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UP Express intensifying train tests
to get ready for spring launch

Union Pearson express logo.jpgTransit Toronto was surprised to see one of the new Union Pearson Express trains rolling along GO’s Lakeshore East line near Coxwell Avenue this past weekend. Apparently, however, you may be seeing a lot of these new trains in a variety of locations throughout the Greater Toronto area over the next several weeks, as Metrolinx conducts intensive testing to make sure they are running at peak performance. At the same time, it’s also training staff before it launches the service this spring.

This final phase of testing signals a major step towards the new service welcoming its first passengers in the coming months. Metrolinx will announce the official date for starting the service after it has successfully completed this important testing phase.

Starting today, Monday, February 23, you may see the UP Express trains along the route from Union to Pearson and on various GO Transit corridors, undertaking a wide variety of tests. Some of the testing may occur off-hours and late at night so as not to interfere in regular rail service. Metrolinx says that “all efforts have been taken to minimize disruption.”

The testing focuses on four key areas:

  1. Testing how the vehicles operate: These are “end-to-end” tests with one or two trains moving from Pearson to Union and on to Scarborough on the Lakeshore East GO line. The trains may stop for a period along the guideway to test braking and speed. Crews will also test switches and simulate signal failures. During this phase, you’ll hear intermittent bells, as the train approaches stations.
  2. Testing emergency procedures and service recovery: These types of tests include specific emergency scenarios to learn how the various parties that would take part in emergencies co-ordinate efforts and communicate. These tests include scenarios, such as a disabled train on the elevated spur, requiring crews to evacuate passengers, medical emergencies on board vehicles and at stations and malfunctions of the platform screen door system.
  3. Testing the ride experience and procedures: These tests may or may not involve trains, but help build staff experience and familiarize them with various guest situations and procedures. Testers will engage staff to demonstrate their skills in ticketing processes, opening and closing stations and other guest-related services.
  4. Testing revenue services: This testing simulates the actual service with a fleet of trains running “end to end” in 15-minute intervals from Pearson to Union Station and back. The trains will pull into each station, open and close the doors and then leave. Staff will be receive on-the-job training at each of the stations. You can expect to hear normal operating noise levels during these trials, including train bells and whistles as operating rules require.