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A good week for electrification: Toronto council votes, Metrolinx shops for electric trains

10 February 2015

The vast majority of Toronto City Councillors spoke out today in favour of electrifying 19th-century rail corridors under Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack transit proposal.

The plan overlaps with Ontario’s Regional Express Rail proposal, both of which rely on electrifying GO rail corridors that now employ polluting, carcinogenic, costly, slow and noisy diesel trains.

Toronto Council voted to spend an additional $1.65 million on feasibility studies for SmartTrack. But councillor speeches talked broadly about the benefits of the plan to maximize existing rail corridors for a modern transit system reaching across Toronto and integrated into TTC networks.

Meanwhile, Toronto Star reporter Tess Kalinowski reports that provincial transit agency Metrolinx, which runs GO, has “started shopping” for electric trains. “The provincial agency is looking for manufacturers of electric locomotives, dual-mode (hybrid) locomotives and electric multiple-unit trains (featuring several engines through the length of the vehicle),” she reports.

“The trains would be used to furnish the province’s scheme to electrify the GO lines so they could provide all-day, two-way service across the network with 15-minute frequencies in “core areas,” a Metrolinx spokesman confirmed on Monday.”

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