Toronto Union Station
---This page is about the GO/VIA Rail Station in Toronto. For the TTC Subway Station, see TTC Union Subway Station.
Toronto Union Station is a multimodal passenger terminal in Toronto, Ontario, located at 140 Bay Street. It is adjacent to the Union Station GO Bus Terminal. It is the main hub of the GO network, with all current lines ending at Union.
The train shed spans 12 tracks with four more outside of the shed to the south. This "Bush" style of train shed, designed by Alexander Lincoln Bush, is one of two remaining in Canada.. Previously, the platform numbers corresponded to the track they served. The first two tracks did not have a platform between them so their platforms were numbered 1 and 2. The remaining platforms shared the track with the one across it. These platforms were given an 'A' or 'B' designation (for example 3A and 3B were on either side of track 3). On October 4, 2008, The platforms were renumbered. Platform 1 became 3 and 2 became 4. The 'A' and 'B' designations were abandoned and the platforms were renumbered consecutively (for example 3A became 5and 3B became 6). Two more platforms were opened, 26 and 27, alongside 25 outside the train shed on May 11, 2009.
VIA Rail Canada provides intercity train service to Union Station. VIA mainly occupies the Great Hall and their own concourse south of the Great Hall under the tracks. Ontario Northland used to operate a single route, The Northlander, to Northern Ontario, but was cancelled in 2012.
GO Transit provides commuter train and bus service to Union Station. The main concourse known as the Bay St. Concourse, or more recently GO Concourse, is the major hub for GO Transit's rail lines. The nearby GO bus terminal handles all of GO's bus services from Union Station.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has a subway station with connections to TTC surface routes located in front of the railway station. For more information on the TTC's station see: Toronto Transit Commission Union Station
The GO Concourse was built in 1979 for passengers using the rail service. It was commissioned in 1975 and designed by Rounthwaite, Dick & Hadley Architects.. Passengers using GO Bus service, boarded and alighted in front of the Great Hall on Front Street. In 2003, the Union Station GO Bus Terminal opened to meet an increase in demand for GO's bus services. The terminal was built between Bay and Yonge Streets north of the rail corridor, across Bay Street from the GO Concourse. On April 6, 2009, the staircases in the south-east section of the station to platform 3 and consequently the bus terminal was closed for repairs. It opened in September 2009 with a new entrance out to Bay Street.
On May 11, 2009, GO Transit opened two new platforms 26 and 27. These were buit outside the train shed and feature a small concourse under them at Bay Street and York Street. They are also accessible via the Bay West and York West Teamways and VIA Concourse.
Great Hall and VIA Concourse
The Great Hall of Union Station features large arched windows at the east and west end with corridors behind them to offices. Windows line the top of the north and south sides and a large windows is in the middle of the wall. Ticket counters and kiosks line the north and south walls with entrances at either end of the north side. In the centre of the hall is a clock with a VIA train departures board and a information kiosk below.
To the west, there is the west waiting wing with a barber shop, washrooms, waiting area and access to Track 1 (platform 3). Access to the Skydome and CN Tower can be had through the Skywalk entrance at the west end of this waiting area, which was once a restaurant (known as "The Oak Room").
Stairwells near the entrances from the Great Hall lead to the lower level where there are food outlets, convenience stores, and formerly a bar. The VIA arrivals area is also located on the lower level at the north west end (previously used for GO Transit trains before the GO concourse opened). The southern point of the lower level has another entrance to the street via a ramp and row of doors. The south east end is connected to the GO Concourse where passengers can access GO Transit services, food outlets, and connect to TTC service via a walk across "The Moat" into the subway station.
Before the GO Concourse opened, a connection to the TTC's Union Subway Station was made via a tunnel through the south wall at the south east corner, where the Leather One store entrance formerly was. It went down via an escalator/staircase, went under "the moat", curved 90 degrees to the east and proceeded up to the subway mezzanine just inside the moat via a gradual ramp. It was closed off when the GO concourse opened in 1979 and passengers now head east through the GO Concourse, then south crossing the moat outside and into the subway station. Most of the abandoned passage, sealed off from the public and sometimes flooded by rainwater, continued to exist, although recent renovations to Union Station and Front Street may have seen whatever remained of it excavated.
