CTC takes Metrolinx to court

The Clean Train Coalition got its day in court on November 19th and presented a strong case that Metrolinx violated statutory requirements by deciding to run diesel trains on the air rail link without conducting a feasibility study on electrification as an alternative. CTC legal counsel Saba Ahmad argued before a panel of three judges in Ontario Divisional Court in support of an application for judicial review of the Metrolinx diesel plan.

In her submission, Ms. Ahmad argued that Metrolinx “traded the benefits of electric trains for expediency” when it accepted instructions from the McGuinty government to have the air rail link operating in time for the Pan Am Games in 2015. “Metrolinx is not authorized to prioritize the short-term goal of providing transportation services for a three-week sporting event over the long-term health, environmental and economic interests of the people of Ontario.”

The court reserved its decision.

Noise Wall Needed for Loud Diesel Trains

What is this I hear about a wall?

Metrolinx, the Provincial Government agency that runs GO Transit and the proposed Air Rail Link (ARL), is planning to build a 5 metre tall noise barrier wall along the Kitchener Rail Corridor.

The Metrolinx diesel noise wall will be 5-meters high, shown here in a mock-up built by Kevin Putnam of the Junction Triangle Rail Committee.

Why is the barrier needed?

In fact, Metrolinx own study shows that the noise barrier will not yet be needed in all areas of the corridor, yet they are being installed along the entire length as part of the expanded rail service between Union Station and Pearson Airport. Modeling has shown that this new service will have a minimal impact on noise levels. The trains for the ARL service use smaller engines in each car to power the train, unlike the GO trains that have one huge locomotive. The ARL trains are also less than one fifth the size of the GO trains. The proposed ARL cars have engines similar in power to those in transport trucks.

We rallied for Clean Trains Now!

About 250 residents joined the Rally for Clean Trains Now! on a rainy day in October to send a message to Metrolinx and the provincial government that now is the time to switch tracks and build an electric air rail link between Union Station and the airport.

photo via insidetoronto.com

The community parade assembled at the West Toronto Railpath at Wallace Ave. and took to the sidewalks along Bloor and down Roncesvalles, heading toward Sorauren Park for the rally and festivities.

Speakers included federal, provincial, municipal and school board elected officials (no representatives of the Liberal or Conservative parties showed up) and numerous community activists, including Saba Ahmad, the lawyer who has been leading the court action against the decision by Metrolinx to put diesel trains on the air rail link without studying the feasibility of electrification.

We Need Your Support to Make Change

Clean Train Rally! Sunday October 14th

Join us and your neighbours
to show your support for
Clean Trains in our neighbourhoods!


1:00pm: Assemble on the West Toronto Railpath, at Wallace Avenue (northwest of Bloor and Lansdowne) – Bring noise-making casserole pots and banners!

Parade: Along Bloor, down Roncesvalles

2:00pm: Rally for Clean Trains, Sorauren Park – featuring performances by special guests, information booths, speakers and festivities.

Please share this event with your friends, family, neighbours and community groups!

Download a copy of the flyer here.

Join the Facebook event page.

Corridor Politicians Call on Premier McGuinty to Face the Public on Province’s Diesel Plans

August 17, 2012

“Listen to our communities,” was the message delivered to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty from a collection of thirteen elected representatives from communities along the Air Rail Link corridor in a letter sent to his office earlier today.

Showing strong bipartisan cooperation, the signatories of the letter – a range of MPs, MPPs and Toronto City Councillors – are calling on Premier McGuinty to attend a town hall meeting before September 7th to discuss the issue openly and in public.

Read the full letter here.


August 8, 2012

Clean Train Coalition seeks Judicial Review to stop diesel trains
Metrolinx unlawfully constrained by Pan Am Games

(Toronto) The Clean Train Coalition has filed an application with the Ontario Divisional Court requesting a Judicial Review of the decision by Metrolinx to put diesel trains along the air rail link (ARL) between Union Station and Pearson airport.

The application seeks an order to quash the Metrolinx ARL diesel project on the basis that the regional transit agency unlawfully fettered its authority to consider an electric alternative to diesel by accepting instructions from the government of Ontario to construct the ARL in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.


Click here to read the full News Release

Click here to view a copy of the Application for Judicial Review


August 7, 2012

Clean Train Coalition launches legal challenge to diesel trains

The Clean Train Coalition will hold a media briefing tomorrow, Wednesday, August 8th, to release details of a legal challenge to the decision by Metrolinx to run diesel trains along the air rail link between Union Station and Pearson airport.

CTC chair Rick Ciccarelli and legal counsel Saba Ahmad will release documents filed with the Ontario Divisional Court at 11am at the Toronto Railpath footbridge at Wallace Ave., north of Bloor and west of Lansdowne.

The Clean Train Coalition is a community-based public interest group advocating for smart investment in public transit infrastructure.

Where: Toronto Railpath Footbridge
Wallace Ave, west of Lansdowne Ave, three blocks north of Bloor

When: 11am, Wednesday, August 8th

Rick Ciccarelli
m. 647-233-7624

Clean Train Coalition refresh

July 31, 2012

The summer of 2012 has been a time of renewal for the Clean Train Coalition. At a general meeting of members and supporters on July 18th, a number of important decisions were made, including the critical step of incorporating as a non-profit organization.

