Metrolinx is planning to open the $2.5 billion Finch West Light Rail Transit (LRT) system sometime next year.
The line will run every five to seven minutes during peak hours on a dedicated track and link to TTC Line 1 and York and Peel Region local transit.
With 18 stops and 11 kilometres of track it’s somewhat smaller than the Eglinton Crosstown which has 19 kilometres of track and involved 10 kilometres of tunnelling with 25 stations.
It is slated to open next year, two years late, and it is $330 million over it’s $5.4 billion budget.
“In general, at-grade transit options are faster and cheaper to build, which is why the Finch West LRT has made such great progress,” says Metrolinx spokesperson Fannie Sunshine. “About 35 per cent of track is installed for the project, including all track work for the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) at 50 York Gate Boulevard.”
The Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) are being custom-built in French manufacturer Alstom’s Brampton facility after a protracted lawsuit with Bombardier over the $770 million order for Crosstown LRVs in 2017.
However, there were complaints the $500 million sole-sourced contract broke bidding rules.
The Alstom cars are also substantially larger and would require the Crosstown platforms to be modified.
The MSF at Jane Street and Finch Avenue West is a 10,000-square-metre facility for up to 26 LRVs with a main shop, car wash facility, material storage and administrative office with 122 parking spots.
It is near the move in stage, Sunshine added. The plan is to run the line with 18 LRVs.
“It’s designed for LEED Silver and has a green roof,” she says.
“About 55 per cent of the overhead catenary system poles are installed and vehicle testing work is underway on a ‘burn-in’ section of track on the mainline of the Finch West LRT, which is an 1.8 kilometre section between Sentinel Road and Pelican Gate.”
Some 131,000 cubic metres of earth has been excavated at the terminal stations of Finch West and the Humber College Stop and removed, she says.
It’s been a challenging run given that it’s taking place on a busy thoroughfare though the Eglinton Crosstown has been even more challenging with cost overruns and delayed schedules.
Sunshine noted the project includes the rehabilitation of the Highway 400 bridge and a multi-use path from Weston Road to Norfinch Drive.