Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Catching the UP Express

It was a long and tortuous process but finally the Union Pearson Express train has opened in Toronto. It is not a high speed train, but it is a direct link from Toronto's Pearson international airport to its main Union Railway Station right in the city of Toronto. Note, we will be in Vancouver, population less than 3/4 of a million. Toronto, something over two million. Compared to Melbourne's over four million and Sydney's around five million, we shan't be fazed by them being big cities. Of course it is not about the size of a city that matters. It is how they function that is so important. Good public transport and walkability are the essences of a highly liveable city.

After our Rocky Mountains tour from Vancouver, why are we going to Toronto? I am sure it is a great city, but the only reason is to see Niagara Falls. We have three nights in Toronto. One day we arrive, the next we will explore Toronto, the following one a day trip to Niagara Falls, and the next day we leave. We will undoubtedly be left wanting with such a brief visit to Toronto, but that is how travel is at times. The easiest way to see Niagara Falls seemed to be by staying in Toronto and seeing Niagara is one of R's life dreams (as is seeing New York, I might add).

Back to the train. The trains to run the new Toronto airport service were bought from China and are a low emission diesels, and not electric. It could well be that low emission diesels are better for the environment than electric trains. The jury is still out, but for mine, I like electric trains as electricity can be a generated from the sun and diesel fuel cannot. In the interests of expediency, after so many years of planning and arguing, diesel trains were chosen.

Courtesy of Jackie in Toronto, today I looked at the UP Express website. We can book our our train trip on the website for around CA$27. There is no mention of Toronto's Presto public transport card that while it costs $6 to buy, will charge us only $19 for the journey and we can use it to travel on Toronto public transport at reduced prices over pay as you go fares.

As with many airport trains, it will be a marginal operation because of the premium pricing. For two people paying the full train fare, it would be about the same cost to catch a cab from the airport  to the city. Only in times of heavy traffic will the train be significantly quicker.

Anyway, how cool that Toronto now has an airport train but if the UP Express had been done properly it would be a fast ten minute trip. Any airport train in Melbourne that I doubt I will ever see needs to be the same, that is a ten minute trip. In our mega growing cities, speed and convenience are of the essence and the only way trains will compete.

Photo from the Toronto Sun.   


28 comments:

  1. 'Good public transport and walkability'... How right you are.

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    1. EC, so dad that many American suburbs don't have made footpaths.

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    2. Not all of my suburb, including my street, has footpaths. Walk on the road, or on people's yard. Sigh.

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    3. So dad? Even I don't know what I meant. Yes, I thought about your city when I was writing that. It's a pain pushing a pram or wheelchair.

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  2. Andrew your trop is exviting and i have the same dreams as R nad when Do you start your great trip

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    1. Gosia, in less than two weeks.

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  3. What perfect timing for you! The light rail link from Vancouver airport to the city is quite cool, but I know you've made other plans for that journey. Do you like Indian food? If so I highly, highly recommend Akbars Own
    http://www.akbarsown.com/
    It's in Kitsilano (the other side of Granville Island). It's not a tourist spot - always locals there and it's probably the best Indian food we've ever had. We used to go twice per month. Very reasonably priced. You can walk from Granville Island or take a short taxi ride from the city.

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    1. I've made a note Craig. Yes, we often have Indian food here and R's curries are rather good. I have looked the least at Vancouver because everything is done for us there and I Iike at times to be surprised. We will have some free time there, which is good.

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  4. *cough* Sydney's population is 4.29 million and Melbourne's is 4.11 million. Yes they are still the biggest city on this wide brown continent but not for long.

    Almost every Canadian city is gorgeous, but Vancouver is a total delight. If I ever have to do a midnight flit away from Australia, it would be to Vancouver.

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    1. Hels, the pops of us and them are closer than I thought. You give me great hope for Canada. But aren't we going to run off together and you show me the delights of Habsburg cities?

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  5. I'm feeling a little jealous. I would love to see Niagara Falls up close and personal.
    Good to hear your holiday transport issues are getting sorted.

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    1. River, psst. I am trying to be enthusiastic about our trip and I expect Niagara will be mind blowing, but I don't have the passion for this holiday that I have for others in the past. Pls don't tell anyone. I am sure it will be all really good.

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  6. I have never been to Toronto so I don't know anything about public transports there. But I have seen the Niagara Falls on the Canadian side which is much better then the American side ! Did you take a boat ride ?

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    1. Gattina, seeing the Falls is something we will book at the last minute, but yes, we will see it from the Canadian side.

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    2. Oddly enough, I did indeed find the falls amazing to look at from the Canadian side but it's the thunderous sound which lasts in my memory.

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    3. Craig, I will have ear plugs with me then.

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  7. Enjoy your train ride when you get there...the falls always look good in photos, something magic.
    Flat paths to walk on is a good thing, hope you get that...

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    1. Margaret, I see lifts at Niagara Falls and also a funicular up a steep hill. All will be well.

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  8. My boss is in Canada at the moment and then travelling down to the States to do Route 66. The next two weeks will fly and you will be off before you know it. NYC is on my bucket list.

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    1. Carol, Route 66 was one of my younger dreams. It won't happen now. The weeks are flying and I am not yet ready.

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  9. Goodness me you have done your homework re train service.. now why doesn't that surprise me Andrew :) I bet you know more about it than Pat in Toronto! Canada would be lovely to visit, NY not so much, for me anyway no interest whatever! So exciting, before you know it you'll be up up and away.. Again!

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    1. Grace, it did interest me to learn about it. I am keeping an open mind about NY but people keep raving about Vancouver.

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  10. Interesting article in Toronto Star today - http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/06/08/the-airport-challenge-which-way-is-the-better-way.html

    You are going to Union/Royal York so it will be quicker than the riders in this article.
    Can't wait to see what you think. I agree that the cost of $27 is high as a limo for two would cost about the same. I also think cities should be walkable and have good public transit.
    NYC is the best place to visit!!

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    1. Jackie, yes I read that yesterday, also how overpriced it is in anything else but a raw comparison. As is here, country folk complaining about something being built in the city that they won't get the benefit from.

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  11. I'll be interested in your details about the food in New York. I have heard but not seen that the portions are enormous, way more than we have here. I also expect photos of the food. Actually a companion food blog for this trip would be great and I can't think why you haven't done this for the other trips. Honestly Andrew, do I have to do all the thinking.

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    1. Jah Teh, do you know what stick I get if I take photos of food from you know who? I will certainly not food blog, but I may take a few select photos of interesting or unusual food and a 'normal' sized meal.

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  12. I find myself agreeing with JahTeh about food photos or a companion food blog. If you have the time and remember your camera of course.

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    1. River, see above, but I'll try and take photos of things where they are quite different.

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