The construction of the Union Pearson Express continues, with construction of the airport connection underway as of mid-March. The station at Terminal One will interface directly with the airport's own LINK train, so that service is now being replaced by "Terminal LINK" buses until October 2013, when the exterior of the new combined station will be substanitally complete.

Construction of Union Pearson Express, facing Highway 409, image by Craig White

Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure, tweeted on March 14th that the line would be electrified by 2017, with the line being “built to electric standards and specs.” The unofficial announcement of the 2017 electrication of the line comes after the 2012 controversy over the decision to run the new cars as DMUs (Diesel multiple unit trains). Metrolinx had indicated that electrification of the line—as part of the "Big Move"—was a priority, but it has not yet officially announced a firm date to electrify the line by. 

Underpass of Union Pearson Express, looking west, image by Craig White

A lawsuit by the Clean Train Coalition (CTC)—a coalition of ratepayer and resident's associations along the corridor—was turned down by the Divisional Court in November of last year. The court found that the decision to run diesel trains preceeded Metrolinx's agreement to take over implementation of the extension in 2010, and thus Metrolinx was not obligated to conduct a feasibility study with respect to electrification of the air-rail link. The CTC is concerned that diesel engines will cause undue noise and air pollution in the vicinity of the spur line. The CTC has appealed the decision. The electrification is expected to cost $900 million.

Construction of Union Pearson Express looking west, image by Craig White

Construction of Union-Pearson Express platforms is expected to be underway at Bloor and Union Stations by this summer, while the new trains are now in production and expected to start arriving in early 2014. The 24km line, 3.3km of which is new corridor running off the existing rail corridor to the airport, is targeted for completion in the Spring of 2015 prior to Toronto's hosting of that Summer's Pan Am Games. 

Construction of Union Pearson Express, Pearson Airport in background, image by Nigel Terpstra

The express route expects to have a train run every 15 minutes with connections at the Weston and Bloor GO Stations, and offer amenities such as luggage racks, washrooms, and wi-fi. The cost for the service is yet to be finalized, but is expected to be at least $20 one way for the 25 minute ride.

Construction of Union Pearson Express near Woodbine Racetrack, east of Highway 427, photo by Craig White

The Union terminal, which will offer a check-in kiosk and flight information, will be located off the Skywalk, with connections to Union Station and the PATH system. The Bloor station will connect to the Dundas West TTC subway station.

Panoramic image of Union Pearson Express, photo by Craig White

Do you have comments about Union Pearson Express? Do you have an opinion about the future electrification of the line? Please leave a comment below! Additionally, please check out the UrbanToronto Forum thread on the topic.

Related Companies:  AECOM, EllisDon, Metrolinx, MMM Group Limited, Morrison Hershfield, WSP, Zeidler Partnership Architects