Bloomington GO Station sees first test vehicles roll in

Signature green trains and a bus have pulled into the emerging Bloomington GO Station for the first time – signalling one of the last phases of construction. Before the first passengers embark on their journeys, the operations and construction teams work together, testing and commissioning all aspects of the station from the track to the communications systems. This is how those tests took place, as well as details on the new station.

The first stop is always an interesting one for passengers during any journey.

Though in this case, there were no paying customers, as both GO Transit trains and buses recently began arriving for testing at the soon to be opened Bloomington GO Station, located in the northeast corner of Richmond Hill.

The vehicle trials are to make sure there are no surprises with the design and measurements of the big stop, and to test all the systems and infrastructure. The testing will also identify any potential safety concerns, identify where adjustments can be made and give a better idea as to how station systems will operate once it’s open to customers.

A bus is shown pulling into a stop.
The first GO Transit bus recently pulled into Bloomington GO Station. (Brian Main photo)

As part of GO Expansion, the all-new Bloomington station in York Region, at Highway 404 and Bloomington Road, will provide customers with more service options on the Richmond Hill line. The station has ample parking for vehicles and bikes, a passenger drop-off and pick-up area as well as a modern waiting area with heated shelters.

Now the next step is to collect information from the testing and adjust procedures accordingly. While the first trains rolled in at a cautious 10mph, the subsequent tests will be at speeds up to 25mph.   The bus slid into place seamlessly, and passed all clearance tests, which confirmed the bus bay is clear for the safe movement of buses within the platforms.

A GO train pulls slowly in as staff stand on the platform.
A GO train pulls slowly in as staff stand on the platform. (Brian Main photo)

Officials say the testing has gone well, but like any trial, every bit of data is mulled over and changes made and items perfected where needed.

A train sits at the platform.
Another platform view that customers will soon regularly see at the stop. (Brian Main photo)

The Station – Preserving Wetlands and Welcoming Frogs

The design of the station maximizes the space while minimizing the use of the land. This was achieved by incorporating multi-level parking which preserves significant surrounding wetlands. Metrolinx also incorporated design features on site and in the building to minimize the impact on the surrounding area. This includes stormwater management, preservation of a pond within the station site, and accommodations to allow minimum disruption to the surrounding ecology. For example, the design keeps the migration paths open within the local frog habitat with a specialized underground crossing from an existing pond to neighbouring wetlands.

The building is also designed to collect water and reuse it around the site.  The roof of the station is also equipped with solar panels to help generate electricity and the station uses low-energy LED lights. These are just some of the features experts have incorporated to help reduce the overall carbon footprint. The station was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, which is a green building certification program used worldwide.

Accessible ramps are found throughout the structure to allow passengers access to every level of the station. There’s also two elevators for customers to navigate the four storeys.

Open Concept Design

The building is open concept and has a large open-air glass enclosed atrium, which allows for plenty of natural lighting and views from all three levels of the garage. There are well positioned lights along the various ramps to help guide customers when the sun goes down. The front of the structure has a large waiting area, which provides a view of the protected green space and neighbouring wetlands, as well as the nearby Hwy 404.

Once complete, later this year, Bloomington will provide better connections for all commuters. The station’s proximity to Highway 404 provides easy access for drop off and pickups.

A bus loop with six bus bays will provide local transit connections, and a bike lane and bike shelters with direct access to the platform will keep commuters safe and connected.

Story by Patricia Pytel, Metrolinx manager of Capital Communications.