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Blue-22 and the Village of Weston

On James Bow's "other blog", Transit Toronto, he has written a note about the threat to the village of Weston that is posed by the new train to Pearson International Airport (called Blue-22).

James first wrote about Weston's decline in a 2002 posting, and last year he linked to a Toronto Star article that covered the same subject.

Now the problem is that increased rail travel through Weston might lead to closing three streets that connect the neighbourhood on opposite sides of the tracks. A public hearing on the matter last night was cancelled by the fire department due to the huge crowd who turned up to save their village. The increased rail travel would be as a result of the Union-Pearson rail link, and reading about it reminds me of the doubts I have about this project's viability.

Building a rail link from Union Station to Pearson was former federal Transport Minister David Collenette's pet project, and he finally got it approved before he left office.

Normally, I am someone who, like Collenette, supports rail transportation as a good alternative to automobiles. And I am happy that a federal minister was actually able to win some money and make a project happen in Toronto. But, I'm really not a fan of this rail link.

The plan is for the train to leave the airport, make a stop at the GO Station near the TTC's Dundas West, and go from there to Union Station downtown. The trip is expected to take 22 minutes and the ticket price is expected to be about $20.

Here are the problems I see:

  • Unless your final destination is quite close to Union Station or Dundas West Station, you have better choices:
  • If you a traveling in a group, a taxi may be cheaper, even if you are headed to Union Station or points nearby
  • 22 minutes isn't as fast as it sounds when you factor in boarding time and the waiting time (the trains are at 15-minute intervals). So, the time advantage over taxis is further diminished

So, I see a considerable risk that this venture will flop, and that few will use it. Much of the money is from private investment, but there is some government money that has been contributed, and I'd hate to see it go to waste if there are more-deserving projects going unfunded.

As for Weston, it seems like the right thing to do would be to build underpasses for the tracks. That would probably be government money, I suppose.




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