An interim Board of Directors was acclaimed with a mandate to adopt by-laws and to convene a first annual general meeting within six months. The meeting also instructed the new board to give consideration to all legal options that might be available as part of the ongoing campaign to stop diesel trains and to go electric.

The new Board will be developing a fundraising and education campaign for September to support any legal action that may be underway.

CTC General Meeting – Wed July 18th

June 30, 2012

It’s time to have a general meeting to discuss our structure for action and next steps. The meeting will be held at the Davenport Perth Neighbourhood Centre at 1900 Davenport Road beginning at 7pm until 9pm. This is an important meeting that everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, please call Suri @ 416-241-5801 or email squibbs@on.aibn.com or info@cleantrain.ca (the first email is best).

Electric Trains in time for the Pan Am Games?

June 28, 2012

During the Electrification Meeting at the Lithuanian House on June 27th, Metrolinx consultant, Kevin Gore from Parsons Brinckerhoff, was asked point blank if electrification was doable within the time frame before the games in 2015. This was in reference to someone plainly stating that most other countries are able do it within a far shorter time period than Metrolinx and the Province. He bluntly said yes — if the money was there, the directive to do it and the will to get it done.

Inside Toronto was also there and posted this article on their website which was in some of the local Guardian papers this week. Link.

Clean Train Coalition Press Release

June 13, 2012

World Health Organization Declares That Diesel Causes Cancer

CTC calls on premier to go electric with air rail link

TORONTO – The World Health Organization (WHO) has reclassified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans based on evidence that exposure to the chemical mix is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.

In light of this finding, the Clean Train Coalition is calling on Premier McGuinty to switch tracks and redirect Metrolinx toward an electric option, instead of pushing ahead on its plan to run 200 diesel trains a day between Union Station and the airport.
“The Premier has made it a priority to deliver an air rail link in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. In addition to the threat to public health, it is increasingly clear that it will be a public relations disaster to open these games with a dirty diesel link,” said Rick Ciccarelli, CTC co-chair.

Global News Coverage of Clean Train Debate

Rick Ciccarelli, Co-Chair of the CTC, was interviewed by Global TV along with a local resident and MPP Jonah Schein. The video can be accessed here:

If this makes you more concerned, please let your politicians know. Please let us know. And please come out whenever you can to show Metrolinx and the Province how concerned you are that your lives and health are being adversely affected by their mismanagement of the Air Rail Link project.

06.03.09 Air Quality Impact Assessment – Metrolinx Georgetown Expansion


Metrolinx HEALTH Study 2011

Metrolinx has released their health study .They are arguing that the health effects are minimal! CTC has issues with this:   

  • The World Health Organization claims that we already have poor air quality with pollutant levels above their health safety guidelines, so why does metrolinx think it’s ok to pollute more?
  • Metrolinx ridership projections for their “premium” business-class service will mean that the ARL diesel trains will be polluting more than the cars they take off the road – whereas electric trains would both reduce traffic congestion AND improve air quality
  • There is still no commercially available Tier 4 diesel train –  but electric trains surpass Tier 4 environmental performance and have been in service around the world for years.

Railbender 2011

Thanks to the approximately 200 people who joined us in celebrating our 2nd Anniversary! 

During the evening, we were thrilled to launch No Little Plan: Electrify GO Transit . The thoroughly researched and highly readable report has garnered much positive attention across the city. The report is available on CD for a small donation, email info@cleantrain.ca .

We also presented  Mike Sullivan with the 1st annual Railbender Award. Mike will be greatly missed, and his strong support of sustainable transit will be invaluable in Ottawa as the new MP for York-South Weston.

And THANKS to the bands who generously donated their talents: Loopsy Dazy , The Ethers , Sarah Greene, the hit young group “City Sailors“, DJ Kidmyn  and of course, songwriter of the CTC “anthem” GO ELECTRIC, Rob Joy.

Clean Train Pledge: Elected Officials Commit to Taking Action

On June 7, the Clean Train Coalition launched a “Clean Train Pledge” campaign which asked elected representatives from all levels of government to commit to taking action in favour of electrification.

As of today, 29 of the 33 representatives are signatories or have publicly declared they are advocating for electrification. This sends a very strong message to the Provincial Government:

Diesel-powered rail transit expansion is not acceptable in west Toronto!

The list of advocates includes Trustees from the impacted public and Catholic school board districts, City Councillors from wards along the rail line, the Mayor and main mayoral candidates, and Members of the Provincial and Federal Parliaments. We applaud their commitment to representing the will of the people to the government. We call on the goverment of Ontario to heed this unified voice. Metrolinx must be directed to electrify!

We Won’t Take No For An Answer

Clean Train Coalition is Not Taking No for an Answer

On October 5th 2009, the Ontario Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, approved Metrolinx’ plan to run over 450 diesel trains through west Toronto despite urgent requests from the Clean Train Coalition, the Toronto District School Board, the Medical Officer of Health, and thousands of concerned citizens for electrification of the corridor before any expansion of rail traffic is allowed. The Minister has attached some conditions, notably that Metrolinx use Tier 4 diesel trains.

Diesel exhaust is a known health hazard and any further pollution in Toronto’s already overburdened airshed is not acceptable. Furthermore, while electric technology is available and would entirely eliminate the local heatlh risks, Tier 4 diesel trains do not yet exist. It is disappointing that the Minister didn’t require Metrolinx to electrify the rail corridor, but the struggle is far from over.