It's great that the premier made this announcement yesterday, but haven't we heard this before? It was proposed about 10 years ago when they erected the temporary station at Pearson International Airport. The station currently has been operating an unmanned electric train from terminal three to terminal one.
Toronto is probably the only major city in the world without a major train link from the local airport to downtown, and yet the new set-up will become a lot of hassles, when it does come online.
You will board a regular train at Union Station right downtown and take a 20-30 ride to Pearson Airport and arrive at the new station (near Terminal 1) and then you will be required to off-load and get onto the electrical train at the airport with all your luggage to get to the terminals. It will cost you approximately $25 (official prices to be determined in 2014) and with all the switching trains, it would not really increase your time-line to get to your flight.
It appears that the ARTL (Air Rail Link) train system is being built for the Pan Am Games in 2015, but why did it take so long?
The trains will be operated with diesel, and electric trains were proposed, but the government thought it would add extra time and cost to the project, however they have indicated it will be updated to electrical, sometime in the future.
Drew Davidson from Metrolinx Media Relations said, "It will be less than $1 mil per car to convert to electric, also I should note the DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) vehicles will be below stringent World Health Organization guidelines."
She went onto say, "When the Metrolinx train leaves from Union Station it will go up the current Georgetown corridor, once it gets near the airport it will go onto a 3 km 'Spur Line' which moves just off of the Georgetown corridor and right into Terminal 1 station."
Did they ever think to run the train directly to both terminals from Union Station?
It will be interesting to see how long it will take from Union Station downtown to the airport after you carry your luggage onto another train and actually arrive at the terminal. One good thing is, once you get to the terminal at the airport, there is no additional charge to ride the electric train to Terminal 3.
The whole project by Metrolinx
is expected to cost around $300 million, however the extra costs to convert to electric, was not disclosed at the Pearson meeting on Monday.
It may not be an ideal setup, but at least it is finally being done after many years of planning.