Last of new GO train cars arrives in Toronto from Thunder Bay plant

As Ontario’s economy reopens and people return to work, many GO train riders will jump on-board brand-new coaches. Over the last couple of years, Metrolinx has received 36 new train cars built by Alstom (formerly Bombardier) in Thunder Bay. Metrolinx News was there as the last of the new cars was delivered.

Metrolinx has received a new train coach that represents an important milestone in its work to prepare for Ontario’s economic reopening.

The last in an order of 36 new Canadian-made GO train coaches arrived today (date) at its Willowbrook facility in Etobicoke.

According to Steve Cavanaugh, Metrolinx director of fleet engineering and asset management, this brings the new fleet total to 364 train cars equipped with Crash Energy Management (CEM) technology and remote diagnostic systems.

GO Transit crew stand with the last bi level train car
In order from left to right, Tarique Alam, Faye Chen Naden, and Steve Cavanaugh stand with the final bi-level GO train car to arrive from Thunder Bay. (Metrolinx photo)

Cavanaugh says safety is at the forefront of the design and the CEM technology makes these the commuter cars of the future.

“The design and structure of this new car represents a quantum leap in commuter car crashworthiness, which was awarded the Railway Association of Canada award for safety for this design,” Cavanaugh says.

Cavanaugh says the new cars include an on-board diagnostic system that will provide real time data. This will help to identify problems quickly and save on maintenance costs.

Metrolinx placed the order for these trains in September 2019 and they were built in Thunder Bay by Alstom. Since 1975, 971 of the familiar double-decker train cars have been built there.

“When more of our passengers start going back to work, they are sure to enjoy riding in these brand-new coaches,” says Faye Chen Naden, Metrolinx director of rail fleet and facilities maintenance.

The last bi-level GO train on the tracks near Thunder Bay
The last of 36 new Canadian-made GO train coaches sitting at Alstom’s plant in Thunder Bay. (Alstom photo)

The contract included 31 standard cars and five of the special accessible coaches that are typically found in the middle of a train. Together they represent 6,000 new seats for GO train riders.

“We are fortunate to have these additional trains before downtown Toronto office towers reopen because they will be part of our expanding service in the months and years to come,” she says.

New cars are needed for Metrolinx’s ongoing expansion of GO train service. Going into the pandemic, almost 20 per cent more service had been added to weekly trips on Lakeshore East, Lakeshore West, Barrie, Kitchener, and Stouffville GO lines.

Story by Mike Winterburn, senior writer, Metrolinx Editorial Content