- The Ontario Line subway extension will have a new fleet of driverless trains expected to transport 30,000 people per hour in each direction.
- The trains will feature Wi-Fi, charging points, dedicated spaces for bicycles and wheelchairs, and heating and cooling systems.
- Construction has intensified in recent months, leading to concerns about the environmental impacts it will have, particularly on the city’s green spaces.
Toronto’s transit system is getting a major upgrade with the introduction of driverless trains that will operate on the Ontario Line subway extension. The trains are expected to move an estimated 30,000 passengers per hour in each direction, marking a significant improvement in the city’s mass transit network. The new trains have been designed by Hitachi Rail’s Connect 6ix consortium, with renderings and details released by Italian company GFG Rail.
The Ontario Line driverless trains will operate on electricity and are expected to reach speeds of over 80 km per hour. They will also feature various modern amenities, including Wi-Fi, charging points, and heating and cooling systems. The trains will also have dedicated spaces for bicycles and wheelchairs, making them accessible to all riders. Similar to the TTC’s Line 1 Yonge-University trains, the Ontario Line trains will have continuous carriages. However, they will have only about half the capacity of Line 1 trains.
Capacity and Frequency
Each Ontario Line train will have four cars and a total capacity of 600 passengers, according to the operating concept released by the province in 2020. During peak periods until 2041, 34 trains will operate per hour. After 2041, the frequency will increase to 40 trains per hour to accommodate ridership growth.
Construction Progress and Environmental Concerns
Originally scheduled to open by 2027, the 15-station Ontario Line is now expected to be completed in 2031. Construction has intensified in recent months, raising concerns about the environmental impact on green spaces. The project has already led to the removal of dozens of trees at Osgoode Hall and Moss Park to make way for downtown stations. The agency has announced plans to remove over 3,000 trees in the Don Valley this month.
Environmental Impact Mitigation Efforts
Metrolinx, the agency responsible for the Ontario Line project, claims to minimize construction footprints and impacts on green spaces. When trees need to be removed, the agency pledges to plant 1 to 50 new trees, depending on the size and location of the tree. However, environmental groups remain concerned about the project’s overall impact on the city’s green spaces.
Ontario Line Route
Once completed, the Ontario Line will run from Exhibition Place, along Queen Street in downtown Toronto, and up Pape Avenue to the Ontario Science Centre. The new driverless trains will allow for faster, more efficient transit across the city, with the potential to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
The introduction of driverless trains on the Ontario Line marks a significant milestone in the development of Toronto’s mass transit system. With modern amenities and the capacity to move an estimated 30,000 passengers per hour in each direction, the trains are expected to transform the city’s transportation network. However, construction and environmental concerns remain, highlighting the need for agencies to balance the benefits of new infrastructure with efforts to minimize environmental impact.