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IO and Metrolinx award $674m depot P3

The Plenary Infrastructure ERMF consortium has won a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and maintain the 22-train East Rail Maintenance Facility.

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx have awarded an $859.2 million (€628.9 million; $674.2 million) design, build, finance and maintain (DBFM) public-private partnership (PPP; P3) contract to the Plenary Infrastructure ERMF consortium for the creation of an East Rail Maintenance Facility (ERMF) in Whitby, Ontario.

The project involves the construction of tracks and storage facilities for thirteen 12-car passenger trains; built-in capacity to store an additional nine passenger trains for future use; stations to repair, maintain, fuel, wash and power GO trains; and, staff and visitor parking areas. The facility will be used as a secondary storage and maintenance area, with Willowbrook Maintenance Facility in Etobicoke remaining the primary GO storage facility.

The 500,000-square foot ERMF is to be built using sustainable design and construction features with the goal of achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, according to an IO press release.

The facility will support GO train network expansion efforts, which include the establishment of the Regional Express Rail under the Government of Ontario's Moving Ontario Forward plan to electrify the GO network and run trains on 15-minute intervals in key areas within the next 10 years.

The GO train network currently comprises a total of 67 diesel trains, according to a Metrolinx representative.

“It is great to see progress on this project,” said Minister of Transportation Steven De Duca in reaction to the announcement. “The new maintenance and storage facility supports GO Transit's expansion plans, including our commitment to implement Regional Express Rail. This is proof of our government's commitment to making the daily commute and quality of life better for Ontario families.”

The Plenary Infrastructure ERMF consortium is comprised of developers Plenary Group, Kiewit Canada Development, and Bird Capital; construction firms Bird Design-Build Construction and Peter Kiewit Infrastructure; and designers Stantec Consulting and Arup Canada.

Facilities management will be overseen by Honeywell Limited and Toronto Terminals Railway. Financing for the project will come from TD Bank, Bank of Montreal and TD Securities.

Design and construction will begin in the spring and is expected to reach completion by the end of 2017. During the peak of construction, IO estimates that as many as 1,000 workers will be on site.

A portion of the project's funding will be derived from public funds from the Province of Ontario through the Metrolinx system, with the federal government, through PPP Canada, contributing 25 percent of eligible costs.

The Plenary-led consortium will receive payment once the construction phase in complete, followed by monthly payments for maintenance and lifecycle repair over the 30-year contract period.