Twice as good – Barrie GO prepares for future riding on double rail lines

Increased service along the transit route running north of Toronto will take a lot of planning, and ongoing discussions with communities. It will also need preparation work to eventually put in a second rail along the corridor. As a public info session is planned for tomorrow night (Nov. 28), let’s break down some of the details.

How do you strengthen an important GO Transit rail line?

You add extra steel to the muscle.

The Barrie GO corridor, which sees more than 9,000 passenger trips each day, is preparing for future expansion. That work will include doubling the tracks along a section of the route. But before that can happen, Metrolinx is laying groundwork – including needed conversations with communities potentially impacted by the work.

Image shows a new set of tracks being put down.

The Barrie corridor is preparing for more service options. That work includes setting down double tracks. (Metrolinx photo)

A Toronto public meeting will be held tomorrow night (Nov. 28) to provide an update on what’s to come along a section – dubbed Zone 1 – of the Barrie corridor, from King Street to Dundas Street, in 2020. The session will take place at 108 Gladstone Ave. from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Kelly Hagan, Metrolinx vice president, Community Relations and Communications, said the Barrie GO expansion will bring two-way, all-day service to people across Toronto, York Region and Simcoe County.

“With more frequent train service, you will have more options to get where you need to go,” Hagan said.

For the Barrie rail corridor, this includes modifications and upgrades called ‘enabling works’ that will allow for a second set of tracks to be installed in the future. The construction is needed before those new rails can be installed, and will take place over a five-year period (2019 to 2024). The doubling of tracks is necessary to support all-day, two-way GO service.

The pre-work needed consists of removing existing vegetation, relocating underground and overhead utilities, installing noise barrier wall posts and panels, installing security fencing and replanting vegetation where required.

A wall - the lower part concrete and the upper part transparent plastic - is shown.

Here’s an example of a typical noise wall installation. (Metrolinx photo)

Grascan is the contractor Metrolinx selected to complete the enabling works that will eventually allow for installation of that second track through Toronto.

“Grascan has extensive experience with heavy civil construction within the City of Toronto and understands the impacts that work can have on local residents,” said Angelo Grassa, president of Grascan Construction Ltd.

“Careful planning of the work and communication with all stakeholders will ensure a successful delivery of the Barrie GO double track enabling works with minimal impacts to the community.”

Construction activities in Zone 1 are expected to take approximately 11 months, starting in Feb 2020 and ending in Dec 2020. Residents and businesses located along the section of the corridor may experience some short-term effects of construction.

While traffic impacts will likely be minimal, any that are planned will be communicated to the public through the City of Toronto.

Noise and vibration levels are expected to be typical of construction activities and Grascan will use augers to install the noise wall posts to help minimize noise disruptions to nearby residents.

If property access is required to complete any aspects of the work, residents will be notified directly. Community members will also be notified if there are lane closures or night work.

For more information on the project, just go here.

Story by Luiza Sadowski, Metrolinx senior manager, community relations.