Five months after Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) awarded it a contract for expanding Agincourt GO Station, EllisDon Transit Infrastructure (EDTI) has submitted its plans to the City of Toronto for site-plan approval. If the city approves the plans, it may issue a building permit and the project can proceed to construction.

Aerial view of proposed plans for Agincourt GO Station, looking northwest, image, Metrolinx, GO Transit

The plans for Agincourt would be the first RER-expansion related work on stations on GO Transit's Stouffville rail corridor to advance to the construction stage. Metrolinx intends to transform the Stouffville line and the entire GO rail network into a regional express railway (RER) system to supply 15-minute, two-way, all-day, electrified GO service to communities across the region. System-wide RER infrastructure upgrades include: adding tracks; expanding stations; electrifying the network; operating new locomotives; and installing train-control systems to enable more frequent service.

Aerial view of the improved station, looking northeast, image, Metrolinx, EDTI

In March, Metrolinx and IO awarded a fixed-price contract of $254.5 million to EDTI to design, build and finance the improvements for Agincourt and two other stations on the Stouffville line. The consortium will also build a grade separation—an overpass—to carry GO trains across Steeles Avenue East.

At Agincourt, the site design proposes a new station building with about 717 square metres (7,717 square feet) of space and a 200-square-metre (2,152-square-foot) 'ancillary' (or service) building. The goal is for the new building to be LEED-certified. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building achieves high performance in key areas of human and environmental health.) The contractors will demolish the current station, which GO renovated in the 1990s, but originally dates from 1982.

A rendering of the station exterior, image, Metrolinx, EDTI

Under this contract, EDTI will extend the current, west-side platform to 315 metres long (1,033 feet) and build a similar platform on the east side of the tracks. Two tunnels with elevators will allow passengers to cross between the east and west platforms at the north and south ends of the train area. Platform canopies on both sides will integrate shelters with the entrances to tunnels and elevators

Other contractors are already expanding the Stouffville rail corridor north of Agincourt station by building a second track. At Agincourt, the EDTI team will also build another track within the station site to connect with the new tracks beyond the station. The rail design recognizes several constraints, including a narrow rail corridor, limited property, and the track width of the Sheppard Avenue East overpass, immediately south.

The future waiting room, image, Metrolinx, EDTI

The new station plan significantly increases pedestrian and cyclist access to the station. The contractors will improve the walkway and stairway between the station and Sheppard Avenue on the west side of the tracks and build a new walk and stairs to and from Sheppard on the east side. Another new pedestrian and cyclist access point will be at Dowry Avenue on the east side of the station north of Sheppard. A pedestrian tunnel under the tracks will link Marilyn Avenue with Agincourt Drive and the residential areas east and west of the tracks, and offer platform access. The overall station design also includes 32 bicycle-parking spaces.

The station will continue to offer commuting motorists 342 spaces to park their vehicles. A new passenger pick-up and drop-off area (or "kiss and ride") adds another 25 short-term spaces. The plans also indicate a loop around the kiss and ride for GO Transit buses, but, currently, no GO buses operate along routes near the station. The loop could also be available for TTC local buses, too, but long-term plans are for a light rail transit line on Sheppard Avenue East, with a stop likely beside the station.

Canopies would cover shelter passengers on both platforms, image, Metrolinx, EDTI

Five-metre-high (16-foot-high) walls will help protect the residents of nearby properties on Agincourt Drive and Reidmount, Marilyn and Dowry Avenues from the noise and vibration usually resulting from frequent train operations.

To reduce the impact of construction on commuter-rail service, EDTI proposes scheduling work that requires major track closures over weekends. In addition to these weekend works, EDTI may also be completing various components of the project overnight to decrease disrupting vehicular traffic.

Metrolinx has planned to improve Agincourt GO Station entirely to support RER. Although renovating and expanding the station is not part of the SmartTrack project that the City of Toronto is helping to pay for, the station's commuters will, nevertheless, benefit from the city's program. When SmartTrack is operating, Agincourt passengers may receive even more frequent service than the 15-minute RER threshold--with GO trains possibly stopping as often as every 5.5 to 10 minutes during rush hours.

Electric trains will eventually operate through the station, image, Metrolinx, EDTI

Metrolinx, IO and their contractor are delivering the project using IO's alternative financing and procurement model (AFP). According to IO, the "AFP model is an innovative way of financing and procuring large public infrastructure projects". AFP uses private-sector resources and expertise, and transfers project risks to those private-sector teams, which are accountable for delivering the project on time and on budget.

EDTI consists of: developer EllisDon Capital Inc.; constructor EllisDon Civil Inc.; architects: Architecture 49; designers WSP / MMM; and financial advisor EllisDon Capital Inc. The group expects to substantially complete the project by December 2020.

The plan includes better pedestrian access to and from the station, image, Metrolinx, EDTI

What do you think of the plan? You can leave your comment in the space provided below, or join the discussion in our forum by visiting the GO Transit serviceconstruction, or SmartTrack threads to take part.