Discussion in 'Transportation and Infrastructure' started by mdrejhon, Jun 15, 2015.
This topic deserves its own separate thread.
Let me predict: I think ultimately, they will jiggle plans around and make the Pearson North Hub is Woodbine Racetrack station.
In theory, if LINK is connected to the UPX spur after UPX electricifation, the line could be merged. Train frequency would be a point of contention, but if that was solved (e.g. interspersing back-and-fourth unmanned people movers, with the manned UPX trains, or simply terminating trains at Woodbine Racetrack) -- then you'd have a train connecting all the stations, to a theoretical future HSR train stopping at Woodbine.
Agreed. Would be cheaper to turn UPX spur into an upgraded LINK train, by merging a LINK upgrade and a UPX electricifation upgrade, also for congruence to interchanging with future HSR train at the end of the UPX spur (e.g. Woodbine Racetrack) so the proposed high speed train doesn't have to divert into Pearson.
In other words, a massively upgraded people mover going over the UPX spur, and connecting with a nonstop bullet train departing Woodbine Racetrack to Toronto Union. Probably could arrive in about 12-15 minutes. SmartTrack would bring those Bloor/Weston people to the Woodbine Racetrack instead.
Woodbine Racetrack station becomes the massive Pearson Rail Hub -- servicing SmartTrack trains, GO trains, and HSR trains, in a 25-year plan. (Long term enough that UPX would be discontinued by then. People departing Union would take the highspeed train instead, and connect to the upgraded LINK people mover going over former UPX spur to the Person Rail Hub (aka Woodbine Racetrack Station)
Options of travel:
- Highspeed train from London/Kitchener/Pearson/Toronto Union to Pearson Hub (Woodbine Racetrack), then an upgraded faster LINK peoplemover going over UPX spur to all concourses.
- SmartTrack train from Union,Liberty,Bloor,Eglinton,Weston, to the Pearson Hub (Woodbine Racetrack), then onto LINK people mover.
- Any other conventional GO trains (whatever not replaced by SmartTrack and HSR) stopping at Pearson Hub (Woodbine Racetrack).
Making Woodbine Racetrack station the Pearson Hub, to merge HSR/SmartTrack/UPX/LINK
- Connect LINK routing to UPX spur routing
- Run an upgraded faster LINK train over former UPX spur (2-3min headways).
- Can be made to support SmartTrack, highspeed trains, GOtrains, VIA
- No diversion of HSR route needed
- No tunneling needed
- Reuse of existing UPX spur infrastructure
- Allows full service life of UPX before discontinuing when HSR arrives (~2030s).
- Faster transport of people from Union to Pearson, due to nonstop HSR train skipping Weston/Bloor.
- Services everything in the Northeast rail corridor (especially between London through Toronto)
It is sensible, it allows an eventual exit plan for UPX and reuse of former UPX track for HSR trains instead, it enables HSR, it is cheaper than the alternatives being brought forth. If Metrolinx and GTAA connects well, they can make this their master plan.
Toronto to Pearson in about ~15 minutes (corridor pretty much allows this today, already, with only minor tweaks -- a UPX train recently took only 19 minutes to Pearson by stopwatch, including the time of trip over the UPX spur!). Avoid stopping at Bloor/Weston, and the spur, and HSR trains may be able to go between Union and Perason Hub (Woodbine Racetrack station) in slightly less than 15 minutes. With only simpler corridor optimizations and virtually no Georgetown Corridor speed limit changes -- except for faster USRC speed limit with faster crossovers in the USRC (>15mph) for the high speed train platform at Toronto Union.
You have to transfer to LINK anyway today, so that transfer simply gets shifted from airport over to Woodbine instead, but now the transfer serves HSR/SmartTrack/GOtrain concurrently!! And with 2-3min headways on the upgraded LINK trains going over former UPX spur (instead of 4-8min), you're from Union to Pearson in a blazing time period, whatever train you caught (HSR/SmartTrack/GOtrain) anywhere between London through Toronto. Genius, is it not?
This will make concourse transfer much more convenient as it shifts transfer point from the Pearson UPX station to the Woodbine Racetrack station, so you actually save almost 50% of your Union-to-Pearson travel time over today's UPX, in situations when you have to do a transfer anyway to the LINK train.
So, that's why they will slowly eventually dismiss the folly expensive megaproject silly ideas like a rail tunnel under Pearson station -- that's a waste of money. From a sensible budget perspetcive, I predict that Woodbine Racetrack is the final ultimate location of the proposed Pearson Rail Hub. Who knows, they may actually name it Pearson Hub instead -- much like Metrolinx renamed GO James North into GO West Harbour. So ignore the little racetrack nearby (it's just a coincidental bonus); but the smart people can see it on the wall -- Woodbine Racetrack is the obvious location of Pearson Hub.
Tourists just hop onto the LINK train at any airport concourse -- transfer to any train (SmartTrack or highspeed train) heading to downtown Toronto at the Pearson Hub. It services everything that runs in the Northeast rail corridor. Caught a VIA train from London? Getting on the highspeed train from Kitchener? Caught SmartTrack from Markham or Toronto Union? All of yous now got a Pearson Hub stop!
