An Electrifying Campaign: Metrolinx to Study Electrifying GO Trains

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 11, 2009

A new campaign by the Clean Train Coalition is calling on Metrolinx and the Province of Ontario to electrify the GO Train network now, not at some ill-defined time in the next fifteen years.

Metrolinx, the provincial arms-length regional transit coordinator and recently merged with GO Transit, has plans to invest in an at least eightfold expansion of diesel-powered GO Train engines - from the current 50 to 400 or possibly 500.

The Clean Train Coalition argues that the exhaust from all these diesel engines "is a known danger to public health, linked to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancers and premature death."

While the coalition supports the expansion of GO Transit, they argue that the right way is to electrify the network immediately, instead of sinking money into vehicles with such a heavy impact on air pollution.

In response, Metrolinx is launching a new comprehensive study into electrification of the entire GO Transit rail system. The organization is appointing a community advisory committee to establish terms of reference for the study.

The study itself will study the benefits and costs of electrification and develop a staged plan to implement it, considering "the economic, social, community, urban design, environmental and technological considerations that should bear upon a commitment to electrification," according to Metrolinx CEO Robert Pritchard.

The terms of reference should be completed by mid-Autumn 2009, and the study itself is expected by December 2010.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By fixyourpost (anonymous) | Posted June 11, 2009 at 16:39:47

They aren't ordering 400 diesel engines, that's the number of train runs do they do per day, AKA Trips...

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By Railroaded by Metrolinx (anonymous) | Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:58:28

For more information about this expansion, there are three great links to follow

Clean Train Coalition at

Railroaded by Metrolinx at

and the Weston Community Coalition at

It will benefit ALL communities if the GSSE and UPRL rail expansion is made electric as everyone will be affected by the noise and pollution of over 400 diesel trains daily passing through the GTA!

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