union station construction toronto

Metrolinx provides update on perpetual construction at Union Station in Toronto

A huge crane now towers over Toronto's Union Station, the latest development in a drawn-out series of renovations, restorations, and upgrades that have kept the city's rail hub a dusty mess of construction since 2010.

The latest project in Metrolinx's extended sequence of overhauls is the ongoing Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP), which will create a new concourse connecting Bay and York streets, widen train platforms, and improve access to station concourses to allow the growing flow of trains and passengers in the coming year.

Union Station is an extremely constrained site for any type of construction, precisely the case for this new south concourse area, which is being constructed on a site measuring just 30 metres wide along a heavily-travelled rail corridor.

The first of two cranes was delivered to the USEP site in mid-April, and erected using a 300-tonne mobile crane. Shipped in parts from over 6,500 km away in Germany, the crane was assembled on-site and installed to begin assisting in the construction of the new infrastructure.

However, even before the massive machine's arrival last month, meticulous site preparation was required to ready the crane for this milestone. Crews excavated a pit stretching an impressive 77 metres below street level, which was then backfilled and compacted around an engineered crane pad.

Once installed, crews conducted load testing, ensuring it could safely support its rated loads of up to 24,000 kilograms — equivalent to the weight of a dozen Mini Coopers. The crane's reach spans up to 60 metres, twice the length of the regulation NBA court at the nearby Scotiabank Arena.

Office workers, commuters, and residents in the cluster of buildings within reach of this lengthy crane span can rest easy thanks to a swing limiter installed in the crane, which ensures that its arm does not come crashing into structures surrounding the tightly-constrained site.

A second crane of similar design will soon join this enormous machine at Union Station as work heats up the USEP, set to be installed in the coming weeks.

Right next to the first crane, an excavation site active since Fall 2022 is set to wrap up in the next few weeks. Formerly occupied by older GO Transit platforms at the south side of the station, this underground area (visible near the end of the video above) will be home to the new south GO concourse.

The latest construction news from Union Station comes almost two years after the City of Toronto proudly declared what it called the "completion of the Union Station Revitalization Project."

Of course, most people at the time knew better than to believe the hype, as that project was merely one (albeit major) component in what has now become a multi-decade metamorphosis of the city's primary rail hub.

When this latest phase's construction was announced at the start of 2022, it was predicted that construction would last another three (now down to two) years, bringing Union Station's continued multi-phased facelift to the 15-year mark.

And there's even more construction on the horizon planned in conjunction with the coming Waterfront East LRT, which would see Union Station's streetcar loop expanded and rebuilt to accommodate streetcar service eastbound on Queens Quay.

So, basically, Union Station will be under construction until the end of times, and that's just something Toronto is going to have to learn to deal with.

Lead photo by

Metrolinx


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