*NOTE: SmartTrack RER is not necessarily included; it might go to Airport Corporate as originally. Or it can do both (7.5min at Weston, split every other train to Eglinton vs Bramalea, to also serve Pearson Hub too).
I hope that Ontario's high speed EA is considering this potential, as a big cost-saver for the proposed Pearson stop for HSR trains.
A transport hub at Woodbine to serve the airport? No, too far off the beaten track. Does nothing for the business park, which is the other direction completely from the airport.
I agree. Bring up a different idea --
We now know
(A) GTAA wants a Pearson transportation hub.
(B) Ontario is now proceeding with an environmental assessment for high speed trains with a Pearson stop.
(C) Massive redevelopment at Woodbine. Example, proposal to redevelop 700 acres at Woodbine:
How do we satisfy GTAA, City, Ontario? Obviously, we need a unified station that satisfies all three of the above, at the lowest possible cost. One station? Two stations?
Brainstorm! Your idea is welcome. Some of the planners at City Hall/Metrolinx/GO are forum members here. They're reading all about various kinds of ideas that may later get funding for studies.
It does not need to include SmartTrack if you prefer it go to Airport Corporate if you vote it to. But there can simply be two SmartTrack routes (7.5min RER service at Weston splitting every other train off 15min Eglinton/15min Bramalea). Whatever SmartTrack/RER does is really circumstantial to the concept of Union Station II.... This is not a SmartTrack thread. We can say it includes SmartTrack, or excludes SmartTrack, but the concept is still there -- a sort of Union Station II hub.
Also, we know UPX is the game in town, but let's imagine Pearson Hub as a 25-year plan. Airport terminals often have a 25-year lifetime in many countries. We could simply replace UPX with a highspeed train then, once it's finally built, say by the 2030s.
Your ideas are welcome about Union Station II near Pearson.
Tunnel? Underground? Weston? Woodbine? All ears...
This makes sense and I don't know why it hasn't already being considered. Maybe airports are hubs for transportation. A lot of people who go to those airports are going there to connect to other trains and buses and not even take a flight.
Honestly, if the GTAA wants to build a multi-modal hub, then Woodbine doesn't make much sense. They would be better off just locating it at Malton GO Station, which has much easier access to the business park between Airport Road and the 427. To connect it, either make a new People Mover to Malton, or create a new track to allow a shuttle train to come off the UPX spur northbound and head westbound onto the rail corridor.
I'm not sure of the best way to connect this hub to the Airport Corporate Centre south of the 401, though. I don't think you can really serve both, without a lot of tradeoffs. It might be best to just have two hubs - one being Malton GO and the other being Renforth Gateway, and then simply connect them with a LRT route that runs through Pearson.
I agree that Woodbine is a bit too far away if the goal is to build a multi-modal hub for Pearson. Woodbine only makes sense if you're routing GO RER along the UPX spur into Pearson, since Woodbine would be the last station before it branches off.
Honestly, I don't mind the idea of having UPX being the only direct-to-Pearson transit service. It justifies the premium price. Other transit services would be directed to either the North or South Hubs, and connect to the LINK train (upgraded, of course). This would also help de-clutter transit at Pearson, since it would redirect all ground transit to a single point at T1 and T3 (less confusing signage), and then at the LINK station there would be a list of what is at the North Hub and what is at the South Hub, and what direction you should head.
If you want the express option from T1 to downtown, you can take the UPX directly from T1. If you want the economy option, you can take the LINK train to the North Hub and take a GO RER train into downtown. If you're bound for Square One, take the LINK train to the South Hub and connect to the Mississauga Transitway. If you're taking VIA HSR, the station for that can be at the North Hub as well.
Alternatively, you could also name the ground hubs Terminals 2 and 4 if you would like, to emphasize that they're an interconnected part of the Pearson Complex.
Excellent, that is a consideration I missed. Malton is an idea. But might cost more (2nd spur + possible demolition of original spur if discontinued). And we haven't considered the potential of Woodbine Racetrack redevelopments, as there are those massive redevelopment proposals going around. Because of this, there may be more offices near Woodbine than at Malton, by 2035-2040. But you are otherwise, very right.
Another idea is to make an upgraded faster LINK people mover connect to both Malton and Woodbine, via a labyrinthe route going back and fourth (through Pearson airport) between Malton (as LINK terminus) and Woodbine (as LINK terminus). Or one of these two stations, to Airport Corporate centre. A new LINK train doesn't have to serve just one GO station -- in theory...
When RER *and* high speed trains arrive, we might not have room (trainslots) on the railroad anymore for UPX. When it comes down to push going to shove -- theoretically, do you prefer to cancel highspeed trains in order to keep UPX in Year 2035-2040?
The Ontario proposes high speed trains in 10 years, but let's double that, and that brings us near the 25-year "master plan" league territory -- 2035-2040. This coincides with replacing worn-out UPX trains.
By 2035-2040 as a realistic HSR timeline, UPX will have finished a very healthy successful service life by then. The corridor might be populous enough to sustain 15-min-frequency high speed trains (at least for the section between Kitchener and Union). France and Japanese treats some high speed train routes like a subway, tap a card and hop on. Imagine Toronto's bullet train as being UPX II in spirit -- it's effectively nonstop express from Toronto to Pearson.
