Metrolinx's $1.2 billion dollar Georgetown South rail corridor upgrade project is rapidly approaching completion, due for the spring of 2015. The project upgrades a corridor that serves 3 GO lines and the future Union Pearson Express (UPx) airport to downtown train, and is set to see large increases in service in the coming years including a possible High Speed Rail corridor. The corridor is being constructed with the future in mind, with bridges and tunnels being designed for more tracks than will be installed on opening day. Certain parts of the corridor are set to allow for up to 8 tracks.

Map of the project, Image from Metrolinx

The project includes multiple grade separations of varying scale, a significant reconstruction of the corridor's bridge over the humber river, the elimination of the West Toronto Diamond rail-rail level crossing, as well as new stations and noise barriers.

Beginning west of Union Station, the corridor drops under the new Strachan grade separation, designed to hold the ultimate cross-section of 8 tracks to deal with the large amount of train service projected here in the near future. Opening day will only see 6 tracks however, 2 of which are dead-end stubs for the moment, and 4 of which are currently live, which is still an upgrade over the 3 mainline tracks existing before the upgrade. This stretch of tracks will carry 5 different train services; the GO Barrie, Kitchener, and Milton train lines, the UPx, and VIA Rail's Kitchener service.

Strachan rail overpass looking west, image by Forum Contributor Reaperexpress

Once the Barrie line departs the corridor just south of Dundas Street, the ultimate corridor configuration drops from 8 to 6 tracks, and continues through a newly upgraded Bloor station, where the GO Kitchener and UPx services will stop.

Bloor Station nearing completion, image by Forum contributor urbandreamer

The corridor then runs north to the West Toronto diamond, where the Milton GO line splits off towards the west, merging onto Canadian Pacific's main rail line through the city. The corridor, now reduced to 4 tracks, drops under a new grade separation to cross Canadian Pacific's rail line. This project, where trains shifted to the new underpass this September, is now beginning to approach completion with the final tracks being laid.

West Toronto Diamond tunnel, image courtesy of GO Transit

The corridor, now serving only 3 train services (UPx, VIA, GO Kitchener), runs up towards Weston. The new Denison road underpass, replacing a former level crossing just after the corridor passes Jane Street, is getting the finishing touches done before reopening to traffic.

Denison road underpass, image by Forum contributor Drum118

The project then comes up upon the newly rebuilt Weston station, where both the UPx and GO Kitchener trains will stop.

New Weston GO/UPx station, image by Forum contributor Drum118

Shortly after departing Weston station, trains will drop into the new 360 metre-long Weston tunnel, crossing under King and Church streets. 

Workers laying tracks in the Weston Tunnel, image courtesy of GO Transit

After returning to ground level from the Weston Tunnel, the corridor crosses Weston Road, which has had its bridge replaced and widened as part of the project.

The Weston Road bridge, during construction, mid-summer, image by Craig White

The Corridor then crosses the newly rebuilt Humber River bridge, which has been widened from a single track to 4 tracks.

Approach to Humber River bridge, showing the 4 tracks. Image by Forum contributor Drum118

After crossing the river, the corridor crosses under the 401, and approaches Etobicoke North station. Tracks under the 401 underpass are being relaid to accommodate 3 tracks. A new underpass will have to be constructed to get a fourth track under the multi-lane expressway.

401 underpass from the Etobicoke North GO station, image by Forum contributor Drum118

Looking northwest from Etobicoke North station, image by Joseph Benesh

The UPx trains turn off the corridor several kilometres further on past the 427 underpass, marking the end of corridor upgrades. Beyond there, the new UPx service has a now-completed elevated rail spur running to Pearson International Airport. UPx trains are already doing preparatory testing for the introduction of the service in the spring.

UPx train traveling on new elevated spur to Pearson International Airport. Image by Forum contributor Vegetaskyline

We will be back to cover significant milestones as more improvements are made in the corridor. More information for the UPx is available in our dataBase file, linked below. Feel free to add your comments in the space provided on this page, or choose the associated Forum thread link to get in on the discussion.

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