Get behind usually locked doors at Whitby Rail Maintenance Facility

In a rare opportunity for customers and the curious, Metrolinx – as part of the one-day Doors Open Whitby 2019 event – is allowing access to a sophisticated and important corner of our GO world that’s usually unseen by the public.

Every business has a locked door – one that’s off limits to most people.

And as a large transit agency that takes your safety seriously, we have more than a few locked tight – even as we daily open hundreds of other doors to customers. Which is why inviting the community into a fascinating facility that’s usually outside the public’s view, is kind of a big – and enlightening – deal.

As part of Doors Open Whitby 2019, an annual event that showcases the buildings, history, infrastructure, landscape and space that define Brooklin and Whitby, Metrolinx is inviting customers and the curious into our newest, state-of-the-art rail maintenance centre.

A photo showing the inside of GO Transit's Whitby Rail Maintenance Facility.
Take a peek inside GO Transit’s Whitby Rail Maintenance Facility. (Photo by Scott Money)

The Whitby Rail Maintenance Facility (WRMF), located at 625 Victoria Street East, will be open on May 4 from 10 am. to 4 pm. Completed just last year, the facility was built to ensure Metrolinx could support the biggest expansion in GO history.

And since you’ve likely never been inside before – and we’re pretty proud of it, and those who work there – we thought we’d give you some sneak-peak photos, along with some facts that will put you ahead of the tour.

Photo of a GO Train maintenance bay where trains are worked on.
There’s a lot of room inside for massive GO Trains to get worked on. (Photo by Scott Money)

First, what you’ll see when doors are open to you and your family:

  • The rail maintenance facility provides mechanical maintenance capabilities, minor and major repair functions, daily inspections, day-to-day cleaning and future operational services for 13 trains, while protection for an additional nine.
  • The facility includes approximately 500,000 square feet of infrastructure to meet GO Transit’s operational requirements. It also includes fueling and locomotive sanding, and allows GO Transit to expand its fleet – ensuring the foundation for two-way all-day service on key areas of the network.
  • In addition, the WRMF significantly reduces operation risks for GO Transit. With only one major rail maintenance facility, any operational issues at the Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility, located in Toronto’s west end, or along the corridor connecting the Willowbrook facility to other corridors, would impact all rail service. A second rail maintenance facility allows GO Transit to provide operational flexibility under emergency situations to ensure reliable transit service.
  • The facility was constructed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.

If that isn’t enough to impress others taking part, here are some numbers to keep in mind:

  • 500,000 square feet of maintenance buildings
  • 21 km – actually, a bit more – of track
  • 68 switches
  • 13 storage spots for 12-car passenger trains
  • 12 spots for coach repair
  • 11 spots for locomotive repair
  • 2 preventative maintenance bays
  • 1 train wash
  • 1 locomotive wash
  • 1 wheel shop
  • Now add in administration offices with a crew centre

We love the idea that we get to show off a great and important facility that helps us serve customers every day. And we also think it’s a chance – even for just one day – for those customers, and the community, to see the hard work and expertise that goes on behind the scenes of their journeys with us.

Here’s the key. Consider the doors open.

You can find out more about Doors Open Whitby by clicking right here.

Story by Scott Money, Metrolinx Advisor, social media and media relations