Clean Trains get their day in court

The Clean Train Coalition was in court yesterday fighting Metrolinx over its decision to order diesel trains. The Star has a long and balanced article describing the lawsuit. The CTC is suing, it says, because Metrolinx put politics ahead of good policy, and because the trains were ordered before electrification was fully considered.

Provincial transportation agency Metrolinx had no business ordering new diesel trains for the Pearson-to-Union Station rail link before completing a feasibility study on electrifying the line, a lawyer for Toronto’s Clean Train Coalition argued before an Ontario Divisional Court panel on Monday.

The CTC… wants the court to order Metrolinx to set aside its $53 million order for diesel multiple units (DMUs) [saying] Metrolinx was guided by political interests rather than good transportation planning in agreeing to an ARL completion in time for the 2015 PanAm Games.

Mike Sullivan, our MP, took the opportunity of the suit to speak in the House. He was critical of the Ontario Liberals, and asked for the Feds to push electrification on the project.

The McGuinty Liberals in Ontario are pushing Metrolinx to use diesel, despite the World Health Organization recently declaring diesel exhaust to be a Class One Carcinogen.  They are pushing to make sure the project is ready for the 2015 Pan-Am Games.  Ironically, the Olympic body responsible, ODEPA/PASO, has declared these games to be the first ever green and sustainable games.  Diesel trains are neither green nor sustainable.

There is considerable federal money in this project.  I would urge the Federal Minister of Transportation to tell Ontario to do the right thing and make these trains electric now, as any world class city should.

Another official sees GO corridors as transit solution.

The Globe and Mail has another interesting take on the GO network in an article published last Friday. In the article, Markham Councillor Jim Jones adds another voice calling on Metrolinx to add more tracks, triple the number of stations and electrify lines entering Toronto such as the Georgetown (now Kitchener) line. Openfile has a similar take on the same topic.

While Metrolinx deep thinkers don’t want to offer local service, the arguments for such an integrated service are compelling. Councillor Jones points out that Metrolinx and the TTC don’t talk to each other. Perhaps it’s time for our elected representatives to ask the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to bang some heads together.

Schein to launch electrification bid in Legislature today

Today May 3, Davenport NDP MPP Jonah Schein is putting forward a private member’s bill that calls for electrification of the Georgetown corridor Air Rail Link. Schein has long been campaigning for electrification along the line and is hopeful that the bill will become law. Private member bills can pass without bringing down a government and although the NDP do not have a majority in the Legislature, the NDP caucus is likely to vote en masse for the bill since Andrea Horvath, Ontario NDP leader is on record as supporting electrification. It will be interesting to see how the Tories and especially York South Weston MPP Laura Albanese will vote in this regard.

Here is the text of the announcement that came in an email from the Clean Train Coalition:


Hello again! On Thursday, May 3rd a private member’s bill calling for electrification of the Georgetown corridor for the Air Rail Link will be introduced at the Ontario Legislature by Jonah Schein, the MPP for Davenport. We have just received word from Queens Park that this is moved up on the schedule and is now to take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday. You are welcome to attend and view from the gallery when the bill is introduced.

Right now, with a minority government in Queen’s Park, we can win this vote by reaching out, once more, to members from all parties. Please help us in this effort by contacting your MPP and cc Premier McGuinty. Tell them that they must vote in favour of this bill. Tell them we do not accept the plan to run diesel trains though our neighbourhoods, next to our schools, our parks, our houses and businesses. And we will not sit by while our air is further polluted. Rather, we will fight for what we know is right: clean, electric, accessible and affordable transit.

Please, take a moment to email your MPP, and cc Premier McGuinty ([email protected]). The addresses of politicians along the corridor are below. A complete list of MPP’s contact details can be found here. In addition to emailing, call Premier McGuinty (416-325-1941) and tell him yourself: Toronto demands clean electric trains, not dirty diesels!

The Clean Train Coalition has a long history of building cross-partisan support for our goals. We have worked productively with members of all political parties.
Thank you for your support. Clean Transit is possible.
The Clean Train Coalition


LIST OF MPPs along the Union to Pearson rail corridor

  • Jagmeet Singh
    Brampton Gore Malton
    Queen’s Park: 416-325-1784
    Constituency: 905-799-3939
  • Shafiq Qaadri
    Etobicoke North
    [email protected]
    Queen’s Park: 416-327-6611
    Constituency: 416-745-2859
  • Laura Albanese
    York South-Weston
    [email protected]
    Queen’s Park: 416-212-9790
    Constituency: 416-243-7984
  • Jonah Schein
    [email protected]
    Queen’s Park: 416-325-0014
    Constituency: 416-535-3158
  • Cheri DiNovo
    Parkdale-High Park
    [email protected]
    Queen’s Park: 416-325-0244
    Constituency: 416-763-5630
  • Rosario Marchese
    [email protected]
    Queen’s Park: 416-325-9092
    Constituency: 416-603-9664
  • AND…
    Premier Dalton McGuinty
    [email protected]416-325-1941!

Metrolinx Funds Local Initiatives

Looking over Lawrence Ave to the future Weston Go Station (From GO Transit)

There’s not much notice given, but if you can come up with a ‘community based initiative’, Metrolinx might fund it to the value of up to $1000. These initiatives along the Georgetown South rail corridor are intended to help beautify areas around tracks and stations or facilitate use of the rail corridor through car pooling and other means. The full details and application form can be accessed here.

OK then, let’s get started: do you have an idea for a mural, a bike rack, a hanging basket or two? What about park benches for commuters waiting for a ride? Perhaps a Welcome To Weston information board outside the station listing attractions and businesses on a map…

Get your skates on; the deadline is December 16th!