The Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents Association has launched a petition on Change.org to electrify the Union-Pearson Express diesel train service that will start running beside Sorauren Park next year. You can sign the petition here.
The RMRA, the Wabash Building Society, the Weston Community Coalition, the West Bend Residents Association, the Junction Triangle Residents Association, the Mt. Dennis Residents Association, the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Professional Engineers of Ontario, the Clean Train Coalition, the Asthma Society of Canada, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, the Canadian Cancer Society – Ontario Division, the Toronto Environmental Alliance, and many other groups have been calling for electrification of the service for years.
Despite these protests, health evidence, environmental evidence, and economic evidence to the contrary, the Ontario Liberals decided to build a diesel service in time to serve tourists during the two-week Pan Am Games. Following the Games, the UP Express will be an expensive express train service for the downtown business class, with one-way fares expected in the $25-$35 range.
While the protests forced the Liberals to initiate an environmental assessment on electrification, it was delayed by several years, giving time for the diesel system to be installed. As well, there is no funding in place for electrification, even though Metrolinx’s own preliminary studies show that an electric system will be cheaper to operate than diesel.
- Diesel is a known carcinogen
- Diesel trains are heavier and slower to accelerate and decelerate, meaning the line can accommodate fewer stops and not serve as public transit to the airport
- Diesel is more expensive to operate than electric
- Diesel produces greenhouse gases
- Diesel is noisier and in some places may require noise walls, which will become graffiti magnets and force a visual blight on the city
- Ontario has surplus electricity
You can read an open letter to Premier Wynne covering these and other points, with links to relevant sites, here.