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GO Rail Network Electrification Addendum

GO Rail Network Electrification Addendum - Your Feedback

A project of this size and complexity means that changes will occur in communities and some communities close to where infrastructure is being delivered may feel impacted by it. Hearing from you is important to us. We want to make sure we are delivering maximum results with minimum disruption to the community.

The table below provides a snapshot summary of the main topics we've heard in Round 1 of public consultation and what we are doing about it. The full Round 1 Engagement Report is available here.

What We Heard

What We’re Doing About It

Concerns about potential noise and vibration associated with planned service increases.

Metrolinx is conducting an update to the 2017 System-Wide Noise and Vibration Study to assess and compare the impacts associated with quieter electric trains against increased service levels, and determine the need for noise mitigation measures.

Find out more in the System Wide Noise and Vibration Study section.

Questions about potential visual impacts associated with electrification infrastructure.

Metrolinx is conducting a detailed Visual Impact Assessment to ensure that proposed Electrification infrastructure is designed and located in such a way as to minimize visual impacts, where possible. For example there will be visual impacts created by the OCS poles as they are being placed every 65 m or less, however in station areas where there are canopies the visual impact may be minimized by integrating OCS poles with platform architecture design.

Find out more in the Key Preliminary Design and Construction Commitments Panel.

Questions about anticipated timelines for vegetation removals.

Metrolinx will work with its contractor to finalize the removals schedule once the contract for the Vegetation Removal and Compensation Program is awarded late this year. Work will be phased throughout the GO Rail Network over the course of a couple of years.

Questions about anticipated timelines for electrification and service increases.

Metrolinx is committed to finding the most sustainable solution for electrifying the GO Rail Network. Electrification of the system and trains have been studied as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) for the GO Expansion Program, currently in the procurement phase. The GO Expansion Program is a single innovative, fully-integrated contract to run more and better service.

The successful proponent team will be responsible for selecting and delivering the right trains and infrastructure to unlock the benefits of GO Expansion. The contract is in a multi-year procurement process, and currently teams are completing the bids that will close in 2021. Construction will get underway in 2022.

Questions about potential Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)/ Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) impacts associated with the proposed electrification infrastructure.

A detailed EMI/EMF Impact Assessment to minimize/avoid any potential impacts or interference and to ensure compliance with industry standards will be conducted and mitigation will be incorporated in future detailed designs.

Find out more in the Key Preliminary Design and Construction Commitments Panel and in Info Sheet 4: EMF/EMI Effects & Mitigation, presented during Round 1.

 

If you would like to look at the public materials from the February 2020 Open Houses, including meeting boards and info sheets, please click here.

The GO Expansion Program held a virtual open house as part of Round 2 of public consultation from August 18 to September 1, 2020. Although Round 2 focused on gathering feedback for the three TPAPs: New Track & Facilities, Scarborough Junction Grade Separation, and Stouffville Rail Corridor Grade Separations, participants also asked about work that is part of the GO Rail Electrification Addendum project. The table above under Public Consultation Round 1, captures the summary of main topics heard from February 2020 to Fall 2020. The Round 2 Engagement Report is available here.

Public Consultation Round 2 (Round 3 for the full GO Expansion program) – Fall 20200 

Round 2 of public consultation was held online from November 27 – December 11, 2020.

New information that was presented in Round 2 included: potential impacts and proposed mitigation for additional electrification infrastructure and system-wide operational impacts for noise, vibration, and air quality for future service levels identified in the GO Expansion Business Case. 

If you would like to look at the public materials from Round 3 of consultation please click here.

The Round 3 Engagement Report is available here.

The table below provides a snapshot summary of the main topics we've heard inthis round of public consultations and what we are doing about it.

What We Heard

What We’re Doing About It

Interest in anticipated timelines and construction schedules.

The Significant Addendum to the 2017 GO Rail Network Electrification Environmental Project Report (EPR) is now being undertaken and is anticipated to be complete Spring 2021, with detailed design to start later in 2021. The construction timeline start is currently estimated for 2022, with construction being phased across the GO Rail Network.

GO Expansion is part of a system wide project to design, build, operate and maintain the network and is currently in the procurement phase. Once a proponent is selected there will be further information in terms of construction scheduling and sequencing. Updates will be provided to the public and stakeholders prior to construction.

