Diesel-powered airport rail plan faces steam-powered opposition

Jeff Gray of the Globe and Mail reports growing opposition to the Metrolinx proposal to build a diesel-powered airport rail line through Toronto’s West end. Weston residents have long opposed the existing plan, saying it would harm neighborhoods and would serve only a small group of airport travelers. Now residents in Roncesvalles, the Junction and Liberty Village are sounding the alarm over the pollution caused by 220 diesel-powered trains zooming through their communities every day.

Electrification of the line would seem to be a solution to many of these concerns. New York City has had electric trains since the early 20th century.  But Metrolinx says electrification would be too costly, and has proposed “mitigation measures,” such as cleaner-burning diesel engines. Plan critics say this is not good enough.

Also unclear is where all this planning leaves the RailPath initiative, a community proposal for a bike path to run alongside the rail corridor. This path would give a quarter of a million Torontonians access to a 6.5 km car-free path from the Junction to downtown.

Metrolinx is currently conducting community consultations. You can access Metrolinx’s public consultation portal here. Metrolinx can be contacted by email at info@metrolinx.com.