PNR RailWorks Improving Toronto’s Rail Network Through Metrolinx Partnership

Written by PNR Railworks 
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PNR RailWorks’ inspection and maintenance program for Metrolinx involves daily routine inspections on track and signals & communications systems.

PNR RailWorks, Canada’s largest and most experienced rail infrastructure solutions provider, is making an impact on Greater Toronto’s rail transportation network through its longstanding partnership with Metrolinx. For more than 10 years, PNR has performed track and transit services for Metrolinx, Ontario’s leading transportation authority.

The foundation of the PNR-Metrolinx partnership is a continual inspection and maintenance program. Along 520 km of track and 7 corridors, PNR crews perform daily routine inspection and maintenance services focused on track and signals & communications. By identifying and repairing issues along the route, the PNR team aims to fix problems that could lead to malfunctions, delays, or worse—accidents.

“The number one goal of this inspection and maintenance partnership is to create a safe and efficient experience for Metrolinx’s 64 million riders,” said Joe Fenech, Vice President of Client Services at PNR RailWorks. “Metrolinx is expanding its network, which means more growth and new opportunities for PNR RailWorks. At any given time, we have 300 team members on this project, identifying potential problems and upgrading the track and signals systems.”

As with every project, PNR’s number one focus on the Metrolinx maintenance program is safety.

“Safety is embedded in each and every team member and project at PNR RailWorks,” said Fenech. “It’s the foundation of our relationship with Metrolinx because they trust us to get the work done on time and without any safety incidents.”

A PNR RailWorks signal maintainer testing the signals on a GO Transit route in Toronto.

In the heart of downtown Toronto at Union Station—the largest and busiest rail passenger facility in Canada—PNR RailWorks’ Signals & Communications Division is performing work on Metrolinx’s Union Station Rail Corridor (USRC) project. The scope of PNR’s work includes replacing the old 1920s system with modern equipment, including all signals, track circuits, and cables in the USRC, as well as the installation, testing, and commissioning of all new solid state interlockings and control equipment. The upgrades will enable Metrolinx to control all train operations via a high-tech Central Control System, and the new system will be capable of handling ridership volumes and service patterns for the next 30 years.

“The USRC project is key to improving and modernizing Toronto’s public transit system,” said John Brohm, Executive Vice President of PNR RailWorks. “The upgrades PNR RailWorks is making will impact the tens of thousands of travelers that pass through the station each day.”

At Metrolinx’s Canpa switch plant located west of downtown Toronto, PNR is working on a major renovation that will trim precious minutes off train travel times for the operator and promises to reduce congestion in one of the busiest and oldest sections of the network. PNR kicked off the upgrade last year, and work is expected to continue until 2022. The Canpa switch is particularly vital as it keeps GO Transit trains running smoothly on the most active line in the network while also routing trains into the Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility, the VIA Maintenance Facility, the Canpa Spur, and more.

PNR RailWorks is performing a range of services at the Canpa switch plant, including track removal and construction, signals work, and civil construction.

PNR also served as the rail contractor for Metrolinx/GO Transit’s Whitby Rail Maintenance Facility (WRMF) project, which recently won the 2020 Canadian Design-Build Institute Design-Build Award of Excellence. PNR installed about 15,000 meters of track throughout the $859 million facility, which opened in 2018 to accommodate Metrolinx/GO Transit’s ongoing expansion and future ridership.

“PNR RailWorks is proud to have been part of this innovative project,” said Arash Barzegar, Vice President of Commercial at PNR RailWorks. “The new facility is providing the GO Transit network with increased efficiency and contributing to improved operations of the overall Metrolinx network.”

Construction of the $859 million Whitby Rail Maintenance Facility, located east of downtown Toronto in Whitby, Ontario. PNR RailWorks served as the rail contractor on the project.

With more projects in the pipeline and the ongoing expansion of the region’s rail network, PNR is looking forward to continuing its valuable partnership with Metrolinx.

“PNR RailWorks’ longstanding relationship with Metrolinx is built on trust,” said Brohm. “Since our first project with Metrolinx, they’ve trusted us to safely complete the work on schedule and within budget. We’re looking forward to many more years of continued success working with Metrolinx in the Greater Toronto Area.” 

PNR RailWorks provides a complete range of construction, communications, rehabilitation, and maintenance services to Class I railroads, short lines, transit authorities, and industrial facilities across Canada. Founded in 1961 and part of the RailWorks family of companies, PNR RailWorks recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Visit PNR RailWorks’ website for more information and keep up with us on LinkedIn here.

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