Union Station in Toronto, Canada, is being upgraded as part of the GO Expansion programme. Being implemented by Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario, the GO Expansion project seeks to transform the GO regional public transit system with the goal of providing efficient, bi-directional, all-day service.
It is expected to transform the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s transportation network over the next decade.
Opened in 1927, Union Station is the busiest multi-modal passenger transit hub in the country. Designated as a national historic monument, it serves more than 250,000 people a day, and 65 million passengers a year.
Construction of the Union Station Enhancement Project is expected to be completed in late 2025. The project is estimated to involve an investment of C$562m ($392.72m).
Details of the Union Station Enhancement Project
The Union Station enhancement project involves improvements to the track, stairways, platforms, elevators, and access.
It will include two new wide GO train platforms, with canopies, and the construction of a new south passenger concourse connecting the existing York, Bay, and Via concourses, Union Square, and Scotiabank Galleria.
Furthermore, two new passenger train tracks and associated signalling systems will be installed. The tracks are expected to enable train speeds of up to 72km/h in the future.
The project will also include the development of a stormwater management system and other building systems. It will allow for future electrification and level boarding of trains.
Commenced in 2018, preparation works for the USEP included restoring heritage infrastructure throughout the station, and increasing platform efficiency.
Platform 3, which is the northern most platform of the station, was reopened in January 2022 after extensive historic conservation and repair work.
The onversion of platform 20/21 into a shared space for VIA Rail and GO Transit customers was completed in February 2022.
Three new stairways were built and new customer communications systems, with travel information, were installed as part of the renovation. New PRESTO payment devices were installed at the bottom of the escalators and stairs leading to platform 20/21.
Platforms 24/25 and 26/27 will be closed and demolished as part of the USEP.
Benefits of the Union Station enhancement project
The USEP is expected to reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel consumption. In addition, it will decrease daily commuting times.
The project will improve access and connections at Union Station.
Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx signed an alliance development agreement with ONTrack Alliance to provide the design, schedule, and cost estimate of USEP, in November 2020.
Metrolinx and ONTrack Alliance signed the project alliance agreement for the station enhancement project in January 2022.
ONTrack Alliance comprises a Kiewit-Alberici Union General Partnership, WSP Canada, and Mass. Electric Construction (MEC).
Kiewit-Alberici Union General Partnership, which is a joint venture (JV) between Kiewit & Alberici, is responsible for the construction of the project while WSP Canada (WSP) is the lead designer, and MEC is undertaking the signalling works.
WSP oversees the design work, including all structural, utility, drainage, civil, electrical, mechanical, traffic, and environmental designs.
Smith + Andersen, a Canadian firm, received a contract to serve as the mechanical and electrical design consultant for the preparatory work and historic restoration part of the USEP.
Entuitive, a consulting engineering company, was engaged as the prime consultant to provide design and contract management services for the enabling works contract. It assisted in legal and technical discussions with government agencies and coordinating work with local utility providers. The company developed the reference concept designs and output specifications for the public-private partnership (P3) arrangements.
SEMP, an engineering consultant based in England, was appointed to conduct systems engineering and assurance activities up to the concept design stage of the project.
ERA Architects and RDH Architects (RDHA) were also appointed as contractors for the Union Station upgrade project.