Metrolinx says the study, to be complete by winter 2010, will be overseen by an external advisory committee including community representatives, technical and environmental experts. It's likely a member of the Clean Train Coalition would be invited to join the committee, a source told the Star.
That group, composed of residents, community associations and businesses living along the Georgetown line in the path of a huge expansion of GO service has been pushing the province to go to cleaner electric trains rather than diesel.
GO had been planning to electrify the busy Lakeshore West corridor by 2020, but converting the Georgetown line was supposed to be at least 15 years away.
The coalition says Georgetown should happen first, because it will see 300 to 500 trains a day once GO starts all-day two-way service to Brampton and Georgetown and a high-speed rail service to the airport begins.
"Any move toward electrification is good, but I don't want them to be studying this while they're installing diesel," said Mike Sullivan, a representative with the coalition.
"The diesel plans have to be put on hold while the electrification plans proceed. If they need to be preceded by a study, let's have the study. Let's not continue with the wrong plan while we study how to do the right plan," he said.
Sullivan believes it would cost about $5 million a kilometre, or about $150 million total, to electrify the line between Brampton and downtown.
New trains will be needed anyway, and electric trains are less expensive, he said.