The VIA Concourse (sometimes called the VIA departures concourse) sits under the tracks and is accessed by a ramp from the Great Hall. The large space has stairwells to track level on either side with a corridor behind them with more stairwells to track level. These corridors slope downward toward the south end to the lower (arrivals) level, underneath the Great Hall. Between the stairwells are waiting areas with tables and seats. Lineups for trains take place in the centre of the concourse. All VIA trips board from this concourse and some GO Transit services do as well. The VIA Concourse has access to platforms 3 to 5 and 8 to 13 which are used by GO. When platforms 26 and 27 were built for GO, some of the stairs and elevators to these platforms were located behind the former Panorama Lounge.
The Panorama Lounge was formerly located at the north end of the concourse. The new 6,200 square-foot Panorama Lounge opened March 12, 2012 and is located beside the west Front Street entrance to the Great Hall, in the space that was originally occupied by a lunch room when the station opened. The lounge feature sitting areas with tables, couches, and high-backed chairs. Patrons have access to computers, a printer, conference table, Wi-Fi, power outlets, and complimentary drinks. VIA had a soft launch of the lounge on January 30, 2012.
There are a number of offices in the upper levels of Union Station that once housed railway related and other functions. Most of them had gradually vacated over time and as a result the upper offices eventually became abandoned (sometimes used for movie shoots). GO Transit has been looking at renovating and reusing this office space for its own functions.
The GO Concourse opened in 1979, in the basement level of Union Station that was once a postal handling facility. Customer Service and a large ticket counter is located in the north-east corner of the concourse. Passengers can view train and bus departure times and platforms from LCD screens throughout the station. These screens replaced the old monitors and large display boards that were used previously. Food outlets and convenience stores are located on the south end with the entranve from the "moat" and subway station. More food outlets are located at the west end, and there is a bakery and retail in the centre of the concourse.
There are seats located throughout the concourse for passengers, as well as ticket validating and various PRESTO machines. There are waiting areas by the stairs to the platforms at the south end with more seating and open space for standing. GO Transit trains use platforms 3 to 13 and 24 to 27. Platforms 3 to 13 are accessible via the GO concourse through a series of stairs and paths (some above the concourse) that take passengers to track level. Elevators are provided at certain points and some tracks share one elevator. These platforms and additional platforms 24 to 27 are accessible through the Bay East, Bay West, York West Teamways and VIA Concourse as well. Most of the escalators previously present leading to/from platforms from the concourse were removed due to safety concerns after one malfunctioned with paassengers aboard it.
For main article, see: Union Station GO Bus Terminal.
In 2009, GO Transit announced plans for the revitalization of the train shed. The project is expected to be fully completed by 2015. The highlight of the project is replacing the central 5,000 square metres of the train shed roof with a large raised glass atrium. The glass structure will allow more natural light on to the platforms and will give a more spacious atmosphere. The remainder of the roof is to be fitted with plants and photovoltaic cells tranformed it into a green roof. Since the announcement of the project, platforms have been worked on which included adding new stairwells. More elevators will be added starting in 2013. Tracks will also be replaced, and the plan is to take two tracks and their platforms out of service at a time for work to be done. Stairwells have been upgraded to and open structure with glass panels, however Platform 12/13 will have different stairwells to preserve heritage features. All of the old wiring and much of the public communications equipment will be replaced, and new lighting will be installed.
Construction on the train shed roof started by platforms 24/25 on January 11, 2010. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in winter 2012. The roof area and walls are being rebuilt and will accomodate the glass roof. By August 2011, the crane that will assemble the roof was put up and construction of the glass atrium was underway by November.
There are plans to completely renovate the concourse levels at the station and to add an expanded concourse by York Street. The new combined concourse will be two levels with one level dedicated to both GO and VIA passengers on top and a dedicated lower level for retail. The existing concourse levels will be lowered to allow for the two spacious levels. This involves a large excavation project under the station and the reinforcement of columns that support the tracks and existing structure. The moat around the front of the station will receive a metal and glass structure to cover it and the entrances. As of 2011, the excavation project is well under way along with preparation work on the moat.
- ↑ Union Station Revitalization - Did you know?. GO Transit. Retrieved on 03 May 2012
- ↑ GO Transit, Union Station. Rounthwaite, Dick & Hadley Architects, Inc. Retrieved on 03 May 2012
- ↑ A Preview of the Panorama (Press release). VIA Rail Canada. 2 February 2012. Retrieved on 7 April 2012
- ↑ Train Shed Roof Revitalization, gotransit.com, retreieved on 2010-12-20
towards Niagara Falls