a electric train


GO Expansion in 3D

Interactive technology helping design GO network of the future.

Mar 13, 2024

Designing a modern, integrated transit system requires cutting edge technology to turn a vision into reality.

Thanks to a new 3D mission room that recently opened at the GO Expansion - On-Corridor Works (OnCorr) project office in downtown Toronto, Metrolinx and its partner, ONxpress, can now visualize the future of the GO rail network like never before.

The new, state-of-the-art space has three life-sized 3D touchscreens and a virtual reality (VR) headset installed to enable greater collaboration between teams on a variety of important design and planning activities for this unprecedented project.

How mission room will support OnCorr project

This 3D technology brings models and drawings to life by providing a digital representation of the GO rail network, which means teams can interact together and finalize project design details long before they reach the construction site.

Bringing an ambitious project like GO Expansion - OnCorr online requires the latest technology to ensure the right information is easily accessible, managed and updated regularly in a shared space.

This is especially important as teams are currently keeping track of the due diligence and investigation (DD&I) work happening across the network right now.

It doesn't stop there – the mission room has a variety of potential uses for the project, including:  

  • Design & Construction: Design review and coordination, constructability discussions and project change controls
  • Version Control: Compare two versions of a 3D design and identify any modifications in one click
  • Health & Safety: Remote review of safety elements from surveillance video cameras (CCTV) or helmet cameras
  • Training: Replicate working in live construction environments, and virtually operating a train with the VR headset
  • Wayfinding: Guide a walk-through of a physical environment (like Union Station) so that specific construction elements can be reviewed and refined seamlessly
GO Expansion 3D mission room

Tools like VR will help teams plan more efficiently, to bring customers the best possible product. (Metrolinx image)

Why is this technology necessary?

A key part of this technology is Building Information Modelling software, also known as “BIM”.

Unlike conventional 2D drawings, this tool allows users to generate and manage digital representations of physical structures and provide an accurate model of terrain and geographic information.

Any BIM software can be connected to the mission room’s system, allowing teams to examine different locations along the GO network's rail corridors.

This will provide a more immersive and collaborative experience and support decision making during the project’s Development Phase before major construction starts.

GO Expansion 3D mission room

Teams use three large life-sized 3D touchscreens to bring GO Expansion work to life. (Metrolinx image)

How it benefits customers

Metrolinx is using the latest technology and advanced methods to plan and progress complex transit projects like OnCorr – a key piece of the GO Expansion program and one of the largest infrastructure undertakings in Canada.  

That means delivering a more connected transit system across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Region, with faster, more frequent GO Train service for customers in the years to come.

by Alex Kelly Metrolinx communications senior advisor