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GO Transit Electrification (Metrolinx, Proposed)

Allandale25

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So by the term "update", I assume that they still haven't made up their minds. How many updates on a single decision can one transit agency make? Seriously, GO RER was announced over 5 years ago and they still haven't even decided what trains or technology they are going to use little alone build any. I know Torontonians are use to iinertia on the transit file but this really is scandalous.
Couple of quick points.

The Ford Government renamed it GO Expansion from GO RER.

Updates for all RFQs/RFPs are a normal component of Metrolinx board meetings. So it's not a big deal and actually helpful if there's is an update because sometimes months pass between when a RFQ or RFP launches and when I final winner is announced. As discussed previously, there was a January 2020 media article and discussions above about some OnCorr scope changes. Maybe there won't be an update. It's just some speculation. We'll know in a few days.

If you look at what they announced after the Wynne Liberals made the GO electrification commitment in 2014, they said almost right away that the choice of using overhead wires, batteries, or hydrogen was up to the winner of the RFP. They left it up to the consortiums bidding to decide the mix and how best to achieve with rolling stock the broad service levels currently shown on the Metrolinx website. So that clarifies the "decision" aspect. It's more nuanced than you giving the impression Metrolinx can't make a decision. The decision is part of who wins.

It's been long debated here what's better: hydrogen or catenary wires. An argument could be made they should have specified from the beginning, which is a separate argument.
 
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rbt

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As discussed previously, there was a January 2020 media article and discussions above about some OnCorr scope changes. Maybe there won't be an update. It's just some speculation. We'll know in a few days.
I'm not sure what an update would contain other than perhaps a note that the additional required EAs continue without interruption.
 

Allandale25

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I'm not sure what an update would contain other than perhaps a note that the additional required EAs continue without interruption.
I agree. It may only be that. I'm just saying in this space-time continuum the meeting is the likely next moment something might be said.
 

Allandale25

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Steve Munro has reviewed the latest IO report.

ONCorr Project: GO Network Expansion
This is a very large project including future operation of GO Transit and possible changes in the propulsion technology. An RFQ was issued in March 2018 with an RFP in May 2019. In the Spring 2020 update, the financial closing date changed from “2021” to “2022”.
 

Allandale25

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rbt

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Not necessarily agreeing. Just the messenger.
There are very few low-carbon alternatives for low-frequency VIA routes outside the Corridor.

It's not really suited to high-frequency trains but a few of GO's rush-only services might lean that direction in 2040.
 

mdrejhon

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There are very few low-carbon alternatives for low-frequency VIA routes outside the Corridor.

It's not really suited to high-frequency trains but a few of GO's rush-only services might lean that direction in 2040.
IMHO, battery trains are more likely to happen than hydrogen trains.

There's vastly far more than enough power in modern lithium batteries to power a 12-car BiLevel GO train carrying 2000 passengers. The devil is in the details (EMU design, coach design, and/or locomotive design, cost of the whole thing). But with a kilowatt-hour of lithium battery falling to USD$62 in bulk by year 2030, the economics are going to quickly make sense.

 

kali

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And once we have autonomous commuter trains, costs will drop even further and we can run even more service. Is that feasible?
 

Kraylin

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But with a kilowatt-hour of lithium battery falling to USD$62 in bulk by year 2030, the economics are going to quickly make sense
We should have improved our system 10 years ago. I am troubled by your target of another 10 years from now!
 

mdrejhon

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We should have improved our system 10 years ago. I am troubled by your target of another 10 years from now!
Not my dates — it’s the ones found in Metrolinx documents.

Current Metrolinx timelines appear to be Phase 1 is ETA 2028 (where Burlington is served by hourly service) and Phase 2 is ETA 2041 (when Hamilton is served by 15min service). You’ve probably seen my old articles by now from 2015.

For the “phase 1” stuff: See Wynne’s RER 2025 was “renamed” to Ford’s GO Expansion 2028

For the “phase 2” stuff, See Metrolinx 2041 Regional Transportation Plan

Current plan is diesel to Hamilton for 2025, so the battery trains won’t be needed for route-extensions until electrified to Burlington. With a route that is maybe 75% catenary, trains don’t need to layover to recharge for a route extension over a cat-less freight-owned section — they simply recharge en-motion under the catenary built for the original phase 1 non-battery trains.

Standard catenary should be built ASAP, while battery trains can be purchased later as route-extensions (Hamilton, Brampton-CP-gap, and Bowmanville), using catenary to recharge en-motion.
 

ssiguy2

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Hydrogen, is far better used on more long-haul needs like transport, ferries, air travel, cargo ships, longer distance rail service, and cars. It offers the flexibility of traditional diesel/oil/jet fuel without the emissions and is blissfully quieter. It can used for commuter systems but it has one big drawback............it can never be used on a route with any underground stations due to safety concerns much like diesel can't. As RER ridership soars it may be necessary to build even a small underground alternative station to relieve the stress on Union and with hydrogen that simply wouldn't be an option. Of course it is very promising but also is still a newer technology and will require years to get the kinks out of the system to say nothing of having a number of large fuel suppliers.

Battery trains are very much just standard catenary trains that simply require fewer wires. This gives them the flexibility of running on non-electrified routes, far less initial infrastructure costs, not having to deal with low clearance bridges, and are more reliable due to not being at the whim of Mother Nature. They also have far lower operational costs because they don't require constant replacements, maintenance, and repairs due to weather as wires ones do. The recharging stations can simply be done at each station but are more secure and now require no contact so degradation of the system is nearly non-existent. They also don't have the visual pollution of catenary wires makes them more palatable to the neighbourhoods they are going thru.

Battery trains have been around forever as has the technology and it is proven. The only difference now is that the battery technology has allowed them to be cost efficient and practical.
 
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SFO-YYZ

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Sorry, maybe this has been mentioned already, but can anyone confirm which line(s) will be slated first for electrification, and when would that occur? Maybe I was reading the old RER program from a few years back, but I always had in mind ~2025 when electrification will be realized. Is that being pushed back? I'm just waiting for that light at the end of this long dark tunnel, even if it's a faint light.
 

rbt

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Sorry, maybe this has been mentioned already, but can anyone confirm which line(s) will be slated first for electrification, and when would that occur? Maybe I was reading the old RER program from a few years back, but I always had in mind ~2025 when electrification will be realized. Is that being pushed back? I'm just waiting for that light at the end of this long dark tunnel, even if it's a faint light.
The plan is largely unchanged BUT the timeline is entirely up to the vendors. Metrolinx will be putting a value on time; so a fast + expensive vendor can beat out a slow + cheap vendor but ultimately it's up to the vendor; 2028 is probably reasonable for at least 1 line but not all 5 of them. Vendor provided due dates will be pretty firm; large penalties for missing dates they provide.

At this time Metrolinx is working on EAs for a few pieces they overlooked; such as the Lake Shore/Stouffville choke point identified by the qualified vendors (and a few observers like Munro) from the last package. They're also breaking it up into smaller contracts ($4B not $14B) as a result of vendor feedback; Ontario Line is 3 contracts for a similar reason.
 
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