Some trains may have to disappear, to free up room for other high-frequency trains. Such as bullet trains taking over the UPX timeslots on the railroad. So, because of this, the High Speed Train becomes a kind of UPX II... one that serves London/Kitchener/Pearson/Toronto, rather than Pearson/Weston/Bloor/Toronto.
(The literal multibillion-dollar question is...what should become the Pearson stop for the high speed train?)
woodbine with an extension of the LINK train to meet it there, if you ask me. Huge TOD at Woodbine racetrack, HSR station, short LINK train ride to the airport, you can build ramps off the 427 for bus access, etc.
Bus access ramps off 427....excellent consideration! There's lots of land for bus access ramps south of Rexdale. Between 427 and Woodbine Racetrack, there's a thousand acres of greenfield (brownfield?) there according to Google Satellite View. That's part of the land parcel for the massive Woodbine redevelopment proposals.
At this point, any development at Woodbine Racetrack is extremely theoretical. We would be better off planning to satisfy the huge amount of commuters who already work north and south of Pearson Airport, which is exactly what the GTAA is apparently doing, as reported in the Toronto Star article.
Unfortunately, as nfitz said, Woodbine is simply in the wrong position to serve these markets. The vast bulk of jobs around the airport are actually south and west of it (ie. Dixie from Eglinton to Tomken, and Renforth & Eglinton), which are not well served by Woodbine at all. I don't think that you can legitimately serve Dixie from a Pearson Hub anyway, which is why I'd focus attention on Renforth Gateway, as that area actually has a better chance of actually serving transit commuters.
The other large area, directly north of the airport, would be better off served from Malton anyway, so still don't see the point of Woodbine.
A secondary question is, what is the situation by 2035-2040 as lots can change between now and then.
By then, which station, Malton or Woodbine, will have the most pros? The station that becomes a HSR stop, will have massively skyrocketing land value. There are various proposals to redevelop all 700 acres of Woodbine Racetrack lands. Level the whole place, rebuild. That's literally almost the size of Toronto's downtown. Consider the Toronto downtown rectangle surrounding Spadina-to-Church, Front-to-College, is 750 acres via area measurement tool. With all that land value, what do we want to do with 700 acres at Woodbine by 2035-2040?
It's only a 15 minute commute from downtown Toronto on a high speed train, and only a 40 minute commute from Kitchener. Hello, brand new CBD. Brand new CBD's have appeared in the middle of nowhere in a mere 20 years. That said, airport itself will limit the height of the towers there, however, a massive office density increase can still occur in that area. Fill 700 acres full of 5-to-10 storey buildings, is still almost a brand new city.
Question: Which station, Malton or Woodbine, has more potential for redevelopment?
That could actually be the biggest determinator which becomes the Pearson Rail Hub.
I'm not doubting the development potential of Woodbine, I'm just saying that the goal should be to make the LINK ICTS route as short as possible, while still connecting to transit on both ends. There's nothing stopping GO from putting an infill GO RER station at Woodbine at a later date, coordinated with development (I think they should). I'm just saying that Malton is the better location for the North Hub.
As for the GO buses, I would think that the South Hub would be an easier location for those, considering it's right off the 401-427 interchange. You'd also have the Transitway right there, so there's the potential for GO to double up on that existing infrastructure.
As for VIA HSR potentially having a conflict with UPX, I don't think that'll be much of an issue. VIA trains would be stopping at Malton (North Hub) just before the UPX spur joins the mainline. Timing could be worked out so that a VIA HSR train passes the spur just before a UPX train departs T1, so they can use the same track. If you wanted to eventually combine UPX and HSR, you could theoretically turn the spur into a wye, so that trains would enter from the west, pull into T1, then pull back onto the mainline headed eastbound. Thru trains could just keep going.
I have wondered about a "Kiss and Ride" hub point outside of, but near, Pearson as an alternative to having to go all the way in by car or taxi. The Renforth Hub seemed particularly suited, as it would serve the Eglinton LRT and Transitway without forcing those routes into the airport, and would reduce auto traffic within the airport proper. A free bus shuttle would be a good interim solution - a tunnelled transit solution can wait a decade or two while the available funds meet other projects. There's little real capital construction required so it's doable in short timeframe with not much money.
Malton would be another good place for such a hub, in the sense that it would serve a HSR/VIA/RER/GO station without forcing any of the above to look for a new ROW into the airport. Newark is a good example of where a peoplemover (Link or equivalent) is used to link the airport to a major rail corridor. Seems perfect to address this need.
Woodbine might be OK for that, with UPX providing the link to the airport. Having argued against UPX all along, now that it's built I would say leave it alone (sort of, electify it with higher capacity EMU's and enable some local transit functionality) rather than steal that spur for other things.
And - before we distract ourselves with too many good brainstormed new ideas that all need funding - can we please get on with plain vanilla 2WAD GO service to Brampton, as was supposed to have happened all along???? Just call it STRERGO and everyone will feel they get the credit.