental Assessment is not required. As a result, the TPAP and Class EA processes are now complete and the UP Express Electrification project may proceed subject to any other applicable permits/approvals.

What Does This Mean?
With these approvals in place, Metrolinx is continuing the preparatory work necessary for electrification of the Union Pearson Express rail corridor. We are currently developing plans for the Regional Express Rail program, which includes electrification of not just the Union Pearson Express, but also GO rail services over a much broader area. These plans will be finalized soon.

What's Next? (December 2014)
We need to secure a power supply. Metrolinx is initiating the connection assessment and approval process with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). The IESO balances the supply of and demand for electricity in Ontario. Anyone planning to construct a new connection to, or planning to modify an existing connection to the IESO-controlled grid is required to complete the Connection Assessment and Approvals process. This process assesses the impact of new or modified connections on the reliability of the integrated power system.

Metrolinx has been working closely with Hydro One to design the Traction Power Substation (TPS) and the connection proposal. A System Impact Assessment is a mandatory assessment conducted by the IESO to assess the impact of the connection proposal on the reliability of the integrated power system. The power demand of traction power supply systems is different from the power demand produced by the usual utility loads. Since this will be the first TPS connection in Ontario, Metrolinx will work very closely with the IESO and Hydro One to mitigate any potential impacts on the reliability of the system.

Environmental Project Report

On April 1, 2014, Metrolinx issued a Notice of Completion for the UP Express Electrification Environmental Project Report (EPR). The EPR was made available for a 30-day public review and comment period. Following this review period, all submitted comments were reviewed by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) as part of their 35-day review. The Minister of the Environment did not issue a notice under subsection 12(1) of the Transit Regulation within the time period set out in the regulation. Therefore, Metrolinx has now submitted a Statement of Completion to the MOE to complete the Transit Project Assessment Process.

Metrolinx will implement the UP Express Electrification project as set out in the EPR, and all permits and approvals required to proceed with the construction and operation of the project will be obtained.

To view the report, please click the links below:

Executive Summary
EPR Table of Contents and Glossary
EPR Chapter 1 – Introduction
EPR Chapter 2 – Assessment of Facility Locations
EPR Chapter 3 – Scope of the Project
EPR Chapter 4 – Baseline Conditions
EPR Chapter 5 – Detailed Project Description
EPR Chapter 6 – Impact Assessment & Monitoring
EPR Chapter 7 – Commitments & Future Work
EPR Chapter 8 – Consultation
EPR Chapter 9 – Approvals and Permits

EPR Appendices
Appendix A - Natural Environment Assessment Report
Appendix B - Land Use Assessment Report
Appendix C - Cultural Heritage Assessment Report
Appendix D - Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment Report
Appendix E - Air Quality Assessment Report
Appendix F - Noise and Vibration Assessment Report
Appendix G - Visual Impact Assessment Report
Appendix H - Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Report
Appendix I - Traffic Report
Appendix J - Consultation Record
Appendix K - Utilities Report
Appendix L - Maintenance Facility Conceptual Design Report

Conceptual Design

The conceptual design report is comprised of several sub-reports.

Part 1 – Lakeshore, Kitchener, and Union Station Rail Corridor - Network
Part 2 - Lakeshore West Corridor
Part 3 - Kitchener Corridor
Part 4 - Lakeshore East Corridor
Part 5 - Union Station Rail Corridor (USRC)
Part 6 - Maintenance Facilities

Supporting Material
Quality Assurance Plan
Communications & Consultation Plan
Risk Management & Conceptual Design Risk Register

January/February 2014 Public Open Houses: UP Express Electrification Environmental Assessment (EA)

As part of the Environmental Assessment (EA) process, Metrolinx and Hydro One held joint Public Open Houses in January/February 2014 to share a project update, and seek feedback on the following:

  • Overview of Preliminary Design for Union Pearson (UP) Express Electrification:
    • Traction Power Supply (Hydro One)
    • Traction Power Distribution
    • Maintenance Requirements
    • Construction Activities
  •  EA Studies (including potential environmental effects, mitigation measures)
  • Next Steps/Timelines

The update is summarized on the Public Open House display panels and on the Hydro One website.


Notice of Commencement (pdf)


June 2013 Public Open Houses: UP Express Electrification Environmental Assessment (EA)

As part of the Environmental Assessment (EA) process, Metrolinx held a series of Public Open Houses in June 2013 to share a project update, and seek feedback on the following:

  • Overview of Conceptual Design for Union Pearson (UP) Express Electrification:
    • Traction Power Supply
    • Traction Power Distribution
    • Maintenance Requirements
  • Overview of EA Studies
  • Next Steps

The Project Scope, EA Process, Power Distribution, Study Areas, and more is outlined on the Public Open House display panels.
Comments and questions from the Public Open Houses (June 2013) have been compiled in a Summary Report.

