Improvements continue at Toronto’s iconic transit hub as part of the Union Station Enhancement Project

Work on the Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP) is in full swing. Metrolinx News dives into what’s on the horizon for this transformative project, which will help prepare Union Station for increased GO service levels planned as part of the GO Expansion program. Keep reading to find out more about the progress that’s been made.

If you frequent Union Station, you’ve likely noticed that GO platforms 24 to 27 are closed and that construction is happening between the Bay and York Concourses. So, what’s happening?

Union Station is no stranger to upgrades, and the latest round of improvements kicked off earlier this year as part of the Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP).

The improvements include:

  • 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
  • Two new wider GO Train platforms with canopies, which will increase safety and capacity to serve more customers
  • New stairs and elevators to access the platforms
  • Creation of two new south tracks to replace the current three track configuration
  • This work will improve customer experience and connections, and support GO service increases planned as part of the GO Expansion program.
Union Station Enhancement Project work area pictured at the southern end of Union Station. (ONTrack Alliance image)

What progress has been made?

To keep the public and customers safe, construction walls were installed at Union Station on the east and west sides of the York teamway (pedestrian walkways that run parallel to Union Station that have PRESTO machines and stairwells up to the GO platforms), and along the west side of the Bay teamway and at the previous entrances to GO platforms 24 to 27, located south of the VIA Concourse.

A look at the construction walls at Union Station
Painted walls or hoarding installed in the York teamway. (Metrolinx image)

In May, the project team successfully relocated the electrical power room – which provides power to all of Union Station – without any interruption in service.

The relocation of the power room was required to clear the way so that excavation planned within the southernmost part of the rail corridor can be completed safely. 

The existing municipal bike storage room located south of the York east teamway was walled off and closed to facilitate USEP south concourse work.

A new temporary bike storage room is being constructed further north, adjacent to the existing York Concourse, to replace the lost bike storage, which is scheduled to open in late summer 2022.

The four southernmost tracks at Union Station have been removed and utilities relocated.

Demolition of the canopy over GO platforms 24 to 27 is underway and will be completed this summer. Metrolinx needs to increase the capacity of the south platforms first, and will then reconstruct the north platforms at Union Station as part of a future phase of work.

An aerial view at the construction on the South platform at Union Station
Southern tracks have been removed, and crews continue to remove the canopy from platforms 26 and 27 at Union Station. (Metrolinx photo)

Inside the station, crews continue to complete ceiling removals and cable relocations south of the VIA Concourse to make way for excavation planned in the southernmost part of the tracks near Union Station.

An aerial view at the construction on the South platform at Union Station
Crews are working to regrade the rail corridor, where the four southernmost tracks were removed. (Metrolinx photo)

Looking ahead

Two cranes will be installed at Union Station this summer and will be onsite for the duration of the project.

These cranes travelled 6,500 kilometers from Germany, and can lift over 20,000 kg, or 10 fully loaded mini coopers each. They can reach up to 60 meters, or the length of two basketball courts.

Starting this fall, platforms 24 to 27 will be demolished to make way for excavation for the new south passenger concourse (which will span 325 meters from York to Bay Streets) and two new wider platforms that will be installed as part of this project.

Two new temporary sets of stairs will be constructed – one at the south end of the VIA Concourse connecting to the retail space below the concourse level, and one on the east end of the hallway connecting the York, VIA, and Bay Concourses. This will provide customers with access to the remainder of Union Station and the Scotiabank Arena during construction.

Later this year the VIA-York connection (shown on the map above), located south of the VIA Concourse connecting to 25 York Street, will close.

This area will become part of the new south concourse when construction is complete. After the closure, customers will connect with Union Square south of the Bay Concourse via the Bay-Scotiabank connection (shown on the map above).

There will be lots of wayfinding signage in place and advanced communication with customers ahead of the closure.

As part of the project, the roof of the service dock connection (shown on the map above) will need to be lowered to accommodate the future south concourse ceiling heights above, and the two new tracks that will be installed as part of this project.

Following the completion of the work noted above, excavation will begin for the south passenger concourse.

a rendering of the new platforms at Union Station
Conceptual rendering of a new south passenger platform at Union Station. Final designs are subject to change. (Metrolinx photo)

For the latest information on what’s happening, register for regular newsletters at metrolinx.com/subscribe and follow the project on Twitter @GOExpansion.

Story By Jocelyn Stenner, Metrolinx capital communications senior advisor