GO Kitchener Rail Service Starts December 19, 2011

As previously rumoured in comments, the Kitchener rail service begins on December 19.  GO will implement this with two trains a day.

In the morning, the existing 6:47 Georgetown trip will originate in Kitchener at 5:52.   A new train will be added leaving Kitchener at 7:10 and arriving at Union at 9:08.

In the afternoon, two existing Georgetown trips leaving Union at 4:45 and 5:45 pm will be extended to Kitchener arriving there at 6:42 and 7:42.

The line will be renamed the “Kitchener” line.

GO Schedule Changes Page

Kitchener Timetable

20 thoughts on “GO Kitchener Rail Service Starts December 19, 2011

  1. Glad to hear it. My question is if GO will be using the VIA stations? The first link talks about new stations.

    Steve: They are new GO stations, but they are at the existing VIA locations. What’s missing still is Acton Station which was mentioned in the original announcement of new service, but is not included in the new timetable. It had a station once upon a time, but trains have not stopped there for ages.

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  2. Two hours to Union? I applaud GO for sticking to their promises and making this rail line extension. The Kitchener line does raise the issue of deployment of resources. Is a 2 hour GO train line really worth it? Does this supplement or compete with VIA service, which is approx. 30minutes faster?

    The same can be said of the Union-Niagara Falls line. At some point, should there be a discussion about whether these long lines are as efficient as two shorter lines? Are these longer rail lines more efficient than bus routes feeding into existing rail stations?

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  3. I was asked about this by a CTV Southwestern Ontario crew as I alighted from VIA 85 yesterday. My response amounted to “good news, just not for me”. The lunch time arrival in Kitchener only worked for me yesterday because of a need to make equipment changes in our office after business hours, and meant I didn’t get back to Toronto until 11.30.

    I’m really hoping VIA get a 7-8am departure ex Union to Kitchener sorted once the Georgetown South track widening is done and someone finds a lever to get GEXR’s dead hand of no CTC and single, bumpy track off the Georgetown-Kitchener section to allow the current slack timetable to be tightened up. The 88 eastbound waited 15 minutes at Guelph and Georgetown but ended up 8 minutes late at Union. The extra service wouldn’t have to be fancy – god knows the set they use on 85/88 isn’t – but anything is better than Greyhound.

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  4. At this price point, GO competes more with Greyhound rather than VIA. Greyhound round trip is $40ish ($28 student fare) and takes 1.5-2 hrs from Kitchener to Union. GO will be more comfortable, but slower on average. I’d say the decision will just depend on whether the times of the four GO trips work for the traveller.

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  5. You’ll notice that half of GO’s trip between Kitchener and Toronto takes place between Kitchener and Georgetown. VIA Rail also currently schedules an hour and two minutes between Kitchener and Georgetown. VIA’s half hour advantage comes from not having to stop at Mount Pleasant, Bramalea, Malton, Weston and Bloor.

    The province’s announcement for GO train service on Kitchener was done on the cheap. For around $18 million, we got a two-track layover yard, an extended platform in Kitchener (closing off a street), and platform work in Guelph.

    What GO and VIA would love to add is track and bridge upgrades west of Georgetown, and some double tracking, which would allow both services to shave a half hour from their travel time. I believe there’s been some money announced for this project, but the Goderich&Exeter Railway is dragging its feet, which is a bloody shame.

    Also on tap is an integrated transportation hub for the City of Kitchener, using land at the King/Victoria intersection. This will combine a new VIA/GO stop, inter-city buses, Grand River Transit buses and LRT. This project is being pushed forward by the Region of Waterloo which has expropriated the land.

    So, it’s an on-the-cheap extension, but there’s a good possibility for more investment, especially if the service proves to be popular, and I think it will be. This could mean more trains (GO and VIA), better stations and better track, for faster service. And if Kitchener gets more trains, I’m sort of hoping that they’ll be separated from the Georgetown rush hour runs. Operate Georgetown trains from Mount Pleasant (along with full service between Union and Mount Pleasant), and have the rush hour Kitchener trains stop at Kitchener, Guelph, Acton, Georgetown and Mount Pleasant before operating express to Union. That should save even more time.

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  6. “This project is being pushed forward by the Region of Waterloo which has expropriated the land.”

    I don’t believe there has been any expropriation. The news reports suggested that the Region simply negotiated through agents and transferred ownership to direct Region ownership only after all the plots had been assembled. Regional Council deserves high marks for handling this in such a slick fashion. I’ll be interested to see if the Beer Store (only remaining non-Region-owned property on those two blocks) is expropriated or if they do a deal for that property as well.

    The LRT yard location was similarly handled very smoothly—suddenly one day there was an announcement that the Region had entered into an agreement to purchase it.

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  7. Two hours to Union is worth it, given the bus ride now takes 1.5 on a good morning, and costs an arm and a leg on Greyhound.

    VIA doesn’t do commuter anymore, IIRC.