June 2012 Public Meeting: Electrification Project Update

In June 2012 Metrolinx held a Public Meeting to share an Electrification project update:

  • Introduction of the Electrification Team
  • Overview of work completed to date:
    • Electrification Study
    • Metrolinx Recommendations
  • Obtain feedback on key issues and opportunities related to this work and consultation process
  • Next steps

For more information please see the presentation from this meeting.

Comments and questions from the Public Meeting (June 2012) have been compiled in a Summary Report and appendices.

    Electrification Performance Specifications: October 2014

    Electrification Performance Specifications: Executive Summary

    1. Traction Power Supply System
    2. Traction Power Distribution System
    3. Grounding and Bonding
    4.  Electromagnetic Compatibility
    5. Signal System Compatibility
    6. Operations and Maintenance
    7. Maintenance Facilities: Part 1
    8. Maintenance Facilities: Part 2
    9. SCADA System
    10. Operations Control Centre
    11. System Integration
    12. System Assurance
    13. Safety and Security
    14. Sustainability

    Electrification Reports

    1 Traction Power System Modeling and Simulations


    Project Background

    Preliminary Design and Environmental Assessment

    Based on the 2010 Electrification Study, Metrolinx initiated the Environmental Assessment (EA) for electrification of the Union Pearson (UP) Express service from Union Station to Toronto Pearson International Airport. The proposed undertaking involves electrification of approximately 25km of track along the Union Station GO rail corridor and the Kitchener GO rail corridor, beginning west of the Union Station train shed to Highway 427, where the route then follows the new UP Express spur link to Terminal 1 (Toronto Pearson). The key map below shows the EA study area:

    Key Map

    The scope of the project includes engineering design of the electrical power supply and distribution for the UP Express service, including the following components:

    • Power Supply
    • Power Distribution
    • Maintenance Requirements

    Following the June 2013 Public Open Houses, additional design work was undertaken to confirm the traction power supply requirements related to electrifying UP Express. As a result, it was determined that only one transformer station will be required in the vicinity of the existing Richview Hydro One substation located at the southeast corner of Highway 27 and Dixon Road (see key map above). The new transformer station will be supplied from the Hydro One network.

    Overview of TPAP Process

    Metrolinx and Hydro One are proposing to carry out an Integrated EA process in order to satisfy both Metrolinx’s requirements under the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) (O. Reg. 231/08) as well as Hydro One’s requirements under the Class EA for Minor Transmission Facilities (Class EA). The graphic below illustrates the Integrated EA process steps.

    TPAP Process

    Electrification Study: Findings and Final Report

    On May 26, 2009, Metrolinx announced that it would be undertaking a one-year study on the feasibility of electrification of the entire GO rail system. In comparison to other similar studies, this study was unique as it examined the entire GO rail system. It was comprehensive in its approach and addressed the impact of different technologies at a high level of detail. The Study considered the economic, social, environmental, health, and technological factors for current and future diesel and electric technologies. The study was completed in December 2010.

    On January 19, 2011, Metrolinx released the findings of its comprehensive study on the electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system and the future Air Rail Link (ARL), as a future alternative to Tier-4 diesel trains.

    After a careful review of the findings, the staff recommended to the Metrolinx Board of Directors to proceed with the electrification of the GO Kitchener (formerly) Georgetown and Lakeshore corridors in phases, beginning with the ARL on the Kitchener corridor. At its Board meeting on January 26, 2011, the Metrolinx Board of Directors approved the staff recommendation, subject to provincial funding. The Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Transportation, has funded the environmental assessment for Phase 1: the Air Rail Link from Union Station to Pearson Airport as a first step toward electrification.

    Reference Materials

    Shortly after Metrolinx announced that it would undertake a comprehensive study of the electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system, the Metrolinx Board of Directors established a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to assist in developing the Terms of Reference for the study.

    The CAC provided substantive advice to Metrolinx, helping to shape the Terms of Reference for the Electrification Study. The CAC, whose mandate was complete once the Terms of Reference were developed, consisted of a diverse group of transit and engineering experts, community leaders, GO Transit riders, and urban planners. Members of the former CAC have been invited to continue their participation as the Electrification Study continues.


    The Big Move



    In late 2008, Metrolinx published a Regional Transportation Plan The Big Move a multimodal vision for regional transportation to strengthen the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The Big Move sets out a fast, frequent and expanded regional rapid transit network as a key element of the plan. The plan includes establishing Express Rail and Regional Rail services at speeds and frequencies that could be enhanced by system electrification.


    Questions and/or comments are welcomed by Metrolinx at any time, you can reach the Electrification Project by email at