Four inquiring minds gathered to take the Weston Tunnel tour on Thursday May 17. The tour was ably led by GO Community Relations Supervisor, Kathryn Hanford. While there is no actual tunnel yet, preparations are well under way. The Weston Tunnel is being built to lower GO and VIA tracks so that the increased number of trains anticipated by 2015 will not split Weston in two at Church and King Streets. Because of grading issues, trains cannot be completely underground at John Street, so John will be split in two but will have its two sections connected by a footbridge. At the same time, storm sewers and water mains are being upgraded in conjunction with the City of Toronto.
Hanford spent some of her formative years in Weston and has worked on similar projects in the U.S., South Africa and most recently the Diamond Grade Separation Project near the stockyards. She says she is proud of the way in which the community has been consulted in shaping the changes needed for the Air Rail Link. She also mentioned a couple of other points; Weston GO Station will move to its new location on Weston Road just south of Lawrence in mid-july. The station itself will be housed in a temporary portable structure until the ARL opens in 2015. She also said that developers have been snapping up real estate in anticipation of higher property values once the ARL is in place and also when GO becomes an all-day service (although GO seems to be quickly backing away from this promise).