Union Pearson Express
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The Project / Vehicles

A special air-rail service calls for special vehicles. For theUnion Pearson Express, new shuttles were required to meet the unique operating environment of the airport. The Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) we’ve selected meet exacting vehicle performance and design specifications, and conform to the most stringent air quality requirements.

The vehicles will be designed to deliver the Union Pearson Express promise of a memorable and differentiated customer experience. Inside, guests will enjoy unrivalled comfort and convenience, thanks to the state-of-the-art design features of the vehicles. The shuttles will feature customized seats, luggage racks, handrails and details like seat-back pockets and meal trays, along with helpful technologies like screens for arrival/departure information. On-board marketing concepts will help connect travellers with the area’s top tourist destinations, hotels and restaurants. And yes, there will be a washroom, too.

Following a competitive bid process, Metrolinx closed a contract with Sumitomo Corp. of America for the delivery of 12 Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs), with the option to commission more as needed. To accommodate expected passenger loads, that option has been exercised, and now Metrolinx is commissioning 18 DMUs, each of which will comply with design guidelines regarding interior elements, seating, lighting, visual style, and onboard technology. Each unit will provide comfortable and spacious seating for approximately 60 people, and each vehicle will consist of three units, meaning that every 15 minutes we will have seating for 180 guests onboard the Union Pearson Express.

In everything it does, Metrolinx strives to be environmentally responsible. Our shuttles will, too. The Union Pearson Express DMUs will conform to the strictest non-road engine emissions standard available – the so-called Tier 4 standard set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Tier 4 technology reduces airborne particulate emissions by 90 percent and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent. The DMUs are also designed to be convertible to electric propulsion at a later date, pending the outcome of a preliminary design and environmental assessment process currently under way.

Electrification of rail services in the GTHA has been considered for many years. The process of moving to electrification in “mixed-use” rail corridors such as the one the Union Pearson Express will operate on presents a number of complex challenges, revolving around the supply and distribution of power to the vehicles. New electrical substations, overhead power lines and modifications to the signaling systems may all be required. An environmental assessment of electrification’s feasibility for the Union Pearson Express is now under way.

In May 2009, Metrolinx announced that it would be undertaking a one-year study on the feasibility of electrification of the entire GO rail system. The study, completed in December 2010, considered the different implications for current and future diesel and electric technologies in significant detail, considering transportation, economic, environmental and social factors to health and the community. The following January, the Metrolinx board of directors approved a staff recommendation to proceed with the electrification of the GO Kitchener and Lakeshore corridors in phases, beginning with the Union Pearson Express, as a future alternative to Tier 4 diesel units.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation subsequently provided funding for an environmental assessment for electrification of the Union Pearson Express. Using the Transit Project Assessment Process, the assessment is now under way, and will look at both the positive and negative potential impacts in converting the service from diesel to electric operations. The contract for the EA was awarded to Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global consulting firm with expertise in electrification infrastructure construction and management.

Meanwhile, pending approval of the EA funding, Metrolinx has begun the work for Phase 1 of electrification, including development of performance standards and moving forward with the electrification design for the Kitchener and Lakeshore corridors.


Welcoming the World

Toronto is eagerly anticipating the Union Pearson Express. Hear how community leaders are ready to roll out a new welcome to greet the world.


Getting from Union to Pearson

Travelling between downtown Toronto and Toronto Pearson International Airport is about to become a whole lot easier. Imagine rising above traffic while experiencing speed and reliability, all stress-free.


Greetings from our President

It’s my pleasure to welcome you to our website, and invite you to get to know more about an exciting new service that will elevate the way Torontonians experience our city – and the way the world experiences Toronto.