I wrote this in the thread on the Union Subway Platform expansion thread, but perhaps it deserves its own thread (if not a mod can delete it)....

Apparently at the GO Transit Board meeting two weeks ago, members heard that staff is close to approving a contract to redesign the deteriorating train shed roof, and is also set to issue a RFP to build and rehabilitate passenger platforms, and build a new pedestrian connections to the east and west of the station.

Apparently GO's development will go ahead with or without a Union Station deal (The UPG deal that fell apart). Whatever happens down the road in terms of redoing all of union station - UPG's successor will have to deal with infrastructure projects installed by GO in the interim.

While I'm pleased that both the TTC and GO transit seem intent on going ahead to upgrade their facilities, I'm concerned by the lack of an overall vision for the station. Toronto may be left with a peicemeal approach for rehabilition and renovation.

GO staff is currently evaluating bid submissions to rehabilitate the roof of the 75-year-old train shed, with plans to award the contract within the next few weeks. Plans include cutting a strip out of the centre of the roof and replacing it with a glass atrium of about 1 acre in size. The move will introduce more daylight into the interior of the train shed. Artificial light also is to be increased, with an energy management system to take advantage of daylight and save energy costs.

Designs for the $55 million project are to be completed by April 2007. The construction contract is to be awarded in August 2007, with construction to be wrapped up by late 2010.

Go staff is also going to issue a RFP for a $30 million design/build contract for a new passenger platform south of the existing train shed, as well as a new concourse connection to York St to the west and the future Union Plaza/Maple Leaf Square to the South. This is planned to go ahead regardless of the status of the UPG deal. Once again this concerns me - I'm pleased to see progress, but we need all the stakeholders to be working together for a coherent vision, not working seperately in their own little areas of Union Station.

There are plans to extend the existing concourse level to the south to eventually connect to Union Plaza/Maple Leaf Square. Go will apparently be looking to the City to pick up some of the costs. ALthough the roughed in pathways to the south will not likely open until the station itself is redeveloped.

Overall, GO Transit's improvements to Union Station and its rail corridor are to cost about $600 million. Of this $55 million (split between Ottawa & Queen's Park) will be dedicated to the train shed roof project and another $30 million for the platforms. The remainder of the project will include track and signal work, replacing antiquated equipment and upgrading the corridor to handle to potential doubling of ridership over the next 20 - 30 years.