Scarborough GO rail line considered for electrification

Electrifying GO Transit rail lines is the best way forward for Metrolinx, says Clean Train Coalition spokesperson Keith Brooks.

The regional transportation authority is considering six options for GO electrification, five of which run through Scarborough, according to a recent Metrolinx study update.

“There’s no emission for electric trains,” Brooks said. “There’s nothing coming into the local communities’ airshed.”

The study, comparing benefits of electrifying the GO Transit network to using a new generation of diesel trains, is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

An update on Nov. 16 presented six electrification options, five of which include the Lakeshore East line and its four stops in Scarborough: Scarborough, Eglinton, Guildwood and Rouge Hill. Another option includes the Stouffville Line and its Kennedy, Agincourt and Milliken stops.

If Metrolinx chooses to electrify a part of the network — a decision that won’t be made before February next year — the earliest a new train could be on the rails is 2018, Metrolinx spokesperson Ian McConachie said.

The study compares electric options not to the current Tier 2 trains but to Tier 4, which is a cleaner diesel technology that will soon be available commercially, McConachie said. Some current GO Trains can be converted to Tier 4, reducing their emissions by 80 per cent, he said.

“Even Tier 4 is no comparison to electric trains,” Brooks said.

Eventually, the Clean Train Coalition would like to see all of the network electrified but wants Metrolinx to start with the planned Georgetown Expansion and Airport Rail Link, Brooks said.

He added he’s disappointed that Metrolinx committed to Tier 4 diesel trains before completing the electrification study.


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