Feedback about the future service plan:

  1. What technology will Metrolinx use?
  2. Any consideration for hydrogen trains?
  3. Which corridors are getting what technology?
  4. How will service work on a mixed corridor?

Metrolinx is committed to finding the most sustainable solution for electrifying the GO rail network. That's why, in addition to studying the environmental impacts of traditional electrification, Metrolinx has studied the feasibility of another form of electrification - hydrogen powered vehicles. Both options have been studied as part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) for the GO Expansion program.

The successful proponent team will be responsible for selecting and delivering the right trains and infrastructure to unlock the benefits of GO Expansion, and bidders will be able to propose hydrail or overhead wire technology to electrify the GO network. The contract is in a multi-year procurement process, and currently teams are completing the bids that will close in summer 2021. Construction will get underway in 2022.

Feedback about noise, vibration, and air quality assessments and mitigation:

  1. Concerns about noise and vibration impacts.
  2. Interest in Metrolinx’ construction noise and vibration standards.
  3. Interest in the recommended additional noise walls beyond the Provincial Protocol.
  4. What is Metrolinx doing to improve air quality today?
  1. When possible, construction will be limited to the time periods allowed by the applicable local bylaws (generally during the daytime hours and during weekdays). However, certain types of construction work can only be completed when trains are not in service (i.e., outside of business hours).

    Prior to the commencement of construction, the contractor will be required to develop and submit a detailed Construction Noise Management Plan to Metrolinx. Also, a Communications and Complaints Protocol will be developed by the contractor, which will indicate how and when surrounding local businesses and property owners/tenants will be informed of anticipated upcoming construction works (including work at night) and who they can contact should they have any concerns.

    Metrolinx has developed an Information Sheet on Construction Management that was prepared as part of the consultation materials presented in Round 1 (held February 2020). Please see the link below for further information:
    https://www.metrolinxengage.com/sites/default/files/info_sheet_6_-_construction_mgmt_-_final2.pdf.

  2. The most effective form of mitigation is reducing or eliminating the sound at the source. Not only is this the most effective, but it also reduces sound levels for all properties along Metrolinx rail corridors, not only those identified as impacted in this assessment. For example, Metrolinx has committed to installing exhaust noise silencers on existing and future Metrolinx diesel locomotives which will decrease the sound from these trains by 3 dB at all properties along the corridors. Other source-based mitigation measures include:
    • Using 6-car rather than 12-car trains during off-peak periods;
    • Using self propelled electric trains (or electric multiple units - EMUs) along the Stouffville and Kitchener corridors;
    • Reducing engine idling;
    • Grade separations, which reduce whistle and bell usage;
    • Improvements to tracks and switches to reduce vibration and noise; and
    • Installation of ballast mats to reduce vibration.

    Where mitigation at the source is not sufficient receptor-based mitigation, such as noise walls, is then considered to protect the most affected areas. A potential noise wall needs to:

    • Reduce noise exposure by at least 5 dBA, as required by the Provincial Protocol; and
    • Be constructible and pose no operational risks

    While 5-m noise walls remain the standard, Metrolinx is assessing up to 7-m walls to achieve the minimum 5 dBA noise reduction, where it is economically and technically feasible. Metrolinx looks at where noise will increase for the proposed locations of noise walls, and where their placement will benefit the most people for a fair distribution. That means, we look both at where noise will increase, and where the increased noise will disturb the most people.

  3. Additional noise walls have been proposed some locations as a mitigation measure that goes above and beyond the Ontario Provincial protocol to ensure noise walls are recommended in communities that are already experiencing high background noise. The supporting Noise and Vibration Studies are available at the link below:
    https://www.metrolinxengage.com/en/content/go-rail-network-electrification-addendum-important-documents-0
  4. Metrolinx is committed to implementing electric rail service and improving air quality impacts from its trains. As part of the GO Rail Network Electrification Addendum, updated air quality studies have been undertaken to assess the potential impacts associated with Metrolinx’s new detailed service plan. This study examines how emissions from Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) and other contaminants may change during the shift from existing operations to proposed future operations on a network-wide scale within the GO Expansion program area. You may be interested in viewing the study, or reading the summary of Air Quality Assessment Updates.

 

 

Update – February 2 to 11, 2021

A public update was held from February 2 to 11, 2021, seeking the public’s feedback on includes the Don Fleet Junction Hydro One conflict area scope of work and the associated effects and mitigation measures.  To view questions and responses from this update please visit the ask-a-question section below.  

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