Metrolinx released its electrification report, and it’s a bit of a stunner. The agency that oversees regional transit wants, after years of equivocation, obfuscation, prevarication and consultation, to do what advocates recommended from the start: use electric trains.
The report recommends electrifying the “GO Georgetown and Lakeshore corridors in phases, beginning with the [Air Rail Link] on the Georgetown corridor.”
The study says that there electrification would have few environmental or health benefits. Instead, it recommends electrifying because electric trains are cheaper and faster: On long journeys, “Time savings would be between 5 and 10 minutes per trip”, and the system could save $18 million per year.
Electrification isn’t cheap, though. It will cost about $1.7 billion. And electric trains won’t start rolling any time soon; even if the province were to give the go-ahead today, the first electric Georgetown train wouldn’t roll until sometime around 2020. The project will take 14 years to complete. The Star says that the ARL may start a little earlier, in 2018.
But before anything happens, the province will have to approve the plan. With an election looming, your representatives at Queen’s Park may be a little more receptive, and generous, than usual.