Electrifying Toronto


At a Glance

  • Client(s)
  • Metrolinx
  • Project Location(s)
  • Toronto, Ontario
LTK-designed railcarGO Transit wants to plug into a new energy source. 

Metrolinx initiated a study of the electrification of its GO Transit commuter rail system, which operates in the Toronto/Hamilton region of Ontario, as an alternative to its diesel-powered fleet. LTK, which has expertise in rolling stock, operations and track power systems, was consulted to examine the advantages of a full-range of technology options, including ac and dc powered systems.

LTK used its proprietary TrainOps® electrical network simulation software to test and evaluate the various train fleets under consideration. LTK also compared how future fleets will be powered, including enhanced diesel technology and all-electric service, taking into consideration travel times, passenger-carrying efficiency, emissions, energy usage and energy costs.

LTK’s analysis found three systems were feasible:

  • A direct-fed system operating at 1×25 kV ac electrification voltage at commercial frequency (60 Hz)
  • An autotransformer-fed system operating at 2×25 kV ac electrification voltage at commercial frequency (60 Hz)
  • A direct-fed system operating at 1×50 kV ac electrification voltage at commercial frequency (60 Hz)

Discussions with the local power utility, Hydro One, revealed that its high-voltage network in the downtown Toronto area had insufficient capacity to supply the new traction loads. This meant the traction power substations needed to be spaced at a considerable distance from Union Station in downtown Toronto, a requirement that placed an undue risk on the 1×25 kV system. During further evaluation, it became apparent that a considerable number of bridges along the route have limited clearance and that the 1×50 kV system would be uneconomical due to requirements for moving tracks or raising bridges. Therefore, the technology recommended for the development of conceptual design and cost estimate of the GO Transit system electrification was the autotransformer-fed system operating at 2×25 kV ac.