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Union Station Trainshed - Ask a Question

Questions and answers from the round of public consultation in November 2020 can be found below. If you have any further questions about the Union Station Trainshed - Heritage Conservation please contact the regional address relevant to where your area of interest is located: [email protected] (East of Union Station) or [email protected] (West of Union Station); 

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Anonymous's avatar
Dec 2, 2020 - 13:11

What ever happened to the plan to build a green roof at Union Station? Why has this not materialized?

Metrolinx's avatar
Dec 10, 2020 - 12:39

A green roof is no longer planned for installation at Union Station. As GO Expansion program plans were further refined it was determined that a green roof was no longer appropriate for the site due to capital/operating costs as well as technical constraints driven by the proximity of green roof vegetation to the future railway electrification system. Metrolinx is currently exploring alternative roof treatments for the site.

Anonymous's avatar
Dec 3, 2020 - 01:14

The Province of Ontario is currently working with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to restore the Northlander train service that was cut in 2012. Will the Union Station have space to accommodate this service if it is restored?

Metrolinx's avatar
Dec 7, 2020 - 19:36

The Union Station redesign and construction is protecting for capacity of future passengers rail services. 

Anonymous's avatar

Anonymous
Nov 28, 2020 - 01:53

Can you post a roll plan for the new Union Station? The New Track & Facilities roll plan still shows Union Station pre-USEP.

Metrolinx's avatar

Metrolinx
Dec 14, 2020 - 12:25

Thank you for your interest in our project. Detailed plans for the Union Station Trainshed are not available at this time. Additional details will be shared during a future project phase.

Daniel's avatar
Dec 10, 2020 - 13:54

As shown in the renderings - the passenger experience seems bland, uninspiring, and unwelcoming. I believe that the iconic identity of Union Station should be present in each platform and passenger area. Union Station has many iconic features including the Great Hall, the Front Street facade, the beautiful new glass atrium by Zeidler Architects, among others. A design for the train shed should be beautiful and welcoming. The renderings show very simple staircases (glass & concrete), utilitarian lighting, and a colourless train shed. All of these should be improved with a thoughtful design that enhances and improves the station's identity. The heritage aspects should not only be conserved; they should also be improved.

Personally, I don't believe that the train shed has any iconic visual features that warrant its preservation. I know it has a heritage designation, but it worsens the passenger experience and makes the station platforms unwelcoming & unattractive. I know many people that have complained at how ugly and unwelcoming these parts of the station are - and they don't understand why it continues to be this way. In fact, the sections that do not have the old shed and are covered by the beautiful glass atrium are much nicer and provide a comfortable & attractive experience for passengers on the platforms. A similar solution that uses the atrium's design style would make the experience much nicer on the west and east portions of the station's platforms.

If Metrolinx is not allowed to remove the old train sheds, I would suggest improving them by making them more welcoming & interesting. I am disappointed by the grey colour of the shed, and I think that they could be improved to provide a better experience with more interesting or elegant colours, such as bronze or dark green. Perhaps Metrolinx could use the sheds as an opportunity for public art and can invite artists to make it more interesting. Also, I am disappointed by the lighting in the posted renderings, as the lights (hanging from the shed) are very utilitarian and do not express and enhance Union Station's identity. To improve the heritage feel of the shed, Metrolinx could use classical heritage lighting that is inspired from Union Station's existing architecture. A contemporary light could also be used, but it should be creative and beautiful. In terms of the exterior appearance, the train sheds' roofs are not attractive and many residents & workers see it every day from their towers. I remember that there were plans for a green roof, but it was unfortunately cancelled. I understand that it costs more, but building a green roof would improve sustainability, reduce the heat island effect (which makes cities hotter), and would be more attractive. Metrolinx has already planted green roofs on other projects, such as the new Kipling Bus Terminal, so why can't it do so here? This would be an amazing addition the station and I (and I'm sure other too) would love for it to be a part of this project. I really hope you could reconsider a green roof for its many benefits.

Overall, if Metrolinx is obliged to maintain the heritage shed, I believe that they should make the heritage attractive by creating a consistent identity with good colours and materials. The train shed could be coloured in an elegant and respective colour (with potential art), the platforms should use good paving (not just concrete) to advance an elegant identity, staircases should also be more elegant and respectful to the heritage attributes (not just a concrete & glass staircase as shown in the renderings), and beautiful lighting should be used. Contemporary and creative designs could be used, but their purpose should be to improve the heritage aspects of the station. Please do your best and build an attractive experience for us, the passengers! This is a significant investment - so why not make the best of it?

Thank you for considering my comments. Could you please forward this to the project team?

Metrolinx's avatar

Metrolinx
Dec 16, 2020 - 10:01

Thank you for your interest in the project. The project team has received the comments which will be incorporated into the Minister’s Consent application document, where applicable. Please continue to watch for updates to be involved as the project advances. Please see below for responses to your comments:

 

We appreciate your feedback and patience during the recent construction effort in the trainshed. This will result in a much improved experience for passengers with improved signage, lighting and rehabilitation of original features. The new glass atrium was also installed in 2011.

