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Early stages of demolition phase for Union Station improvements on track

Angela Gismondi
Early stages of demolition phase for Union Station improvements on track
METROLINX - The latest round of improvements at Toronto’s Union Station kicked off earlier this year and much progress has been made so far. The Union Station Enhancement Project includes removing heritage steel, installing overhead lighting, a new south concourse, widening platforms, increasing vertical access, upgrades to passenger communications systems, a train storage expansion in Wilson Yard and east track enhancements. The upgrades are taking place at the south end of Union Station.

Those who pass through Toronto’s historic Union Station will notice a number of changes are taking place as part of the Union Station Enhancement Project, with some walls coming up and others going down.

“We are in the early stages of the demolition phase for the project,” said James Wattie, a Metrolinx spokesperson in an email to the Daily Commercial News. “The project team must complete all this work while ensuring that customer and GO operations at one of the city’s main transit hubs are minimally impacted. The team is also tasked with working near the existing train shed, a National Historic Site.” 

The goal of the project is to help prepare Union Station for increased service levels planned as part of the GO Expansion program.

The team working on the Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario project is the ONTrack Alliance team which includes Kiewit – Alberici Union General Partnership (constructors); WSP Canada Inc. (designers); and Mass. Electric Construction Canada Co. (signalling work).

The project is using an alliance model in an effort to mitigate potential challenges early. 

 

Two new wider GO Train platforms with canopies, which will increase safety and capacity to serve more customers, are also part of the project.
METROLINX – Two new wider GO Train platforms with canopies, which will increase safety and capacity to serve more customers, are also part of the project.

 

Construction walls were installed at the station on the east and west sides of the York teamway, pedestrian walkways that run parallel to Union Station, in order to keep the public and customers safe.

“In May, the project team successfully relocated the electrical power room – which provides power to all of Union Station without any interruption in service,” Wattie said. “The relocation of the power room was required to clear the way so that excavation planned within the southernmost part of the rail corridor can be completed safely.” 

The existing municipal bike storage room located south of the York east teamway was also walled off and closed to facilitate south concourse work. A new temporary bike storage room, which is being constructed further north adjacent to the existing York concourse, is expected to open later this summer.

The four southernmost tracks at Union Station have been removed and utilities relocated.

The Union Station Enhancement Project includes a new south passenger concourse.
METROLINX – The Union Station Enhancement Project includes a new south passenger concourse.

According to a Metrolinx blog, demolition of the canopy over GO platforms 24 to 27 is also underway and will be completed this summer. The agency needs to increase the capacity of the south platforms and it will then reconstruct the north platforms at the station as part of a future phase of work.

“Inside the station, crews continue to complete ceiling removals and cable relocations south of the VIA concourse to make way for excavation planned in the southernmost part of the tracks near Union Station,” stated Wattie.

Two cranes that travelled 6,500 kilometres from Germany and can lift over 20,000 kilograms and reach up to 60 metres, will be installed at the station this summer and will be onsite for the duration of the project.

Beginning this fall, platforms 24 to 27 will be demolished to make way for excavation for the new south passenger concourse which will span 325 metres from York to Bay streets and two new, wider platforms will also be installed.

“To prepare for the new south concourse, there is a lot of complex mechanical and electrical work that must be completed in advance of starting excavation work,” noted Wattie.

Two new temporary sets of stairs will also be constructed: one at the south end of the VIA concourse connecting to the retail space below the concourse level and one on the east end of the hallway connecting the York, VIA and Bay concourses. These will allow customers to access to the rest of Union Station during construction as well as the Scotiabank Arena.

Later this year, the VIA-York connection located south of the VIA concourse connecting to 25 York Street, will close and will become part of the new south concourse. The roof of the service dock connection will need to be lowered to accommodate the future south concourse ceiling heights above and the two new tracks that will be installed, states the blog.

Once the work is complete, excavation will begin for the south passenger concourse.

“After demolition and excavation is complete, the formwork and concrete work for the new south concourse will begin in the winter of 2023,” he stated. “Starting in 2024, electrical and mechanical retrofitting will begin in the new south concourse. This stage will include the installation of new architectural finishes. We are progressing well on current project milestones and are working towards the opening of the new south concourse near the end of 2025.” 

Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela

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