Earlier today, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took a pre-opening ride on the new Union Pearson Express (UP Express), where she announced an opening date for the express service linking Union Station with Pearson International Airport. On June 6th, just over one month before the start of the 2015 Pan Am Games, the line will enter service, shuttling passengers between Toronto's primary rail station and airport.

Train on the Union Pearson Express, image courtesy of Metrolinx

This announcement adds to what has already been an big week for transit enthusiasts, following on a TBM move for the Crosstown LRT, and a funding commitment for the Hurontario-Main LRT. All are part of the provincial government's Moving Ontario Forward plan, set to invest billions of dollars in funding to build transit and infrastructure projects across the province.

UP Express trains will run at 15-minute intervals, with stops along the way serving Bloor and Weston GO stations, and the whole ride will take just 25 minutes. To allow such a quick trip without interfering with existing road and rail routes, over 60 kilometres of track needed to be installed on the Georgetown South rail corridor, 200,000 m3 was poured to modify bridges and construct tunnels, and a massive 3 kilometre elevated spur was built into the airport. The spur, the most visible element in the project, is 28 metres tall at its highest point and is supported by 70 concrete piers.

As opening day fast approaches, the stations themselves are nearing completion. The large barrel-vaulted section of the SkyWalk, just west of the main Union Station building, is now the site of the entrance to the Union Station UP Express platform. All four of the line's stations will be sealed off from the elements with platform screen doors only opening once a train has stopped at the station, keeping the stations warm in cold weather.

Union UP Express station, viewed from the SkyWalk, image by Jason Paris

The UP Express is projecting a ridership of 2.35 million passengers for 2018, just three years after the opening. Ridership is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, as Union Station and Pearson Airport are anticipating a combined volume of 190 million travelers per year by 2031, nearly double the current traffic. The cost of an end-to-end ride on the UP Express will be $19 for those with a Presto Card.

Additional information and renderings of the Union Pearson Express can be found in our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

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