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Media Advisory

September 22, 2009

Toronto, Tuesday September 22, 2009...Kids and adults of all ages will walk through the communities most affected by the proposed rail link from Union Station to Georgetown and Pearson to demonstrate their opposition against the plan to run 450 diesel trains a day through some of Toronto’s most densely populated neighbourhoods. The human train will carry a message to Premier McGuinty that Torontonians want clean electric trains now. The day-long march from Weston to Queen Street West will stop for a rally at Sorauren Park.

Date: Saturday September 26, 2009
Time: 1:10 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Location: Sorauren Park at Sorauren Ave. (west of Lansdowne, south of Dundas St. W.)
What: Main rally and arrival of the human train

Remarks by:
Gord Perks, Councillor Parkdale Highpark;
Irene Atkinson, Trustee, Toronto District School Board;
Keith Brooks, Clean Train Coalition;
Cheri DiNovo, MPP Parkdale Highpark and
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto Medical Officer of Health

Musical performances by Sho, Mo and the Monkey Bunch and Oh Susanna

Photo Op: A human train, kids and trains

Schedule of Whistle Stops:
8:30 am – Weston (Weston Go Station John St. Entrance)
9:30 am – Mount Dennis (corner of Eglinton Ave. and Weston Rd.)
11:00 am – Junction City Square (2960 Dundas St. W. at Pacific Ave.)
12:00 pm – Wallace Pedestrian Bridge (north of Bloor on Dundas W. near Perth Ave.)
1:00 pm – Rally at Sorauren Park (Sorauren Ave., west of Lansdowne, south of Dundas W.)
2:30 pm – March along Queen St. W. (Sorauren Park to Bellwoods Ave.)

Contact: Keith Brooks 416.702.9597

Backgrounder: Build it once, build it right!

Metrolinx’s plans to add 450 diesel-powered trains a day will emit toxic chemicals into Toronto’s air. These chemicals such as nitrous oxide, particulate matter, and benzene, are known to cause cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory illnesses and will have the greatest impact on young children and the elderly.

Electric trains are clean, quiet and fast, and they run more efficiently than diesel. Electric trains are known to last longer and require less maintenance. Major cities around the world typically choose electric trains over diesel, particularly for busy corridors in urban settings. New York City has required the use of only electric trains since 1908.

Diesel is the most polluting transportation fuel available as it produces microscopic particles that are small enough to get into human lungs and the bloodstream. This fine particulate matter contains a number of chemicals that are damaging to human health and the environment, including mercury, cadmium, dioxins, and lead. Diesel fumes are also a major contributor to Toronto’s smog problem and global climate change.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, submitted formal comments to the Minister of the Environment on September 16, 2009, saying “I remain concerned about the air quality impacts and increased health risks predicted for the immediately adjacent communities as a result of the proposed diesel expansion.” Dr. McKeown further stated “In my view, electrification is the option that most clearly addresses the air quality and health impacts predicted from the proposed project for populations adjacent to the line.”

Currently around 50 diesel trains a day run along the existing rail corridor. The provincial transit authority, Metrolinx, is proposing to increase that number to more than 450 diesel trains a day, making it one of the busiest rail corridors on the planet.

During rush hour, there will be one train every 90 seconds. Trains will run every three minutes for the other 19 hours of the day. These trains will pass through 12 Toronto neighbourhoods that are home to over 300,000 people. There are 76 schools, 96 daycare centres and four long term care facilities within a kilometre of the tracks.

The Clean Train Coalition, supported by thousands of Toronto residents and a growing number of public officials, are pushing Premier Dalton McGuinty to invest in electric trains from the outset. Professional and public organizations, including the Toronto Board of Health, The Toronto District School Board, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Toronto Environmental Alliance and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, have expressed concern that the use of diesel-powered trains for this particular public transit expansion will have significant adverse effects on the health of people who live and work in the GTA.

The Human Train on Saturday September 26, 2009 will show Dalton McGuinty that Torontonians are serious about having clean transit.

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The Clean Train Coalition represents the communities along the rail corridor. We believe that a healthy environment and vibrant neighbourhoods depend on smart investment in public transit infrastructure. Build it once, build it right! www.cleantrain.ca

 

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