Over the last several years, Union Station has been a construction site as the building's public areas have been reconstructed for both improved and expanded GO and VIA Rail waiting areas, and new retail offerings. While that construction closes in on completion over the next year, attention is now turning to the station's ability to handle more trains and their increased passenger loads. Following a qualification process, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) have invited four teams to respond to a request for proposals (RFP) to deliver the Union Station Enhancement project.

Aerial view of Union Station, image, Ed Skira

The two provincial agencies selected the teams with criteria including their team membership, experience in delivering collaborative projects, health and safety and past project examples.

They shortlisted these teams:

OnTrack Alliance

GTA Alliance

OneUnion Alliance

Union Gateway Alliance

A view of the Union Station train shed after extensive renovation, image, Scott Money, Metrolinx

For the project, a team will design and build transit infrastructure and upgrade the southernmost part of Union Station to accommodate more GO Transit trains, improve passenger experience and help Metrolinx expand GO rail services.

To help increase capacity at the station, the scope of work includes:

  • building new platforms to reduce overcrowding during peak hours and add more train capacity to the station;
  • building a canopy or roof structure over the new platform to protect passengers and equipment from the weather;
  • combining narrow existing platforms into wider (but fewer) platforms which can handle large passenger loads much more quickly;
  • installing "vertical-access elements", such as stairs and elevators;
  • building two new tracks to allow for future passenger train speeds of as much as 72.4 kilometres per hour (45 miles per hour), including signals;
  • building a new a pedestrian concourse area below the new platform to improve circulation through the station;
  • improving the emergency-power system to keep services running during a power outage; and
  • installing a storm-water management system and other building systems.

Metrolinx recently added yellow tactile strips to platform edges for passenger safety, image, Stacey Kenny, Metrolinx

Last October, Metrolinx and IO released a request for qualifications (RFQ) to prequalify project teams to deliver the Union Station Enhancement project.

Teams will now begin the RFP process during which Metrolinx and IO officials will evaluate them on their approach, collaborative behaviours and final fees. The officials will select the team with the highest score to enter into an Alliance Development Agreement with Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario to submit a proposal to deliver the Union Station Enhancement Project. This will include collaborating in the design, finalizing the final cost and identifying and managing project risks.

The two agencies expect to announce a successful bidder this summer.

They also hope to deliver the project, through IO's "alliance contracting" model. According to IO, alliance contracting is a way of delivering major capital assets, where a public-sector agency works collaboratively with private sector-parties to share the risks and responsibilities in delivering a project.

Rendering of Union Station platforms after the enhancement project is complete, image Infrastructure Ontario

Let us know what you think about plans to improve Union Station by adding your comments in the space provided at the bottom of this page, or join the discussion in our dedicated Forum thread.

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