Category: Clean Trains

Railpath extension and green noise wall events in late June

The rail corridor is a defining feature of Sorauren Park, and two upcoming events may inspire you to embrace the corridor in new ways… never mind the cancer trains!

As part of the corridor’s expansion to accommodate approximately 200 diesel trains per day in 2015 instead of the current 50 or so, Metrolinx is planning to build noise walls taller than the Berlin Wall in certain areas, including the park. While the walls may be warranted in some areas, many people are opposed to Metrolinx’s plan, especially when it shows images of vinyl and concrete wall examples that would be graffiti bombed in about two seconds.

On Tuesday, June 25, 7 p.m., Perth Avenue Housing Co-Op, 120 Perth Avenue, Brown & Storey Architects will outline a green alternative. Come out to embrace the rail corridor with green ideas, pathways and bridges rather than walls!

An exciting development on the other side of the corridor is the planned extension of the West Toronto Railpath south from its current terminus at Dundas Street West, down to the Strachan Avenue area with a possible connection to the planned Fort York pedestrian and cycle bridge, which would link to the waterfront.

On June 26, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., at New Horizons Tower, 1140 Bloor St. W. at Dufferin, there will be a drop-in-style open house to introduce the public to the West Toronto Railpath Extension Study. The possibility of a bridge to Sorauren Park is also up for discussion. Be still our beating hearts!

Metrolinx electrification open house June 10, 11, 12

The provincial government, through its transit agency Metrolinx, is now undertaking an environmental assessment to study electrifying the Union-Pearson Express air-rail link after first building a diesel system to meet the Pan Am Games deadline in 2015. UP Express diesel trains will run by Sorauren Park 140 times a day (added to the current 50 or so trains a day currently).

Metrolinx is holding a series of public open houses to share a project update and seek feedback on issues such as traction power supply, power distribution, and maintenance requirements.

Metrolinx also claims the diesel trains it is buying for UP Express can be converted to electric propulsion. UP Express electrification would be a first step to electrifying the entire GO train network.

Four open houses will be held, all from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The remaining three dates are:

  • Monday, June 10, Metro Hall
  • Tuesday, June 11, Mimico Presbyterian Church
  • Wednesday, June 12, Mount Dennis Legion

GO has done a good job compiling electrification information, including more details on open house times and locations, at its website. Train nerds rejoice: It gets nerdy.

More information on the dangers of diesel trains (diesel exhaust is a carcinogen) and the lost opportunities with a slow, loud, polluting, and more expensive diesel service can be found at the new website,, as well as on the Sorauren Park rail corridor pages.

Metrolinx changes construction plan; no dump trucks

Thanks to a strong community response and leadership from the Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents’ Association, Metrolinx has changed its plan that would have seen up to 30 dump truck per day rumble along Wabash, Macdonell and Rideau for track construction.

Metrolinx has found an alternate solution and will not be using our local streets. Metrolinx will continue to use the 40 Wabash Avenue site (behind the linseed oil factory) to store their work materials but will access the site from the rail side. The work is expected to start very soon and last until the fall 2014.

The construction is related to the expansion of the Kitchener-Georgetown rail corridor with more tracks to accommodate the new Union-Pearson Express air-rail link and expanded GO train service.

Read Metrolinx’s Response_to_May_22_ Community_ Meeting regarding the construction.

Read Metrolinx’s East Corridor Grading, Track and Signals Construction Update – June 7, 2013

May 22 meeting to discuss Metrolinx construction at park

Councillor Gord Perks is holding a meeting to discuss the Metrolinx proposal to use the area behind 40 Wabash Avenue as a staging area for track work. 40 Wabash Avenue is the address of the abandoned linseed oil factory, the future community centre, and the land is owned by Parks, Forestry and Recreation. The access point is at the intersection of Wabash and Macdonell.

Metrolinx says it needs the space for approximately 20 months, starting this June, and predicts up to 30 dump trucks a day on neighbourhood streets during peak times. For more information, visit the Roncesvalles-Macdonell Residents’ Association website.

Meeting details:

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fern Avenue Public School – 128 Fern Avenue

Councillor Perks, Metrolinx and Parks Forestry and Recreation staff will be reviewing details of the proposed staging area.

Letter-writing bee for electric trains May 2

Wellington, NZ (population 395,000) ordered these electric train units in 2010... maybe Toronto could have electric trains too.

Wellington, NZ (population 395,000) ordered these electric train units in 2010… maybe Toronto could have electric trains too.

Everyone’s invited to a special meeting of the Wabash Building Society on May 2, when we’ll have all the supplies necessary for a community letter-writing bee to advocate for electric trains instead of carcinogenic diesel trains on the rail corridor beside the park.

This is your chance to take concrete action in an easy, fun, productive way. All ages invited, especially kids.

Help send a message to Queen’s Park! We’ll deliver the letters.

Our provincial leaders could have chosen years ago to opt for cleaner, faster, quieter, lighter, cheaper electric trains for the new rail link connecting Pearson Airport to Union Station. The air-rail link, now called UP Express, could have been a model for eventual electrification of the entire GO train system.

Instead, the government wasted years, then ordered Metrolinx to purchase diesel trains in a deal with a California State transit agency. All to meet the Pan Am Games deadlines.

Do we want cancer trains as a legacy of the Pan Am Games? When there has always been a better alternative?

Read the open letter to Premier Wynne describing how diesel trains fail on all counts: health, environment, economic, transit, social justice. (The diesel train service is designed for the downtown One Percenters who can afford the $20-$35 one-way fare, not the people who live along the rail corridor. It is not public transit to the airport; compare Vancouver’s $3.75 fare to its airport on the electric Canada Line.)

The City of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, Professional Engineers of Ontario, Auditor General, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and many transit experts are among those who have spoken out against the current plan for the diesel air-rail link, for many reasons.

Write your own letter. Learn the facts. Help protect the health of those who use Sorauren Park and who live along the rail corridor. Make a difference in the next provincial election.

Come to the letter-writing bee:
Thursday, May 2, starting 7 p.m. at the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse
50 Wabash Ave.

A Canadian company called Bombardier makes electric commuter trains for markets around the world. Maybe Toronto could have electric trains, too.

A Canadian company called Bombardier makes electric commuter trains for markets around the world. Maybe Toronto could have electric trains, too.