Procurement begins for Toronto Lakeshore rail PPP

Ontario authorities are looking for developers to transform its GO network as part of a C$21.3bn scheme to create a ‘regional rapid transit system’.

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx, Toronto’s regional transit authority, have launched the procurement of a public-private partnership to upgrade rail services along the shore of Lake Ontario.

The two crown agencies released a request for qualifications for developers interested in building and financing the Lakeshore East – West Corridor Expansion along Toronto’s GO Transit rail service. The project is part of a C$21.3 billion ($16.52 billion; €13.31 billion) investment plan for the Ontario province to transform the GO rail network “from a commuter transit system to a regional rapid transit system”, according to the RFQ.

“Major infrastructure upgrades are required” to meet Ontario’s goal of increasing the number of weekly trips across the entire GO rail service from 1,500 to 6,000 by 2025, Infrastructure Ontario said.

“Through the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history, we are strengthening and connecting people to family, friends and job opportunities,” said Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s minister of infrastructure.

The majority of this project is centered around improving the connection between the western-most portion of the Lakeshore East Corridor and the Lakeshore West line. The procurement is seeking developers who will build and finance the addition of a fourth track along a portion of the Lakeshore line, construct a new station and platform changes at the Danforth GO Station, and widen three bridges.

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx said teams that qualify for the procurement will be asked to submit proposals this autumn.

The project follows changes in Toronto’s transportation leadership after former Metrolinx chief executive Bruce McCuaig stepped down last April to help launch the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Phil Verster, a former managing director at ScotRail Alliance, was appointed in August to fill the position. In November, Andy Byford stepped down from heading the Toronto Transit Commission to lead New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.