Metrolinx CEO ‘not going to guess’ when Eglinton Crosstown LRT will open

Click to play video: 'Metrolinx head stays quiet on Crosstown LRT opening despite mid-2024 hints'
Metrolinx head stays quiet on Crosstown LRT opening despite mid-2024 hints
WATCH ABOVE: Metrolinx took media on a tour of its new Yonge-Eglinton station for the Crosstown LRT, where the head of consortium of builders hinted track testing may not be complete until mid-to-late 2024. Still, the head of Metrolinx is refusing to provide any clarity on dates, even those which could be ruled out. Matthew Bingley reports – Dec 8, 2023

The top staffer at Ontario’s provincial transit agency refused to be drawn on when the Eglinton Crosstown LRT might open as the much-delayed project dragged on on Friday.

During a tour of the route’s Eglinton Station, Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said he was “not going to guess” when the route would open.

Verster spoke with reporters after a tour of the station at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, which builders say is the most complex on the route. The tour came as the line, which was originally due to open in 2020, continues to encounter problems and delays.

“We’re finding and fixing issues and defects,” Verster said. “Once we’re satisfied that we’ve got the rest of those contained, we can announce an opening date — but not before.”

He said the issues were being discovered on “an ongoing basis.”

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At the end of November, Verster told the Metrolinx board he would not announce a date the Eglinton Crosstown LRT would open until just three months before passengers could the trains.

Pressed on the matter, he said he was “not going to guess which year it is.”

Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster joins Ontario Premier Doug Ford in making a GO Transit announcement in Niagara Falls, Ont., Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton

During the station tour and demonstration, Bill Gifford, president of the consortium building the project, said some tests would take months and specific conditions.

He said track testing was a three-stage process and that the project was still in the first stage. The third and final part of the testing requires warmer weather and can take three months, he said.

Verster said it was a “good start” that around 10 trains were running along the tracks during testing on Friday but between 20 and 30 would need to be in operation for the line to be ready.

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Click to play video: 'Eglinton Crosstown LRT still without opening date, Metrolinx ‘not going to guess’'
Eglinton Crosstown LRT still without opening date, Metrolinx ‘not going to guess’

“The fact that trains are running is extremely positive,” he said. “As the trains run very small steps but important steps are being tested and recorded.”

Officials confirmed during the tour that years-long construction at the Eglinton Avenue and Yonge Street intersection would be wrapping up.

The project aims to finish construction by the end of the year and is likely to see the intersection returned to its pre-LRT status sometime in January 2024.

An arrivals screen at an Eglinton Crosstown LRT station. Global News

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