Trains to and from Toronto Airport (YYZ)
Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) is one of the largest airports in the world, and is the busiest in the country of Canada. It is found approximately 22.5km northwest of Downtown Toronto, and is served by over seventy airline companies that offer scheduled departure flights to more than a hundred worldwide destinations. The airport is also referred to as the Pearson Airport, or as the Lester B. Pearson Airport, in honour of Lester Bowles Pearson, one of Canada’s former Prime Ministers. Although there is currently no Toronto Pearson Airport train station, there may be direct railway connections in the near future, which will significantly assist with the public transport needs of the airport. A great variety of train services are, however, available from the city railway stations.
The only train currently available at Toronto Airport is the Link Train, and this is the efficient people mover system of the airport. It is not a connection to the city of Toronto, or to any nearby suburbs, as it only runs between the two terminal buildings of the airport and to the far parking lots on the airport grounds. This automated Link Train began its operations in 2006, with two six-car trains travelling between the Terminals 1 and 3. These are the two terminals currently used at the airport, and they hold the main arrival and departure areas for passengers. The Link Train also connected the terminals to the 6A Station, where a cheaper parking area is located, as well as the airport staff parking lot, which is found between Airport Road and Viscount Road. In December 2009, the airport constructed a new parking garage opposite the 6A Station with a capacity for 8,500 vehicles. This building is used for a variety of purposes, including long-term parking, employee parking and car rental operations.
The Toronto Pearson Airport Link Train is free for use by all passengers, and fully accessible to passengers with disabilities. It operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and is available every four to eight minutes from locations in the terminals and at the Viscount Station. In Terminal 1, passengers will need to go to Level 5 of the terminal’s parking garage in order to catch the Link Train. From the terminal take the West Pedestrian Bridge on Level 2 to reach the Parking Garage. There are signs from here to the elevator and escalators. The Link Train is available at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel Station of Terminal 3, and to get here passengers will need to go to Level 3 of the terminal, and follow the signs up the escalator and to the Sheraton Hotel. The train platform is accessible from the hotel lobby. The Link Train Viscount Station is located on Viscount Road, between American Drive and Highway 409.
As for other Toronto Pearson Airport train connections, although the airport is nearby to railway lines, there is no train station at the airport for rail transport into the city. However, in recent years (2010), the Toronto regional transport agency known as Metrolinx announced that a new commuter rail service would be built for airport access. Metrolinx would design, build and operate the railway link, and it will begin at the Toronto Union Station, the main railway station of the city. The costs of the line is estimated to be between $300 and $500 million. Although it will be extremely beneficial to the airport’s ground transportation system, it remains controversial due to opposition from neighbourhoods along the route. Construction for the new railway connection has begun, and it is due for completion in time for the 2015 Pan American Games. The new connection is proposed to eliminate 1.5 million car trips to and from the airport every year, which will significantly improve traffic conditions.
The nearest railway station to Toronto Airport at this present time is the Malton Go Station, found at Derry Road, which is just to the east of the airport grounds. Even though this station is so nearby to the airport, there are no direct connections from the station to the airport, or visa versa. However, passengers can take buses at Toronto Airport to reach the city centre, and to gain access to Union Station, which is the city’s major inter-city rail station, and a major commuter rail hub. The station is found in the Central Business District of Toronto, on Front Street West, and it is currently rated as busiest transportation facility in the country. It is even busier than Toronto Pearson Airport, as approximately 200,000 passengers pass through it every day, with a total every year of over sixty million passengers. The trains travelling from Union Station to other cities in Canada and the United States are operated by Via Rail and Ontario Northland, and the commuter rail services are managed by GO Transit. Union Station is also well connected to the city’s extensive subway system, that is operated by the TTC, or the Toronto Transit Commission. A bus terminal of GO Transit is nearby as well.
All scheduled passenger trains pass through Union Station, and this station is also one of VIA Rail’s main hubs and many of their lines are connected to the station. VIA Rail’s lines from Union Station include the Corridor, which is one of their busiest lines connecting Windsor and Sarnia to Quebec City. Trains along this line connect Toronto to Montreal, Ottawa, London and Kingston. The Maple Leaf line connects Toronto to New York City in the United States, with stops at Albany, Buffalo and other smaller stations. It is also run by the U.S. passenger rail company of Amtrak. To Vancouver, The Canadian line is available, and trains run this route approximately three times a week from Toronto. The train stops at many stations en-route, including Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Jasper. The journey to Vancouver by train takes three days, and is regarded as one of the most expensive rail journeys in North America.
The Ontario Northland runs to the more scarcely populated area to the north of Ontario, to Cochrane. Trains run about six times a week to this location from Toronto. The commuter train services in the Greater Toronto Area are managed only by Go Transit, and are all run from Union Station. They are mainly available during the rush hours of the city, whereas buses take over during the less busy times. General travel times can be considered as follows: Ottawa – almost four hours, Montreal – just over four and a half hours, Winnipeg – thirty-four hours, Saskatoon – forty-six hours, Edmonton – fifty-six hours and Vancouver – eighty-three hours.
Although currently there is no Toronto Pearson Airport train station, the future looks bright for direct rail connections for passengers of the airport.