On Thursday June 29, Metrolinx hosted a public meeting at Metro Hall to discuss work that has been ongoing to complete environmental studies for Metrolinx-owned segments of the rail network that runs through the GTHA. The formal Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) began on June 14, 2017.
Timelines for electrification: Metrolinx is currently undergoing their expedited Environmental Assessment, the TPAP. The 30-day public review will run from October 12-November 10, 2017. The goal date for construction to be complete is 2025. (Start dates were not given.)
Changes to the Wallace Pedestrian Bridge: Metrolinx has previously mentioned that changes will be required to existing bridges, including the Wallace Bridge, such as installation of bridge barriers to prevent anything being thrown onto the tracks from above, and reinforcements to the structure itself to allow it to support electrification infrastructure. When asked at the June 29th how the heritage of the Wallace Bridge will be protected, Metrolinx stated that an advisory committee will be convened to discuss the best approach to retrofitting this recognized heritage structure.
Hydrogen trains as an alternative: Metrolinx is currently studying the feasibility of hydrogen powered-vehicles, or "hydrail", separate to the electrification TPAP. If approved, this could avoid many of the shortcomings of traditional electrification, including no longer needing to cut down trees around rail corridors and no longer needing to retrofit heritage structures to accommodate overhead wires.
Other aspects of electrification, including vegetation/tree removal and noise and vibration mitigation, were also discussed. The Electrification EA Update meeting handout can be found here.
Metrolinx is inviting feedback to inform their Environmental Project Report to be released October 11 2017. To submit your feedback, including thoughts on the retrofitting of the Wallace Bridge and hydrogen trains, email email@example.com. Please feel free to copy Options For Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org on your feedback to Metrolinx.