Metrolinx set to implement important upgrades at 25 GO stations
Metrolinx is working towards expanding and upgrading the GO Transit service from a peak time commuter service to a 24-hour transit option, available at any time.
Credit: Metrolinx - New digital signage showing real-time next GO Bus information at Lisgar GO Station.
The building blocks are being put into place as Metrolinx works towards expanding its GO Transit service.
The GO Expansion programme will truly transform the GO train system from a commuter service that is only available at peak times, to an all-day transit option with trips available anytime. This kind of regional rail service does not exist in Canada, so it is hard for people to grasp, but with trains coming every 15 minutes or less throughout the day, it becomes more like the subway, where you hop on and go anytime.
The upgrades required to expand GO Transit includes numerous big-ticket items like grade separations (where train tracks either run under or above the road), kilometres of new track, electrification of 600kms of tracks, new and expanded bridges and intricate new signalling systems.
Many preparatory projects are well underway across Metrolinx’s corridors to get ready for GO Expansion. At the same time, gradual upgrades to numerous stations across the GO network via the Early Station Improvements (ESI) programme have been underway since the summer of 2019. These station facelifts are not as big in scope, but as more passengers get back to using GO services, they will be greeted with improved amenities that will make it easier and more convenient to use.
Amir Salamat, Metrolinx’s Project Manager of Stations Capital Delivery has been one of those leading the ESI programme: “We have been working really hard to improve accessibility and the overall customer experience at 29 stations across the GO network. They will receive a combination of upgrades that will bring the amenities in line with our latest standards. Despite lower ridership numbers over the past two years or so, we have been delivering these upgrades while maintaining full operation of every station and navigating customer flow at all times.
Upgraded bus and train platforms will greet GO customers with new departure digital signage showing the next train and bus information. The new screens will be updated in real time, so customers won’t even have to pull out their phone to check the schedule anymore.
Customers will also find platform tactile edges installed at more of GO stations. The yellow edge tile strips provide a visual cue, as well as a physical change in the texture of the walking surface for customers with vision impairments to help prevent people from walking into live tracks or bus lanes.
Bike riders will no longer have to think twice about leaving their bicycles at the station before they hop on GO. New secured bike parking rooms will give customers the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their bike is safe and protected from elements, too. These new bike amenities also assist in advancing the Metrolinx station access strategy and the goal of promoting alternate modes of transportation as a means of connecting communities with GO services.
With accessibility being a major focus for Metrolinx, the elevators at some GO stations are also receiving facelifts that bring them up to the latest requirements.
Salamat further commented: “Many of the elevators across our GO system are approaching the end of their lifespan. Depending on the specific needs at each station, we have been replacing elevator interiors, and making other necessary upgrades making the elevators more accessible, and reliable.”
Some stations are also receiving upgrades to the electrical systems that will increase their capacity to accommodate new digital signage and new secured bike rooms. This work will also make the systems compliant with applicable electrical standards and provide capacity for future upgrades at these stations.
To date, upgrades at 13 stations have been commissioned: Acton, Ajax, Allandale, Barrie South, Bloor, Erindale, Lisgar, Mount Joy, Newmarket, Oakville, Old Cummer and Oshawa. Work at the remaining 17 stations as part of this programme will be completed in 2022 and, after that, customers can expect further improvements to their stations before more aspects of the GO Expansion programme are implemented.