Ontario Taking Major Step Forward to Electrify the GO Rail Network

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Go Transit Train

Electrification Will Support Faster and More Frequent Service for Commuters and Families

Ontario is transforming how people get around in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and taking a major step forward to electrify the GO rail network, which will support faster and more frequent service for commuters and families across the region.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca visited the GO Transit Willowbrook Facility today to provide an update on Ontario’s work to implement GO Regional Express Rail (RER) and announce that the province has commenced 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.

Making transit faster, more convenient and more sustainable is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • The province has committed $13.5 billion to implement GO RER as part of a $21.3 billion transformation of the GO network from commuter transit to a regional rapid transit system. GO RER involves more than 500 separate projects across 40 municipalities.
  • 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.
  • Critical environmental assessment processes are also underway to expand corridors which will allow for improved service on the Lakeshore East line, Barrie line and at Union Station.
  • Infrastructure improvements to support GO RER are supporting increased service levels across the GO rail network, such as the introduction of weekend service on the Barrie line and all-day service on the Stouffville line.
  • The Notice of Commencement and Public Meetings for the GO Rail Network Electrification Transit Project Assessment Process was issued June 14, 2017.

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