The first meeting of the “new” Metrolinx Board will be held on Monday, July 13. Included in the public portion of the agenda is a report summarizing all of GO’s plans for extended service. A lot of this is old news, but it’s a convenient compendium of what they are planning.
Rail Service Expansion
- Georgetown North: Brampton to Kitchener. At this point the layover facility is shown in Baden, although I understand that there is some local controversy about this. GO has plans for all day service in this corridor, but actual implementation is dependent on studies that won’t complete until 2013 and construction thereafter.
- Georgetown South: This is the expansion of capacity on the Brampton/Weston corridor to permit frequent all day service as well as introduction of the link from Union Station to Pearson Airport.
- Milton: GO plans to expand to all day service on this line. The EA for additional facilities will complete in mid-2010, and that will be followed by construction. A separate study will review service to Cambridge, but that will not be completed until fall 2013.
- Lakeshore East: A study of service expansion to Bowmanville including a new maintenance facility will complete in early 2010. A related study of the section from Guildwood east to Durham Junction for service expansion will not begin until Winter 2011 and complete in Spring 2013.
- Lakeshore West: Although weekend service to Niagara has already started, a study of weekday service is also in the works. This will complete in mid-2010. A separate study will review the junction between rail lines in the Bayview area with a view to possible grade separation or other changes needed to run more frequent service. The EA will be conducted from 2010 to 2011.
- Barrie: The new Allendale Station will be built in 2010. An EA for changes needed to provide all day service will be carried out in 2011-2012. Preliminary work is underway for study of the Davenport Diamond grade separation as well as a new station at St. Clair.
- Richmond Hill: In the first phase, service will be extended further north and new stations will be added. Grade separation at Doncaster will be studied in 2012-2013. This is a prerequisite for all day service.
- Stouffville: In 2010-2011, GO will study double-tracking of this line to allow all day service. A separate study, with no date yet determined, will examine extension to Uxbridge.
- Peterborough: A feasibility study is already in progress for this service, but a detailed EA will not be undertaken until 2013-2015. The overview map shows service connecting either via the CP North Toronto Station or, via the Don Subdivision, to Union Station.
- Bolton: The EA for this line will be conducted in 2011-2012.
- Seaton: An EA to examine service to Seaton and Locust Hill will be conducted in 2011-2012. This service is shown as connecting to North Toronto Station.
GO is also planning many other changes to its system including:
- Expansion of maintenance facilities for trains at Willowbrook. With the growth in GO’s fleet, the demand for maintenance also rises. The growth in storage for the fleet will be accommodated mainly by end-of-line yards both to save on dead-heading costs, and in recognition of the limits of storing all trains in southern Etobicoke.
- Bus service will be expanded to Niagara Falls, Kitchener-Waterloo and Peterborough in Fall 2009.
- GO will study a proposed bus maintenance and storage facility in Oshawa in 2009-2010.
- Union Station capacity expansion includes many components including enlarged yards to hold 12-car trains, resignalling and restructuring of the complex approaches to the station from the east and the west, and additional pedestrian circulation capabilities. Not shown in the GO plans, but part of the City of Toronto’s project for Union Station Revitalization will be the more-than-doubling of concourse capacity for GO with the creation of a new western concourse, expansion and restructuring of the east concourse, and provision of additional pathways through the station to spread out pedestrian flows.
- Rehabilitation of the Union Station train shed will begin in fall 2009, and will include the construction of a glass atrium in the central part of the station. This is a GO project undertaken in concert with the overall City plans for the station.
After a long period in which GO expanded slowly if at all, it is refreshing to see such a large range of projects. However, few of these projects have funding at this point, and it will be interesting to see how much is announced in future Ontario/Metrolinx budgets.
Many studies will be underway by the time of the next Provincial election, and assuming the projects get funding, services would begin operation during the next four-year term at Queen’s Park. If this goes ahead, it will mean a substantial commitment both to the growth of commuter rail service in the GTA, but also of the transformation of GO in many corridors to an all day provider. This will have many implications for local transit systems that will have to provide additional service to feed the rail network.
Demand at Union Station will increase substantially, and much if not all of the planned doubling of capacity as part of the revitalization project will be consumed by additional GO services.