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Air Rail Link, Canada




Key Data


The Ari Rail Link (ARL) project includes construction of a 3.3km new rail line connecting Toronto Pearson International Airport and Union Station in downtown. The new line will share a track with the existing line of the Georgetown South project. The Georgetown South project involves infrastructure improvements to increase ridership demand and growth in future for the national railway.

The construction of the ARL is expected to begin in spring 2012 and is scheduled to be completed before the Pan American Games in 2015. The ARL will increase the total length of the line to 23.3km (14.5mi).

The line will have four stations, which include the Union Station, Bloor GO / Dundas West subway station, Weston GO station and Toronto Pearson International Airport station at Terminal 1.

The ARL is expected to be operational by 2015. The line will be used by more than five million people a year. It is expected to serve nine million travellers a year by 2020. The project is owned and operated by Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Air Rail Link project details

"The ARL is expected to be operational by 2015. The line will be used by more than five million people a year."

Transport Canada made a proposal for the airport rail link in April 2001. In November 2003, Union Pearson AirLink Group (UPAG), a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Engineers & Constructors, was assigned the task to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the rail link, known as Blue22.

The Ontario Government revised the environment assessment (EA) process from three years to six months in June 2008. The project, however, could not progress further due to regulatory hurdles and lack of consensus as well as community opposition.

Metrolinx released a new plan called the Big Move in November 2008. It proposed new a EA in December 2008 and released the final environmental project report in July 2009. In July 2010 Metrolinx was asked to build, own and operate the air rail link.

The bidding for air rail link construction was completed in August 2011. The AirLink Group, Pearson Express and Toronto Railway Airport Consortium and AirLINX Transit Partners were short listed in the bidding process.

The ARL will increase mobility by providing safe and convenient transportation accessibility. It will provide rapid and seamless passenger service between Union Station and Pearson Airport, two major transportation hubs in Canada.

It will also eliminate about 1.2 million car trips to the airport in a year and thereby reduce the road congestion, greenhouse gas and other emissions.

Infrastructure and construction of the new Canadian rail line

The AirLINX Transit Partners consortium won a C$300m (US$299m) contract in March 2011 to build the air rail link project at Toronto. The consortium includes Aecon Construction and Materials and Dufferin Construction Company.

"The Ari Rail Link (ARL) project includes construction of a 3.3km new rail line."

The construction is expected to begin construction in spring 2012 and be completed it by the end of 2014. The contractual scope includes construction of 3.3km elevated guideway which connects the existing Georgetown GO Transit line with Toronto Pearson International Airport.

A new air rail link station will be built at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminal 1.

The scope of the contract also includes multiple utility relocations and construction of crossings over three major roadways and Mimico Creek watershed.

Rolling stock for the Air Rail Link (ARL) between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Union Station

A $53m contract was awarded to the Sumitomo Corporation and its partner Nippon Sharyo in March 2011 for supplying 12 diesel multiple units (DMUs) for deployment in the air rail link.

The contract also includes six additional cars, spare parts, special maintenance tools and contingencies for Metrolinx's design changes. The cost of the project can be extended to $75m. The delivery of the vehicles is expected to be completed by 2014.

The DMU vehicles will have tier-4 diesel engines to meet the emission standards. The vehicles are convertible to electric propulsion in future. They will also be incorporated with crush energy management features. The trains will be operated at 15 minutes frequency.

The Air Rail Link will connect Toronto Pearson International Airport and Union Station.
The line will have four stations.
In March 2011, a $53m contract was awarded to the Sumitomo Corporation.