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GO Transit: Construction Projects (Metrolinx, various)

Barrie Line sound wall installation:

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What's crazy is that even if GO finishes electrifying some of the lines, They'll have to rip up these station platforms just to have them be level platform ready.

The platform modification is not trivial, but the hardest parts - realigning doors and stairwells - seems to be well anticipated.
Synching the equipment marshalling to the situation at each platform will be very interesting to watch.

- Paul
 
The platform modification is not trivial, but the hardest parts - realigning doors and stairwells - seems to be well anticipated.
Synching the equipment marshalling to the situation at each platform will be very interesting to watch.

- Paul
I found this document from GO that details the provisions built in to the new platforms, still would have been easier to just build them to the level boarding height to begin with, and have started modifying the coaches several years ago.

 
When I travel on GO I see lots of access ports on platforms, many of them retrofits. I do wonder whether utility connections and conduits/piping are all that well thought out with respect to platform height conversion. I bet some surprises happen with some of these.

Let's play this out, however. How exactly was GO supposed to convert stations, given that there has been a hodgepodge of station projects, some one-of's on each route. Sure, if a new station was being added or an old one modded, it could have been built to the higher platform height. But what does that force on the other stations? And on train operations? What about all the situations where the step height of a particular trainset doesn't match the platform height at a particular station?

One could, I suppose, shut down an entire line and convert all platforms in one mass crash program (reminds me of how narrow and broad gauge railways were converted to standard gauge once upon a time). I do not believe that would be accepted by the ridership, and it entails huge risks.... suppose one or more moving pieces falls behind.... and the return to service date has to be put off.... a recipe for bad press. The premise of a mass system wide conversion project is a huge leap of faith and ambition.

My fantasy project would see trains marshalled with some number of low step cars and a set number of high step cars, always at one end. Then stations would be gradually converted for that segment only (one sees high/low platform combinations and consists on lines such as NJT and MBTA, for instance). A carefully planned regime of doors not opened for cars with mismatched steps, as is done today for platform construction, would be needed. The number of high step cars would gradually increase as platform heights were gradually changed over. In all, that would be a huge planning and logistical and operational effort.... which is why I am glad ML did not tackle it on top of everything else.

Even the engineering effort to spot and plan for all those conduits and utility covers (many may be ad-hoc decisions by field forces, and not captured on any existing drawings or databases) is substantial. Better left for a future date when we have 2WAD running on every line.

- Paul
 
Couldn't Metrolinx just pay a contractor to hammer some wood together to match the height of the rail cars? Atleast use that as a temporary measure while they pour concrete at other stations on the line.
 
Couldn't Metrolinx just pay a contractor to hammer some wood together to match the height of the rail cars? Atleast use that as a temporary measure while they pour concrete at other stations on the line.

Yes - Quite possibly they could do some of that - but it might not be as quick and dirty as one thinks, given all the poured light bases, shelter foundations, shelter doors needing space to open, transitions at stairwells and elevators, power points, and those access plates in the ground. Lots of fussy points to cut and measure around.

- Paul
 
Not rip up, add.
I wonder if there will be any consequences to adding concrete on top in the long term. I assume they will remove the a bit of surface before adding additional concrete to raise the height. I think the platforms might actually be stacked concrete blocks (like bricks) but not sure if this would also be susceptible to issues when adding more blocks. Hopefully it will be a job that is done properly when it is undertaken.
 
Couldn't Metrolinx just pay a contractor to hammer some wood together to match the height of the rail cars? Atleast use that as a temporary measure while they pour concrete at other stations on the line.
If the goal was to convert a line to high platform they should do something like that.

1. Procure rail equipment that can be used to level platforms that are some kind of standard and not some made up thing to match bombardier bilevel equipment (say 760mm).

2. Train staff but don't have the equipment enter service right away (treat it like launching a new line).

3. Have contractors construct modular decks off-site that will fit the platform when assembled.

4. Have a cut-over weekend where all the modular platforms are installed for a line.

5. Launch level boarding services (and maybe frequent and electric service at the same time).

6. Take small sections of each platform out of service to make those sections support the new height permanently, and repeat until all the platforms are permanently at the new height.
 
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1. Procure rail equipment that can be used to level platforms that are some kind of standard and not some made up thing to match bombardier bilevel equipment (say 760mm).
Aside from the unfeasibility of getting rid of the overwhelming majority of BiLevels any time soon (don't expect the CEM coaches to retire for at least 50 years), there is also the other issue of... what standard?

If you look around at various European networks, there is none. There is a ton of variation, even amongst different stations in the same country - level boarding on a regional level is very much "oh yes we have that... well, except when we don't", and not just in the back country. As such, even though most European rail operators buy equipment that is less customised and bespoke than we are used to here, most of them will have unique floor and door heights to match local conditions.

Our BiLevels, at 610 mm, are not that unusual - most German networks have trains with platform heights between 600-700 mm. And Skoda's CityElefant EMU is 550 mm, which is very close to our own.
 
I wonder if there will be any consequences to adding concrete on top in the long term. I assume they will remove the a bit of surface before adding additional concrete to raise the height. I think the platforms might actually be stacked concrete blocks (like bricks) but not sure if this would also be susceptible to issues when adding more blocks. Hopefully it will be a job that is done properly when it is undertaken.

That's why I'm so cautious about the whole thing. ML has been roughing in the higher platform capability at each newer station as they rebuild and expand, but we don't know if there are still locations that may be problem structures - or old grading that needs a major solution. I suspect ML already has a list of these.

Even one station on a line that needs a full reconstruction works against a quick and dirty transformation. Personally I can be patient on this subject. Let's see proper 2WAD and improved headways, and completion of committed track projects, as the first priority.

- Pau
 
New MX RFP, for renovating existing stations and new stations .

RFP-2023-CCPC-457 - RFP-2023-CCPC-457: Request for Proposals Step 1 on Construction Managers for Existing Stations Renovations and New Stations Constructions


Details:
This Request for Proposals Step 1 is issued by Metrolinx to establish a list of Proponents to prepare and submit competitive Step 2 Submissions to renovate existing stations and construct new stations in the GO Expansion Program with a capital cost estimate from $80 million to $400 million, using the construction management at-risk project delivery model for each project (each a “Project”). Based on evaluation of the Step 1 Submissions in accordance with Schedule 1 – Step 1 Process, Metrolinx intends to shortlist up to eight Proponents to participate in the Step 2 Process (each a “Shortlisted Proponent”).
 
Aside from the unfeasibility of getting rid of the overwhelming majority of BiLevels any time soon (don't expect the CEM coaches to retire for at least 50 years), there is also the other issue of... what standard?

If you look around at various European networks, there is none. There is a ton of variation, even amongst different stations in the same country - level boarding on a regional level is very much "oh yes we have that... well, except when we don't", and not just in the back country. As such, even though most European rail operators buy equipment that is less customised and bespoke than we are used to here, most of them will have unique floor and door heights to match local conditions.

Our BiLevels, at 610 mm, are not that unusual - most German networks have trains with platform heights between 600-700 mm. And Skoda's CityElefant EMU is 550 mm, which is very close to our own.
The suggestion is that it happens one line at a time. The timing would be based on bi-levels and their boarding processes no longer being compatible with the services and boarding processes required. If the goal is to operate subway like services on any particular line at some point, it will be hard to achieve that with bilevels that have two doors.

The common standards for rail platform heights are 130mm, 380mm, 550mm, 760mm, 915mm, 1100mm, and 1250mm.

Railway Platform Height Table
 
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