Metrolinx Toronto Canada Rail Ricardo

Ricardo supporting the transformation of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton rail network

23 May 2022


Our Ontario-based team will perform independent safety assessments during the design stage of the GO Expansion railway upgrade.

As the appointed Independent Safety Assessor, we will provide independent scrutiny of the programme’s safety documentation during its design phase, ensuring it is in full compliance with relevant standards.

Performing these assessments at this early stage in the programme will reduce the risk of delays or expensive rectification works during the construction, installation and testing phases.

The role was awarded by Metrolinx, a crown agency of the government of Ontario that is responsible for GO Transit, the regional network of rail and bus services in GTHA.


“We will help ensure safety remains at the forefront throughout the key design stages”


Richard Gibney, Certification Director, Ricardo Certification said: “We are delighted to be awarded this important safety role by Metrolinx".

"This is a complex, multi-faceted programme of works, with new rolling stock, a new traction system and extensive infrastructure upgrades which must be designed to the highest safety standards. Using experience of similar projects around the world, we will help ensure safety remains at the forefront throughout the key design stages.”

A step-change for rail transport in Greater Toronto and Hamilton

GO Transit's rail network consists of seven lines operating out of Toronto's Union Station, served by an aging fleet powered by diesel locomotives. Infrastructure limitations have imposed a variable timetable across the network, with traffic oriented towards peak rush hour direction.

However, rail passenger numbers on GO Transit have steadily risen in recent years: in 2020 the network was carrying over 57 million passengers a year. A rail upgrade programme, ‘GO Expansion’, will deliver a faster and more frequent service using modern electric-powered rolling stock. The programme also includes new track, signalling, and over 650km of electrification.

The outcome will be a significant increase in services from 3,500 (2019) trains per week to over 10,000, with services operating at least every 15 minutes. The new fleet is forecast to deliver a 50% reduction in operating costs per kilometre.

As the  ISA, Ricardo teams will support the programme throughout the design phase to assess whether Metrolinx and ONxpress Transportation Partners have developed relevant safety documentation – including the system definition, system safety plan and safety case – in full compliance with standards such as the Canadian Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment, and EN50126, the international standard for the specification and demonstration of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) for railway applications.

Throughout the assessments, Metrolinx will gain access to the Ricardo Compliance Tool, a cloud-based technology that will help reduce duplication and delays, ensuring the safety assessments are conducted with full transparency.

Proven credentials to serve Canada's burgeoning railway

As the first organisation to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17020:2012 under Canada’s new Independent Safety Assessor for Railway Systems Accreditation Program, Ricardo Certification has demonstrated its technical capabilities to the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the national accreditation organisation.

With this accreditation, Ricardo Certification can bring the Canadian rail industry expertise garnered from assignments around the world, including assurance or advisory roles on major programmes such as London’s forthcoming Crossrail and Denmark’s migration to ETCS technology, as well as the construction of metro lines in global cities such as Amsterdam, Dubai and Seoul, and light rail in medium-sized centres such as Copenhagen and Tel Aviv.