Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx have awarded a $9-billion contract to a consortium that will deliver new trains, systems, maintenance, and operations for the future Ontario Line subway.

Map of the future Ontario Line subway, image, Metrolinx

Connect 6ix have received the contract to build, design and finance operate and maintain the rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance (RSSOM) package for a 30-year term, which consists of $2.3B for capital costs and $6.7B for short-term construction financing and transaction costs, train costs, and 30-year operations and maintenance, lifecycle, and long-term financing.

The scope of work for the contract includes includes designing, supplying, operating and maintaining the rolling stock (trains), the track and communications and train-control systems, the maintenance and storage facility, and the operations control centre. The group will also work collaboratively with TTC according to future operations and maintenance agreements. It will mobilize its design and construction crews in 2023.

The Connect 6iX team includes:

  • Applicant Lead: Plenary Americas, Hitachi Rail, Webuild Group (Salini Impreglio Canada Holding Inc.), Transdev Canada Inc.

  • Design Team: Hitachi Rail, IBI Group Professional Services (Canada) Inc.

  • Construction Team: Hitachi Rail, Webuild Group (Astaldi Canada Design & Construction Inc. and Salini Impreglio Civil Works Inc.), NGE Contracting Inc.

  • Operations, Maintenance and Rehabilitation Team: Hitachi Rail, Transdev Canada Inc.

  • Financial Advisors: National Bank Financial Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

ide view of the exterior of an Ontario Line subway train behind platform-edge doors. Image, Connect 6ix

IO says that the project underwent an open, fair, and competitive procurement process, which a third-party fairness monitor oversaw, and that Connect 6ix submitted the proposal which delivers the best value for Ontario taxpayers. The team is delivering the project through IO’s public-private partnership (P3) model, which transfers appropriate risks resulting from design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the project to the private sector.

The Government of Ontario has also released a sample of the subway train renderings that Connect 6ix has prepared, showing early-concept designs that will be finalized after further consultation with municipal partners and communities.

According to a news release from Hitachi Rail, "The consortium will draw on Hitachi Rail’s extensive international experience delivering subway vehicles across the world to deliver a state-of-the-art fleet of autonomous trains. The trains will be packed with the latest technology and feature:

  • onboard Wi-Fi;

  • digital passenger-information screens;

  • charging points;

  • dedicated spaces for bicycles;

  • double wheelchair areas;

  • continuous, connected carriages;

  • heating and cooling throughout;

  • doors that will open in sync with platform-edge doors;

  • regenerative braking."


Transparent platform-edge doors opening to an Ontario Line train. Image, Connect 6ix

The team will also deliver Wi-Fi access, passenger-information screens, and platform-edge doors in all Ontario Line stations under this contract.

The electric Ontario-Line trains will travel at speeds of as much as 80 kilometres per hour. Hitachi explains its "world-leading digital train control systems" will allow it to operate the fleet at high frequency — as much as every 90 seconds — meaning passengers will never have to wait long for a train. The company says the new subway can achieve such a change in service levels because it will be fully autonomous and therefore "capable of offering higher levels of safety, reliability and capacity."

The line will be fitted with the latest communication-based train control (CBTC) technology that seamlessly connects tracks, trains, and the control centre together — providing a perfect picture of every part of the subway system. Full automation and integration means that trains can safely run more closely together, as well as accelerating and braking more efficiently. To deliver the driverless system, Hitachi Rail will draw from its extensive international experience, which includes projects in Denmark, Taiwan, Italy, the United Kingdom, China, Greece, India and the United States.

To make sure the trains run to a very high standard, Hitachi Rail and Transdev will establish a new purpose-built digital control centre and maintenance and storage facility, which will create hundreds of permanent jobs. The Connect 6ix project team are immediately starting to recruit people to deliver the program, before starting construction. In total, they expect to create 800 jobs.


Interior view of Ontario Line train featuring continuous, connected train cars. Image, Connect 6ix

Metrolinx's chief executive officer, Phil Verster said, "These important steps forward in procurement mean we are even closer to giving communities across Toronto a new subway line that will take 28,000 cars off the road each day and also ease congestion across the existing transit network — reducing crowding by as much as 22 per cent at Bloor-Yonge subway station and 14 per cent at Union subway station. With connections to more than 40 other transit routes along the way, the Ontario Line will make it easier than ever for Torontonians to choose transit first."

Andrew Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail said: “As a world leader in autonomous metro systems, we’re hugely excited to help transform Toronto’s transit network by delivering the new Ontario Line. This will be the second major program that we’ll be bring our digital expertise and engineering excellence to deliver in Canada, after the Hurontario the light rail transit project. Our role delivering maintenance and operations for the next 30 years will see us having a lasting presence in Toronto for a generation to come.”

“Because of the worldwide scope of our operations, Transdev is very familiar with public-private partnerships for building transit,” added Arthur Nicolet, CEO Transdev Canada. “This approach involves the operator at the earliest stage of the design process and ensures the sustainability of the system over the long-term. Being awarded a 30-year commitment to operate the line, we are more than keenly interested in ensuring the final product delivers on all of the expectations for riders.”


View of an Ontario Line subway train car’s front exterior. Image, Connect 6ix

The Ontario Line will be a 15.6-kilometre new rapid transit line linking the Ontario Science Centre with Exhibition Place / Ontario Place with 15 stations, including six interchange stations. The new line will provide more than 40 connections to other subway, bus, streetcar, light-rail transit and regional rail services.

IO and Metrolinx are using three separate P3 contracts to build the line. Two weeks ago, it awarded a contract for the southern portion of the line between Exhibition Place and the lower Don River. This southern contract includes a six-kilometre twin-bore tunnel, six new underground stations, including two that will integrate with TTC subway stations, and one above-ground station that will integrate with a GO Transit station. Last week, it issued a request for qualifications for the northern segment of the Ontario Line to support building underground stations and tunnels under Pape Avenue between the Gerrard portal and the Don Valley bridge and the construction of three kilometres of elevated tracks in the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park neighbourhoods.

View from the interior of an Ontario Line train car with doors open. Image, Connect 6ix

The RSSOM contract is the third of the three P3 contracts to build the line. However, some segments of the Ontario Line, where the route is beside GO rail corridors, will be procured separately. And, early-works construction for the Ontario Line is already underway at Exhibition Station, at the site of the future Corktown and Moss Park stations, and in the joint Ontario Line / GO corridor west of the Don River.

IO and Metrolinx issued a request for qualifications for the southern and RSSOM contracts in September, 2020. They shortlisted the bids and issued a request for proposals to those remaining teams in December, 2020, with a deadline for submitting proposals of this June. They selected the preferred proponent teams in September.

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