Stouffville is a good example of how supposed “enabling work” doesn’t advance us very far towards the RER end state. The single longest lead time item to implement 15 minute 2WAD is the track reconfiguration at Scarboro Jct. There hasn’t even been an EA or a public consultation on that yet - it’s years away. I’m hearing that added track capacity between Union and Scarboro Jct may have been deferred. How is this ‘enabling’ RER?He's not wrong... there are many projects that got approved due to their need for full RER implementation. These include the second track on the Stouffvile corridor, and the Davenport Diamond grade separation.
Metrolinx has a listing of other work that can be considered RER enabling work:
Davenport - similar. The EA concluded quite some time ago. Procurement is not supposed to take this long. And as we’ve seen, local pols are up in arms because ML appears to be walking back the plan for about $100M in public realm improvements. Supposedly full electrification will be required if service is to exceed hourly 2WAD. Do we see any sign of that level of investment?
What GO has done - and it’s not a bad strategy, if they were transparent about it - has been to allocate judicious amounts of money to make the best possible gains in the absence of full RER funding commitment. Stouffville may get 30 min 2WAD when the new double track comes on line. Bramalea service will improve with the fourth track work on the Weston Sub. Davenport may actually happen one of these days. But this is not Advancing RER anywhere near at the pace that the cash flows in the BCS envisioned. You can’t say that all these miscellaneous projects ‘enable’ RER, they are just what ML found the money for. Sure some of the very low cost items like site surveys and so forth have been advanced, but those are cheap and pretty liesurely.
Another very long lead time item - procurement if electrical switchgear. The silence on that item establishes that catenary is a long ways off.
The recent budget calls for reduction in spending year over year towards a balanced budget. In that time frame, the new subway construction will ramp up. It strains belief to assume that the Province will have the cash flow to ramp up RER on top of the subways.
I do believe they want to invest in GO, and I’m sure that some amount of capital will be released each year, but that’s not Executing RER.... it’s doing the best they can afford.