Toronto’s Ontario Line Project Advances

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Connect 6ix rendering showing early-concept designs for the planned 9.7-mile Ontario Line in Toronto, Canada.

Connect 6ix rendering showing early-concept designs for the planned 9.7-mile Ontario Line in Toronto, Canada.

Connect 6ix has landed the C$9 billion contract for the Ontario Line Rolling Stock, Systems, Operations and Maintenance (RSSOM) package, Canada’s Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx reported on Nov. 17.

Connect 6ix, which in September was selected as the preferred proponent team, will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the RSSOM package for a 30-year term. The contract includes C$2.3 billion for capital costs and C$6.7 billion for short-term construction financing and transaction costs; train costs; and 30-year operations and maintenance, lifecycle, and long-term financing.

The 9.7-mile (15.6-kilometer) Ontario Line is a planned Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) rapid transit line linking the Ontario Science Center and Exhibition/Ontario Place. The standalone line, half of which will be underground, will include 15 stations and more than 40 connections to other transit routes, including GO Transit lines, existing TTC subway and streetcar lines, the under-construction Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit, and bus services (see map below).

Connect 6ix comprises applicant lead Plenary Americas, Hitachi Rail, Webuild Group (Salini Impreglio Canada Holding Inc.), and Transdev Canada Inc.; design team of Hitachi Rail and IBI Group Professional Services (Canada) Inc.; construction team of Hitachi Rail, Webuild Group (Astaldi Canada Design & Construction Inc. and Salini Impreglio Civil Works Inc.), and NGE Contracting Inc.; operations, maintenance and rehabilitation team of Hitachi Rail and Transdev Canada Inc.; and financial advisors National Bank Financial Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

The scope of work includes:

• Designing, supplying, operating and maintaining the rolling stock (trains). According to Hitachi, the trains will feature on-board Wi-Fi, digital passenger information screens, charging points, dedicated spaces for bicycles, double wheelchair areas, continuous (connected) cars, heating and cooling throughout, doors that open in sync with platform-edge (screen) doors, and regenerative braking. Wi-Fi access, passenger information screens, and platform-edge doors in all Ontario Line stations will also be delivered, Hitachi said.

Connect 6ix rendering showing early-concept designs for the Ontario Line.

• Designing, building, operating and maintaining all track and systems (communications and train control). According to Hitachi, the line will be fitted with the latest communication-based train control (CBTC) technology.

• Designing, building, operating and maintaining the Maintenance and Storage Facility (where the trains are stored) and the Operations Control Center (where staff control train operations and are connected to TTC and GO Transit systems) and backup operations control center.

• Working with TTC according to future operations and maintenance agreements.

• Integrating fare equipment with the PRESTO system.

Hitachi Rail Group CEO Andrew Barr on Oct. 18 told Railway Age that the company was hopeful that Connect 6ix would be awarded the contract. Hitachi, at that time, had released the final designs for its $70 million railcar manufacturing plant and test track in Washington County, Md. First on the production line when complete in early 2024: an 8000-series rapid transit car fleet for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). It may also produce Ontario line trains. Barr, expressing excitement at winning the contract, said in October: “[I]t’s a great opportunity for us. I think for Maryland having that continuation [of work on the Ontario Line cars] is a great story, so you can keep that production going.”

The Connect 6ix team will begin work in 2023, with the project wrapping up in 2031, according to Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx. Once all the civil infrastructure elements and systems from Ontario Line North and South segments have been completed, integrated and certified, Connect 6ix will then begin operating and maintaining the Ontario Line for a 30-year term.

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx earlier this month awarded a fixed-price contract to Ontario Transit Group for the Ontario Line Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel (South Civil) package.

The scope of work includes:

  • A 3.7-mile (6-kilometer) tunnel and associated tunneling works from Exhibition to Don Yard portal (west of the Don River).
  • Groundworks required to build the tunnels and stations; utility and conduit works to prepare for the mechanical and electrical systems; and guideway structures and facilities to prepare for the track structure to be installed by the RSSOM contractor (Connect 6ix).
  • Stations: One above-ground station to be integrated with the existing GO Transit Exhibition Station; two underground stations to be integrated with the existing TTC Osgoode and Queen subway stations; and four new underground stations (King/Bathurst, Queen/Spadina, Moss Park, Corktown).

The C$10.9 billion Ontario Line project is being delivered via various contracts, procured through P3 and traditional procurement models, according to Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx.

Artist’s rendering showing an aerial view of Ontario Line’s Exhibition Station on Toronto’s west side. (Image Courtesy of Metrolinx)
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