They (the Weston folks) may be right. I did a little Google research, starting from the Metrolinx FAQ ( http://www.metrolinx.com/gsse/FAQs/default.aspx) and then looking for definitions of the "2010 Tier 3 Environmental Protection Agency emission control requirements" mentioned there. From what I can tell, Tier 3 may be inadequate and Tier 4, a much more stringent standard, already exists. I don't know if locomotive engines are already being built to Tier 4 standards though.
Metrolinx does say they are planning to electrify this train route at a later date, but I question whether saying that simply excuses them from going for the higher Tier 4 standard now.
Diesel exhaust is considered a "probable carcinogen", it contributes considerable amounts of ozone, fine particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide compounds (NOx) to the air.
Currently, GO trains are powered by older diesel-electric F59PH locomotives (1988, the "electric" part is not for locomotion but for lights, heat, etc) that do not meet Tier 3 standards.
Remanufactured locomotives EPA estimates 50-60% PM reduction, 15-20% NOx reduction (Tier 0 only); Effective as soon as certified remanufacture systems are available (as early as 2008), required no later than 2010 (2013 for Tier 2 locomotives)
New locomotives Tier 3 EPA estimates 50% PM reduction; [no NOx reduction?] Effective in 2011 for switcher locomotives, 2012 for line-haul and passenger locomotives Tier 4 EPA estimates 90% PM, 80% NOx reduction; Effective in 2015.
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 12:19:31 -0800 (PST)
Jacquie(http://Jacquie.Menezes@metrolinx.com) and Brian (http://Brian.Peltier@metrolinx.com) work for Metrolinx (the Ontario Gov't body in charge of this project). Jacquie was the one who replied to Faranza's original email and Brian I'm assumming was her superior who corrected a comment she had made in her email.
Just to let you know, the meeting last night was with some community members from Weston who have been fighting this expansion for a number of years before it turned into a Metrolinx project. Their concern is that the plan Metrolinx has for this corridor was conceived a number of years ago and should be rethought before the shovels go into the ground as early as this fall. They are concerned about the diesel trains running through their community (there are 5 schools along the railline there).
Metrolinx is in charge of improving the transportation in the GTAH area. Their "BIG move" plan includes improving bike, pedestrian, rapid transit and highways. GO transit are the ones Metrolinx have partnered with to build this line. From what I understand Metrolinx isn't really working with the TTC and the City of Toronto on this (??? I think there's some political squabbling) other than sometimes handing over money for TTC projects like the Sheppard LRT line.
It would be nice to have a more coherent system working between GO (provincial) and TTC (city) like a one fare system and some more thought into other uses for the corridor that would benefit everyone on it.
So far I haven't heard anything from Giambrone or Ruprect on this expansion and I haven't had any reply from Metrolinx about the concerns I raised earlier today.
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 2:39:11 PM
For the benefit of those of us who did not attend that meeting, could you say who Brian and Jacquie are that this letter is addressed to?
Date: 09:13 AM 30/01/2009
Hi Brian and Jacquie,
I've just come from a meeting in our neighbourhood discussing this expansion. I think it's a great direction for transportation in the GTA to have a faster route out to the airport and also to use this corridor to move more people though it.
The major concern for our community is that this expansion does not benefit from it at all. We will have an increase in noise and pollution. Many people in our older neighbourhood are worried that the amount of traffic will put in jeopardy the foundations of their homes. Many people believe that the value of their homes will decrease rapidly when all of these trains start running through it.
I believe that since the taxpayers are paying for this project, it should benefit everyone, including the ones who back onto the tracks. What I'm asking for is some consideration for our neighbourhood and some thought on how to improve it and not make it worse. Obviously this rail link is going to happen, but let's try to make it the best it possibly can, benifitting every community along the way.
Here are my suggestions to help improve my neighbourhood which could apply to other neighbourhoods along the line.
1) More stops -- these could be used as an alternative and addition to TTC. Everyone in my neighbourhood would probably love the fact that they could hop on this train and get downtown in 5 minutes instead of 45 on the TTC. Or that they could hop on and go north to Bradford or West to Brampton or the Airport. I know there is a stop at Bloor/Dundas but what about a Queen/Dufferin stop - where people could access both lines north and west? Currently we have to go to Union Station to get on the train to go north when the tracks run right through the neighbourhood. There is huge development going in at this intersection - 1500 units in the next few years. These all could be potential users. I know that there is concern for "slowing down" the commute for people who live outside the community. Why not run 2 different types of trains - an express and a collector? Can you not put switches into the tracks at stations and doubly improve this corridor?
2) Noise reduction solutions - whether this be quieter trains or bigger walls or tunnels. Please try to think if you had a house that backs onto the tracks how you would like this rail line built.
3) More access to the communities on the other side of the tracks. Obviously train tracks split communities. How about some more pedestrian or bike paths across the tracks?
4) Other uses for the corridor. Jacquie emailed Faranza Doctor "The Study will not be reviewing ancillary uses of the Corridor." Why not? Isn't this the point of Metrolinx? To have one body that can look at multiple solutions for transportation in communities. .. This seems a little short sighted. I would suggest running a bike/pedestrian tree-lined path along the whole route, so that people who live in those communities can enjoy the corridor, not just the people coming in from the outside. Toronto has already commited money to part of this corridor for a bike path. I'm sure other communities along the line could benefit from it too.
Can you please give us hope for our community? Can you change it for the better? Can you tell us that we shouldn't put our homes up for sale and move out? I hope that Metrolinx is actually listening and changing their plans with feedback from communities along the line. I hope your not wasting everyone's time (and our money!) by creating these feedback/informatio n sessions and not actually listening. Please help us put some thought into improving our community.
Thanks for listening,
To Mr. Giambrone and Mr. Ruprect and everyone else, please speak up and make this expansion something we can all be proud of.