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Metrolinx starts Union Station Enhancement Project, February 16



Update — Friday, March 18, 5:23 p.m.: Some northbound trains along the 61 Richmond Hill line now leave from platform 3 at Union Station, while Metrolinx closes platforms 24-27 during the construction project.


Update — Wednesday, March 16, 11:47 a.m.: Access to platform 21 from the York Concourse is now open.


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^ Rendering of the two future southern platforms with canopies. Final designs are subject to change, and this image doesn’t show the current mask and social distancing rules on platforms. Image, Metrolinx

Today, Wednesday, February 16, Metrolinx starts working to enhance the south end of the Union Station trainshed. It’s building a new south concourse, two new platforms and two new tracks.

The first step in the Union Station Enhancement Project (or USEP) is to close platforms 20 to 27 in the station. Instead, GO Transit trains are stopping at platform 21, where contractors recently completed construction to improve that platform for both GO and VIA Rail Canada passengers. (Platform 21 was previously only for VIA trains.)

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^ Union Station construction map. Click to enlarge. Image, Metrolinx

The USEP includes designing and building transit infrastructure and upgrading the southernmost part of Union Station, improving the passenger experience and making way for the GO Expansion Program (formerly “regional express rail”).

The project includes:

  • Two new, wide GO train platforms with canopies, which increase safety and have the capacity to serve more trains;
  • Several new vertical access points (stairs and elevators);
  • A new south passenger concourse between Bay and York Streets, with open concept connections into the Bay, VIA and York Concourses, Union Square and Scotiabank Arena.

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^ Rendering of Union Station changes. Final designs are subject to change, and this i,age doesn’t show the current mask and social distancing rules on platforms. Image, Metrolinx.

Metrolinx has been preparing for the USEP since early 2018:

  • Heritage restoration, early and enabling works. This preparatory work focused on restoring heritage infrastructure throughout the station, improving platforms and maintaining a state of good repair around the station.
  • Officially signing an “alliance contract, Monday, January 31. This is the first major project that anyone in Canada has procured with this model — an innovative procurement and delivery method which has delivered “successful initiatives in Australia in the past 20 years.”
  • Reopening platform 3 after extensively restoring it and conserving historic and heritage features.
  • Ending the project to convert platform 20/21 to a shared space with VIA Rail.

Features of platform 20/21 include:

  • Three new stairways servicing the platform;
  • New passenger communications systems with trip information (previously these systems were exclusively for VIA train info); and
  • Several new PRESTO fare-card devices at the bottom of the escalators and stairs to platform 20/21.

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^ One of the new stairways that leads up to platform 20/21 at Union Station. Image, Balazs Hertel via Metrolinx

Making sure Union Station has more platforms in service is critical because the USEP work will require Metrolinx to close and demolish platforms 24/25 and 26/27, during construction to enable expansion.


This work will require you to adjust where you board trains. Some trains may pick up passengers at different platforms than usually. Check departure boards in the station before you head to the platform level to make sure you can find your train.

If you have accessibility needs, use the elevator in the VIA Concourse to get to platform 20/21.

Access to platform 21 is not available through the Bay and York Concourses. Use the VIA Concourse to access platform 21. Metrolinx expects to open access to platform 21 from the York Concourse in the near future. (Updated — Wednesday, March 16, 11:47 a.m.: Access to platform 21 from the York Concourse is now open.)

The Bicycle Station in the walkway on the east side of York Street, near #25 York, is closing. Bicycle Station members may park in the north bike room, near the corner of Front Street West and York Street.


Metrolinx opened platform 26/27 — the southernmost platform at Union — in 2009 to provide capacity while it took various platforms out of service and revitalized them during the massive Union Station Revitalization Project (USRP).

The Metrolinx component of the USRP work included:

  • totally overhauling the train shed roof;
  • installing the iconic 6500-square-metre (70,000-square-foot) glass atrium;
  • revitalizing the platforms in multiple phases;
  • improving vertical access (stairs and elevators);
  • remediating smoke ducts; and
  • preserving and protecting heritage elements.

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^ A bird’s eye view of the Union Station train tracks. Image, Metrolinx


Source:

  • Metrolinx News Blog post, “Toronto’s Union Station Enhancement Project kicks off” by Stacey Kenny, Metrolinx corporate communications manager, here.