Have your say as Metrolinx moves to transform GO rail network into comprehensive, all‐day rapid transit network for Ontario

New public consultations set for project that will enable two-way all-day GO service. Here’s how you can chime in, as well as the important chapters as the plan rolls out into the future.

Don’t sell them off for just two cents.

Your opinions are worth much more, as Metrolinx is calling for public input as the transit agency moves forward with a project to dramatically increase GO Transit rail service across the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region of Ontario.

Metrolinx is en route to modernize its rail system with the implementation of the GO Expansion program – an investment program intended to provide 15-minute, all day service, faster trains, improved and new stations, along with seamless connections to a regional rapid transit network.

Starting August 18, GO Expansion is taking a step forward with the next round of public consultation, and the team wants to hear from you. The consultations will run from August 18 to September 1.

GO Expansion consists of many different projects.

The largest piece represents all the work that is required to enable service levels identified in the GO Expansion Full Business Case, including new trains, facilities, signals, systems, as well as the maintenance and operation of the system for years to come.

A level crossing with signal tower indicators in the background

An example of a level crossing with signal tower indicators in the background (Metrolinx photo)

This transformation will bring fundamental changes to GO Transit’s seven operating rail corridors. It will result in the implementation of over 205 km of new track and 680 km of electrified track that will be laid to allow for the more frequent and efficient movement of trains.

Public Consultation – Round 2

Five GO Expansion elements, all part of a single upcoming project, are undertaking a Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) or TPAP addenda regulated by the Province of Ontario, which include a series of public consultations.

There will be a total of three rounds of public consultations as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) process, and round two for the three full TPAPs is happening now.

The three (3) TPAPs for which public consultations are happening now, are – New Track and Facilities TPAP, Scarborough Junction Grade Separation TPAP, Stouffville Rail Corridor Grade Separations TPAP.

Two TPAP addenda are also taking place, for which there are two rounds of public consultations- Network-Wide Structures Project (an addendum to the Barrie Rail Corridor Expansion TPAP 2017), and an addendum to the GO Rail Network Electrification TPAP 2017.. The second and final public consultations will take place this fall.

Round one of public consultations for all five TPAPs and addenda was held in February of 2020. It consisted of 10 public meetings across the region, as part of GO Expansion. If you would like to look at the public materials from the February 2020 open houses, including meeting boards, info sheets, as well as the summary of feedback from round one, go to the Metrolinx Engage site.

Please note that while all five of the TPAPs and addenda kicked off in Round 1 together, they all have their own timelines.  Public feedback for the three full TPAPs on this round is being requested from August 18 to September 1.

Officials will be back in the Fall of this year for the final round of consultation. To stay up to date on upcoming consultation, sign-up to receive updates on upcoming Metrolinx engagement opportunities here.

Metrolinx is looking to protect staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as continuing to support residents, business and communities. During this time, upcoming open house will be presented in a virtual format.

TPAP Overview

Proposed new infrastructure, includes new tracks, switches and facilities- such as layover facilities, storage yards -throughout the network and a number of grade separations (places where the rail network is separated from the road network or other rail lines).

GO Expansion project map

GO Expansion project map showing all of the project covered in these public consultations.

Click here to see a larger version of this map.

A Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) is a focused impact assessment process created specifically for transit projects. The process involves a pre-consultation phase followed by a regulated phase (up to 120-days) and includes consultation, an assessment of positive and negative impacts, an assessment of measures to mitigate negative impacts, and documentation.

A TPAP makes sure that the natural, social, cultural, and economic environments are protected and any potential adverse effects from proposed infrastructure are either avoided, mitigated or minimized.

TPAPs are regulated by Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act, and are submitted for the Minister of the Environment Conservation and Parks’ review prior to completion.

Public, stakeholder, and Indigenous consultation occurs throughout the process.

Following the TPAP, the proposed Infrastructure will move into the detailed design and construction phases. During these phases all applicable regulations, permits, approvals and best practices will be adhered to.

A GO train makes a run along tracks during an early morning commute.

The GO Expansion project is transforming the entire GO Network (Metrolinx photo)

Environmental Studies

Environmental studies are important components of a TPAP. Along with public feedback, they inform the Draft Environmental Project Report (EPR) that becomes subject for public and Minister’s review.

These studies look at existing conditions to assess potential impacts from construction and operation of the proposed infrastructure and future train service, recommend mitigation and monitoring commitments, and provide key information for concept designs.

Environmental studies as part of a TPAP may include the following:

  • Air quality;
  • Archaeology;
  • Cultural heritage;
  • Electromagnetic fields (EMF) and electromagnetic interference (EMI);
  • Hydrogeology and groundwater;
  • Natural environment (including species-at-risk);
  • Noise and vibration;
  • Socio-economic and land use;
  • Stormwater management;
  • Transportation and traffic;
  • Utilities; and
  • Visual/aesthetic.

A list of completed environmental studies, and completed reports will be available on the Metrolinx Engage site.

To make such big changes and advancements to a transit system takes a lot of stages, studies and official process. But one important element, where we started this story, is with the feedback of the public.

Story by: Patricia Pytel, manager capital communications, GO Rail Expansion