Image shows platforms.

Toronto’s Union Station Enhancement Project kicks off

Shovels are scheduled to break ground on the next phase of renovation at Toronto’s historic station. The completion of platform work signals the start of the Union Station Enhancement Project. Keep reading to find out more about the work that’s planned.

Starting today (Feb. 16), work to totally reinvent the south end of Union Station trainshed officially begins.

The first step is closing platforms 24 to 27 at Toronto’s main transit hub so work can start on the Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP).

To help fill that capacity, GO trains are now using the newly renovated platform 21, where the construction to convert it to a shared space for VIA Rail and GO Transit customers is complete.

The newly renovated platforms 20/21 at Toronto's Union Station.
The newly renovated platforms 20/21 at Toronto’s Union Station. (Balazs Hertel photo)

The USEP includes the design and construction of transit infrastructure and upgrades at the southernmost part of Union Station, improving the customer experience and making way for the GO Expansion program.

The project includes:

  • Two new wide GO train platforms with canopies, which will increase safety and capacity to serve more trains

  • Several new vertical access points (stairs/elevators)

  • A new south passenger concourse spanning from Bay to York Streets, with convenient open concept connections into existing Bay, VIA, and York Concourses, Union Square and Scotiabank Arena
A drone shot of Union Station tracks.
A bird’s eye view of the Union Station train tracks. (Metrolinx image)

The toil to make the progress happen

It took a lot of prep work to get to this point. Since early 2018, Metrolinx has been getting ready for USEP with:

  • Heritage Restoration, early and enabling works. This preparatory work focused on restoring heritage infrastructure throughout the station, improving platform performance, as well as ensuring the state of good repair around the station

  • The official signing of a history-making alliance contract on Jan. 31 which is the first major project in Canada to be procured using this model — an innovative procurement and delivery method recognized for delivering successful initiatives in Australia in the past 20 years

  • Reopening of platform 3 after undergoing extensive and historic conservation and restoration work

  • Completion of construction to convert platform 20/21 to a shared space with VIA Rail. Features of which include:
    • Three new stairways servicing the platform
    • New customer communications systems with trip information (previously was exclusively VIA train info)
    • Several new PRESTO devices at the bottom of the escalators and stairs to platform 20/21
One of the new stairways that leads up to platform 20/21 at Union Station
One of the new stairways that leads up to platform 20/21 at Union Station. (Balazs Hertel photo)

Ensuring Union Station has additional platforms in service is critical because the USEP work will require the closure and demolition of platforms 24/25 and 26/27 while the expansion-enabling construction takes place.

Platform 26/27 – the southernmost platform at Union – was opened in 2009 to provide capacity while various platforms were taken out of service and revitalized during the massive Union Station Revitalization Project (USRP).

Image shows the inside of Union Station
Artist’s rendering of Union Station changes. Final designs are subject to change, and this doesn’t show the current mask and social distancing rules on platforms. (Metrolinx image)

The Metrolinx component of the USRP work included the total overhaul of the trainshed roof, the installation of the iconic 70,000-square-foot glass atrium, a multi-phased platform revitalization, vertical access (stair and elevator improvements) along with smoke duct remediation – all while preserving and protecting heritage elements.

For a 90-year-old icon, the improvements keep coming.

For more information about construction at Union Station, click here.

Story by Stacey Kenny, Metrolinx corporate communications manager