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Pedestrian Tunnel Efforts Not at All Pedestrian

During a 53-hour weekend outage, PNR RailWorks track, signals & communications and GO Transit Maintenance crews helped with the installation of pedestrian tunnels near the GO Transit Guildwood Station west of Toronto.

Herculean, maybe, but not pedestrian.

Such were the efforts of PNR RailWorks track and signals & communications (S&C) crews as they faced daunting conditions in helping to install pedestrian tunnels beneath Metrolinx tracks west of Toronto.

The task at hand was on Metrolinx’ GO Transit commuter rail system linking Greater Toronto and Hamilton, ON. Workers were to install two precast tunnels involving two tracks and two platforms at the Guildwood Station on GO Transit’s Lakeshore East line. They were given a 53-hour weekend outage — an especially tricky timetable considering a half-dozen contractors on site, who were hampered by stormy weather. PNR RailWorks’ job was to remove four, 90-foottrack panels and deactivate crossings on a Friday night at the outset of the job, then return Sunday afternoon at the end of the job to reinstall and surface track, and re-activate signals.

The Friday night portion went all right, but “We were delayed from starting the second portion of our work by 7 hours,” said track Project Manager Taylor Macdonald. “So it pushed our schedule back. We were to start at 1 p.m. and instead started at 7:30; we had to hand it back to Metrolinx by 5:30 a.m.” for morning commuters.

Taylor admits he was stressed but says the project ultimately succeeded because everyone understood the situation. “We came to the acceptance we were going to accomplish this feat. Everyone was working at the highest level, fully involved and fully invested. … I haven’t really seen anything like it before.

“Joe Vaz (track superintendent) and his crew worked relentlessly to hand over the tracks prior to the morning rush. I also want to acknowledge signals & communications.”

That group was managed by Alejandra Espana, project manager. She recognized the help of signal technicians Jordan Fagin and Gord Potter, and also credited the work of the GO Transit Maintenance team led by S&C Manager Joe Fenech, which provided relief to signals & communications. “Our guys were running out of their normal cycle hours having been there the entire night,” says Alejandra. “Some of the maintainers were able to support our guys, and because of their help, we were able to give back the system in time.

“In the end,” she continues, “it was the entire PNR RailWorks team working — track, maintenance and signals — a very good team to pull this off before the rush trains.”

Following the project, Scott Brazeau, site supervisor for general contractor Kenaidan, wrote his thanks to subcontractors, including PNR RailWorks. In an email, he praised workers for completing work within the shutdown window and without an injury.