The front-runner in the Toronto Mayoral race has a transit plan that would make Mount Dennis (and, to a lesser degree, Weston) a transit-rich part of the city. John Tory’s transit plan includes an electrified Georgetown track for LRTs that would connect with the Eglinton LRT.
Tory leads in the polls, though the election is months away, and his transit plan is a centrepiece of his campaign. As far as YHC can see, it is, as yet, unmatched by Olivia Chow (or, needless to say, Rob Ford).
Tory’s campaign calls for a line that runs from the northeast of the city, through Union Station, back up to the airport area. It would run on the existing GO lines, except for the section after Mount Dennis, and it would be “express service”—with far fewer stops and trains than a subway. It would, however, run all-day and on 15-minute intervals, unlike today’s GO trains.
John Tory’s campaign says, cleverly, that Toronto has a hidden and underused resource—surface rail corridors. Currently, these are used by diesel trains, but he is calling for “EMUs”—trains that look like subway cars.
The exciting part for us, though, is that the train would run all day, from Mount Dennis, and join with the Eglinton LRT. Local commuters could choose to either go downtown via Union, or crosstown on Eglinton. Either path would connect with the subway. The Weston—Mount Dennis area would have a GO train, the Eglinton LRT, and the Tory Train.
Tory says that the line could open in 7 years and be paid for by the increased taxes in the communities it benefits.¹
Your correspondent can’t find any answers to some natural questions:
- Why not build to the airport instead of the industrial areas around it?
- Why not use this to replace the UP Express?
- Why not use the UP Express infrastructure for this?
- Why does the east end get 13 stops while the west end gets only 8?
- How, precisely, does it relate to the planned electrification of the GO corridors?
The plan has been generally well-received. Royson James says it is a “transformational” and “exhilarating” idea. Steve Munro, however, says that it is an idea that leaves downtowners out.
¹ Yeah, I know.