 

Union Station is a historic site and the trainshed is an important component of this designation, being one of few representative examples of a Bush trainshed which was used in larger Canadian railway stations. Other characteristic elements include the arched trusses spanning columns between the tracks, all remaining exterior facades and smoke ducts from when steam locomotives were in use. Toronto’s trainshed is notable for its through-traffic design. A heritage approvals process is in place between Metrolinx and the 3 levels of government to help preserve the station trainshed’s unique features. In addition to the consideration of heritage impacts, a key component of design decisions is maintaining service. The proposed Reference Concept Design strives to fulfill the objectives of the Full Business Case with the least impacts to current and future GO Service.

 

A green roof is no longer planned for installation at Union Station. As GO Expansion program plans were further refined it was determined that a green roof was no longer appropriate for the site due to capital/operating costs as well as technical constraints driven by the proximity of green roof vegetation to the future railway electrification system. Metrolinx is currently exploring alternative roof treatments for the site.

Metrolinx's avatar

Metrolinx
Dec 21, 2020 - 13:23

Thank you for your interest in the project. The project team has received the comments which will be incorporated into the Minister’s Consent application document. We appreciate your feedback and patience during the recent construction effort in the trainshed. This will result in a much improved experience for passengers with improved signage, lighting and rehabilitation of original features.

Union Station is a historic site and the trainshed is an important component of this designation, being one of few representative examples of a Bush trainshed which was used in larger Canadian railway stations. Other characteristic elements include the arched trusses spanning columns between the tracks, all remaining exterior facades and smoke ducts from when steam locomotives were in use. Toronto’s trainshed is notable for its through-traffic design. A heritage approvals process is in place between Metrolinx and the 3 levels of government to help preserve the station trainshed’s unique features. In addition to the consideration of heritage impacts, a key component of design decisions is maintaining service. The proposed Reference Concept Design strives to fulfill the objectives of the Full Business Case with the least impacts to current and future GO Service.

A green roof is no longer planned for installation at Union Station. As GO Expansion program plans were further refined it was determined that a green roof was not appropriate for the site due to capital/operating costs as well as technical constraints driven by the proximity of green roof vegetation to the future railway electrification system. Metrolinx is currently exploring alternative roof treatments for the site.

Please continue to watch for updates to be involved as the project advances.

Anonymous's avatar

On slide 5 of the “Proposed Changes to the Union Station Trainshed - Minister's Consent Application” document, there is a rendering captioned “View showing level boarding and trainshed south wall”. This rendering shows high-floor level-boarding platforms (like those for the UP Express which aren’t compatible with existing GO Trains), as well as stub tracks. Can more information be provided about 1) why Metrolinx is building high-level level boarding platforms (which aren’t compatible with existing GO trains), 2) what services Metrolinx envisions using these platforms (VIA, UP Express, or GO with new equipment?), and 3) could Metrolinx please provide more details (roll plans, renderings) of the changes south of the trainshed?

Metrolinx's avatar

Metrolinx
Dec 14, 2020 - 12:12

Thank you for your interest in this project. Please see below for information related to your inquiries:

Metrolinx is evaluating options to convert stations across the network to level boarding, similar to what is found on existing UP Express platforms. This will help address passenger flow and accessibility.

The proposed platforms will be compatible with existing rail services that utilize the station.

A rendering of the new south platforms can be found at the following link: https://blog.metrolinx.com/2020/10/01/torontos-union-station-prepares-fo...

Additional details will be shared during future project stages.

Anonymous's avatar
Dec 2, 2020 - 12:48

With the conversion of VIA platforms 20/21 to mixed VIA and GO use, how will Metrolinx accommodate future VIA growth? VIA is currently planning the High Frequency Rail project between Toronto, Peterborough, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City which will dramatically increase the number of VIA departures from Union Station. Will VIA be given its own dedicated platforms in the future?

Metrolinx's avatar
Dec 2, 2020 - 17:41

Thank you for your inquiry about future VIA growth at Union Station. Metrolinx is working closely with VIA on future service improvements, and though a final agreement has not yet been reached, there will be room for VIA to grow their business.

Daniel's avatar

Hi! Thanks for responding to my question. I understand that Metrolinx is maintaining and restoring the train shed, but I was hoping that it could be enhanced with nicer colours (not grey) and if the platforms could use an approach that isn't no-frills. This means better materials and making the space look much nicer after completion (preserving heritage and improving the platforms with attractive design). Could you please comment on this? Thank you!

Metrolinx's avatar

Metrolinx
Dec 22, 2020 - 14:20

Union Station Trainshed and associated platforms form part of Union Station which is a designated National Historic Site. Any associated modifications necessitated due to functional and technical requirements are made in accordance with heritage conservation principles to ensure long term conservation. Every effort is being put into ensuring that the proposed design for platforms and related features is contemporary and visually appealing within the constraints of working at a high value heritage site.  

Metrolinx's avatar

Metrolinx
Dec 11, 2020 - 11:24

Although we aren’t looking at platform screen doors work is underway across the network to increase safety of our platforms. This year we have added tactile yellow strips at many of our stations and work will continue in the new year. We are also planning some much needed improvements to Union Station including wider platforms that will make using our services safer.