    I assume this means the layover area west of the city is in working order.

    Steve: The temporary layover is at Kitchener Station, with a permanent one to follow a bit to the west.

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  8. Tom West says:
    November 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    “My understanding is that Acton be included form early in 2012. I assume the station isn’t quite ready.”

    Not quite ready! It does not even have a sign giving its location. Unless the are going to put it in some new out of the way location nothing has been done.

    The station in Guelph is a massive construction zone. There are 2 tiny platforms on 85 foot centres to load 2 VIA coaches. Half the track in front of the station is on a shoo fly to the south 6 m because the bridge to the west is only half finished. There has to be a lot of work done to get even half a platform ready for GO in 3 weeks.

    Kitchener has the wooden edges installed for the platform edge and has closed off one street because the GO platform would be 3 blocks long. There are also concrete bases and conduit in for the ticketing machines. I assume that they will use the VIA station and personnel at first.

    This announcement has all the earmarks of being rushed to meet a political deadline for the Liberal’s promise of GO service to Kitchener before 2012.

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  9. OgtheDim says:

    VIA doesn’t do commuter anymore, IIRC.

    VIA still offers a commuter pass. Guelph-Toronto is $299.45 for 20 one-way trips. Kitchener-Toronto is $328.83. That’s $14.97 and $16.44 per trip, respectively. Compare with the GO fares of $11.70 (single-ride) or $10.83 (10-ride) from Guelph, and $14.60 (single) or $13.50 (10-ride) from Kitchener. Unlike the GO 10-ride ticket, the VIA 20-ride pass expires 30 days after purchase.

    I know Oshawa commuters who pay the higher VIA commuter fare for a faster trip, more comfortable seat and less risk of having to stand. I imagine the same will be true in Guelph and Kitchener. Others will opt for the cheaper GO train.

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  10. Umm there still is the GO-Via Pak – specifically designed for GO Transit monthly pass or 10-Ride Ticket holders, which let GO riders ride the VIA Rail trains between the same stations covered by the GO Transit pass or tickets. I assume they will extend it beyond Georgetown to Guelph and Kitchener. Currently it is $72.75 to and from Georgetown.

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  11. Steven P says:

    Umm there still is the GO-Via Pak – specifically designed for GO Transit monthly pass or 10-Ride Ticket holders, which let GO riders ride the VIA Rail trains between the same stations covered by the GO Transit pass or tickets. I assume they will extend it beyond Georgetown to Guelph and Kitchener. Currently it is $72.75 to and from Georgetown.

    That’s correct, though the real cost of the Georgetown-Toronto GO VIA Pak is $82.21 (for 10 trips), since VIA tickets, unlike GO, are subject to HST. The GO VIA Pak is intended for GO users who want to use VIA only occasionally. People who commute regularly on VIA are better off with the 20-trip VIA commuter pass. Georgetown-Toronto is $7.88 per trip with a GO 10-ride ticket, $12.71 with a VIA 20-ride pass, and $16.10 with a GO 10-ride and GO VIA Pak. It remains to be seen if the GO VIA Pak will be offered for Guelph and Kitchener.

    As far as I know, the GO VIA Pak cannot be used with a Presto card, only with a paper monthly pass or 10-ride ticket from GO.

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  12. You have to remember that these services are not just for getting people to Union Station. The Niagara service gets a number of people who are going to other stations like say Burlington, Oakville, Port Credit, etc. Or from say Niagara to Grimsby.

    Kitchener will probably be the same. Although there is a need for an express portion on these long routes. Two hours to Niagara and Kitchener is still much too long.

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  13. In Acton the town is still dragging its feet on this one. They want to put the station where the old station was back in the 50’s The town has grown up since then, and the station needs to be in a different location.

    Unfortunately the town is still living in the 50’s so it will be a while before they make up their minds. In the mean time we will just watch the green train speed through each morning.

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  14. New bus routings are being added from Kitchener and Guelph to/from Bramalea GO starting at the December 31 board change. The new buses will originate from the train station whereas the 25 buses will continue to originate from the Charles Street Terminal.

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  15. Something interesting is going on here in Guelph-Kitchener: check it out.

    Steve: And beside all that talk of Via investments, I note that the Globe today had a less than favourable outlook for Via’s future thanks to federal cutbacks. Slowly, I think, we will see the passenger rail network in southern Ontario become more and more a GO operation.

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  16. $2000.00 a day is the number the Guelph VIA Attendant (who doubles as a GO ticket seller as well) says the GO train is bring in there. If you calculate that on the current 10 ride ticket price you average about 185 people.

    They also confirmed that Metrolinx is playing a ‘wait and see’ with this service. No word on timelines but they plan on having the 2nd platform (Southbound) installed in Guelph in 2015.

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  17. Via Rail is pulling all Station Attendants this fall from Guelph, Kitchener, Stratford, Niagara Falls and St Catharines.

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