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SmartTrack (Proposed)

Rainforest

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If it is just a matter of investment to get up to those 20k-30k/hr capacities, would it not make sense to pursue them? I mean, we can wait 50 years for a subway to do the same job, or try to fully leverage our rail ROWs. I don't think Metrolinx has said we will continue to use the same type of rolling stock for the higher frequency electrified service.

Of course it would make sense. I just doubt we are at the point where such investment has been made, or is being made.
 

ARG1

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Great if so. But I see more than a few problems with that:

1. The load / unload speed. Just look at the GO car door layout, and compare to the subway car door layout. The GO cars are a lot less efficient, and the double deckers are the worst. That's not a big problem when the trains run once in 30 min or even once in 15 min. But try going to every 7 min or every 5 min, and you might not be able to pull the next train into a busy station because the previous train is still sitting there unloading.

2. Platforms at Union: do we have enough of them for all services?

3. Stairs / elevators at Union. Compare them to the subway stairs; the latter are a lot wider. Can the Union stairs handle the subway scale loads?

4. GO trains require full break tests every time they change directions. Perhaps we can organize the frequent GO lines in such a way that none terminates at Union / all run through Union, that should help. But they still need to terminate and turn back somewhere; can they do that trick while maintaining a 5-min frequency?

5. Track conflicts between services. Yonge subway tracks and Bloor subway tracks do not cross each other at grade, obviously. But today's GO trains use routes / tracks that cross each other. Again, fine for 30-min frequencies, tight for 15-min, not suitable for 5-min. Can grade separation be added at every place where needed? Not sure again.

Now when I see a Metrolinx report, vetted by the engineers and stating that yes, we are going to 20,000 - 30,000 pphpd capacities on the major lines, then I'll happily throw all the above concerns into a garbage bin. But before that, forgive me for being a little skeptical :)
So let's go through these one by one.

1,4: GO RER will use brand new EMUs that are far easier to reverse than the diesel loco hauled trains we have now. Not only that, but we do not even know what the design will be so its difficult to say anything meaningful about it.
2,3: This is why the Union Station reconstruction project is a thing. The goal at the end is to have enough platforms to handle all of this, and have wide enough platforms to handle massive traffic flow.
5: Part of the OnCorr project is adding new tracks to each of the main corridors so that track conflicts don't happen. When GO RER opens, the plan is that every single GO line (except Milton and Richmond Hill) has at least 2 tracks dedicated to them. The Kitchener Line corridor near Liberty village for instance will have 4 tracks for the Kitchener Line, 2 tracks for the Barrie Line, and 1 track for the Milton Line and any freight service that might need to use it.
 

Rainforest

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1,4: GO RER will use brand new EMUs that are far easier to reverse than the diesel loco hauled trains we have now. Not only that, but we do not even know what the design will be so its difficult to say anything meaningful about it.

EMU means electrification. That will hopefully happen at some point, but a lot later than the declaration of SmartTrack's "completion".

SmartTrack was supposed to be built in 7 years, in other words, no later than 2021. So, if we ask specifically "will SmartTrack, once completed, operate as a part of TTC fare zone", then the answer is probably not.

If we ask "will GO RER eventually have enough capacity to integrate with TTC into a common fare structure", then the answer is hopefully yes.
 

gibsonm

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But if the idea of ST is to carve a subway-like route out of a few different GO lines, such that no transfer is required for travellers taking it from one end to the other, unless of course they are transferring to another TTC line, and if the city paid for those additional stations, then it isn't a GO service as we know it. It will feel to users like a TTC service. Even when the RER plan is built out and regional distance-based fares are added to the mix, preserving the ST route makes good sense. The value is in fare integration, using existing rail infrastructure, and cobbling together a practical, sensible route out of three rail lines. Electrification just makes it easier to increase frequency and speed.
 

ARG1

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EMU means electrification. That will hopefully happen at some point, but a lot later than the declaration of SmartTrack's "completion".

SmartTrack was supposed to be built in 7 years, in other words, no later than 2021. So, if we ask specifically "will SmartTrack, once completed, operate as a part of TTC fare zone", then the answer is probably not.

If we ask "will GO RER eventually have enough capacity to integrate with TTC into a common fare structure", then the answer is hopefully yes.
Well with SmartTrack we probably would've seen DMUs similar to the UP Express or the Trillium Line in Ottawa, that aren't that much worse in that regard.
 

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