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Great Turnout at Metrolinx Demonstration

On November 16 over 60 people turned out for a spirited demonstration at Metrolinx’s head office on Bay Street.

The demonstration took place as the Board of Directors were being updated on Metrolinx’s Electrification Study and progress on the Air Rail Link. Following the demonstration, the crowd moved upstairs to Metrolinx’s offices and packed the meeting to overflowing! It was a great turnout, especially for a weekday morning.

The demonstration was excellent but, unfortunately, Metrolinx continues to demonstrate disrespect for our communities and the process which they asked us to buy into.

Amazingly, although the initial findings of Metrolinx’s study indicate that electrification will not be as expensive as they originally claimed and that it is more cost effective over the medium and long terms, they are going ahead with the purchase of diesel trains for the Air Rail Link.

Yes, Metrolinx is apparently not planning on heeding their own study. Before it is completed, they are going ahead with diesel. They claim that there isn’t enough time to electrify before the Pan Am Games. But, again, they seem to be prejudging their study, which was supposed to come to some conclusions concerning timelines and feasibility.

We remain of the opinion that there is time. Where there is a will, there is a way. It is only 30 kilometers between Union and Pearson, and there are over 4 years before trains need to be up and running. However, if the line cannot be electrified before the Pam Am Games, then they need to rethink their priorities. A two-week sporting event cannot justify decades of pollution.

To add insult to injury, the report on the ARL confirms that it will be an elite service, not intended for commuters or communities. The sad truth is, over $1 billion dollars will be spent on this project and our communities will be polluted so that a mere 5000 people can travel between Pearson Airport and Union Station each day.  Shame.

The CTC (Clean Train Coalition) is now calling on Premier McGuinty to intervene and direct Metrolinx not to proceed with the planned purchase of diesel trains.

The demonstration was yet another affirmation of the strong opposition to diesel trains. There was extensive media coverage.

Many thanks to all those who contributed to the success of the demonstration. Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming campaign events.

Here are links to some of the media coverage:

Toronto Star, Letter to the Editor – Diesel a laughable relic

CBC Metro Morning interview with Eric Miller of U of T Cities Centre – Electric or Diesel?

The National Post – How to build a rail link to Pearson

NOW Magazine – GO electric: Electrifying trains a good idea

The Toronto Sun – Protesters upset air-rail link will be diesel [with a video]

The Toronto Star – No time to convert air-rail train to electric by 2015

The Globe and Mail – Metrolinx defends decision to buy diesel trains for rail link to Pearson

The National Post – Electrifying Pearson rail link by 2015 “can’t be done”: Metrolinx

The National Post – GO Transit considers switching from diesel to electric

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