Clean Train Coalition takes Metrolinx to court over diesel trains

In its fight for electric rather than diesel trains along the rail corridor beside Sorauren Park, the Clean Train Coalition has launched a legal action against Metrolinx, the provincial agency responsible for GO Transit and the forthcoming new rail link between Union Station and Pearson Airport.

Metrolinx plans a new diesel Air Rail Link (ARL) starting in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games, which would see diesel trains travel by the park every 7.5 minutes.

In June, the World Health Organization reclassified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen.

Metrolinx rail corridor beside Sorauren Park

The Metrolinx rail corridor beside Sorauren Park will carry the Air Rail Link diesel trains every 7.5 minutes. The pink line shows the proposed 5-metre high noise barrier required by the loud trains

The Clean Train Coalition is in favour of expanded rail service along the corridor using electric trains, which are cleaner, faster, lighter, quieter, can serve more stops, and in the long run are cheaper. Ontario Power Generation has said current electrical generating capacity is sufficient to serve the needs of an electrified line.

The Coalition is arguing that Metrolinx broke its mandate to build sustainable transit serving the best interests of Ontario when the provincial government ordered the agency to buy diesel trains for the Pan Am Games deadline.

Sorauren Park is the largest park immediately adjacent to the ARL rail corridor that also serves GO trains from Kitchener and Georgetown. Approximately 300,000 people live within 450 metres of the rail corridor, and the project would affect 37 schools, 40 childcare centres and four long-term care facilities.

Click here for a NOW magazine story on the lawsuit.

The diesel trains also require a 5-metre-high sound barrier along the corridor, including by Sorauren Park, which has raised security and vandalism concerns.

The Wabash Building Society is a member of the Clean Train Coalition and will be reporting on the ARL progress regularly, including notices of public meetings. You can also join the Clean Train Coalition Facebook group or visit the group’s web site, cleantrain.ca, with links to more stories from the Star, Sun, Globe and Mail, Torontoist and CTV News.

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