A Very Busy GO Corridor (Sept. 2021 Update)

Updated October 20, 2021: A table has been added as a postscript showing the numbers underlying the charts in the article that consolidate GO and Ontario Line traffic.

Back in May 2021, I wrote about the total number of trains that Metrolinx plans to operate in the corridor between East Harbour and Gerrard Stations. See A Very Busy Go Corridor.

Metrolinx has released a Noise & Vibration Study showing, among other things, a revised table of service levels for the routes that will operate in this corridor. See LSE-JC N&V Operations Report issued as Appendix C to the Ontario Line Lakeshore East Joint Corridor Early Works Report. The detailed breakdown of services by motive power type, express and local, and track assignments begins on page 60 of the Operations Report.

The new numbers differ from those published previously:

  • There is an increase primarily in the number of GO express trains.
  • The new report includes Ontario Line maximum service levels for 2060 and beyond.

During a recent online consultation for the East Segment of the Ontario Line, Metrolinx claimed that the count of trains cited by the community is too high (at about 1,500 per day) and that the number is around 900.

Quite bluntly, Metrolinx staff should read their own reports. Too often they give misinformed answers to communities to blunt criticism while being out of touch with their own proposals. Whether this is deliberate misrepresentation or simple incompetence is a debate for another day.

The tables in the Operations Report show very clearly the projected counts of GO, Ontario Line and other trains. (Note that there is no provision for the addition of a proposed High Frequency Rail service on top of this.) The numbers in the spreadsheet below are copied from the Operations Report. The only change is the addition of totals.

The grand total of trains on the expanded GO corridor will be 691 of which 581 will operate between 7am and 11pm, and 110 will operate between 11pm and 7am. (See LSE OnCorr Tracks, East Harbour to Danforth – Combined Table, p62.)

The number of Ontario Line trains begins at 912 per day in 2030 (per the Preliminary Design Business Case), ramps up to 984 by 2040 (again from the PDBC) and to 1130 by 2060 (Operations Report).

Here are updated charts showing the breakdown of existing and future services. Note that “existing” is based on information in the PDBC and corresponds to a pre-pandemic service level.

The value used for the Ontario Line in these charts is the full 2060 value. Opening day values would be about 200 trains/day fewer as noted above.

The existing service is made up of GO Lakeshore East and Stouffville trains, plus a small number of VIA and Freight trains. In the chart below, all current Lakeshore trains are shown as “local” although there is actually a mix of local and express operation. The distinction only becomes significant with the addition of express and local tracks, and electrification of most of the GO service.

Future service will be a mix of six and twelve car GO trains, with diesel motive power used only for about half of the LSE service that is planned to operate beyond the end of electrified territory to Bowmanville. The Stouffville corridor will be almost completely an electric operation, primarily with six car trains. By far the majority of trains in the corridor will be on the Ontario Line, although these will be shorter (100m maximum) and electric.

The chart below shows the breakdown of trains by service. The GO Express service will be diesel with the exception of a few express electric trips. Almost all other service will be electric. Note that although the diesels will run on the inner “express” tracks of the expanded corridor, current plans call for all trains to stop at East Harbour.

A comparison of the volume of diesel and electric trains is shown below. There will be a small increase in the number of diesel trains, but a large increase in electric GO and Ontario Line trains. It is self-evident that any studies of noise, vibration and pollution caused by the diesel trains depends heavily on GO actually becoming an electrified service, but the date for this conversion is notably absent from the construction schedule presented for the corridor.

Finally, the expected buildup of Ontario Line service is shown in the table below.

In my next article, I will review the September 23 Ontario Line East Segment meeting.


Here is a table showing the numbers used to produce the charts above.

3 thoughts on “A Very Busy GO Corridor (Sept. 2021 Update)

  1. There’s an easy solution here: blow up Metrolinx. It needs to die and be replaced by regional authorities operated under the joint powers authority style of governance used in California. At the very least, Metrolinx needs to be barred from having anything to do with projects that should have been left solely with the TTC and other locally-answerable transit agencies. The Ontario Line/Downtown Relief Line is the primary one in that category. You’re welcome.


  2. With Steve’s devoted time and keen eyes and memory for details, and thus his plain urging of Metrolinx to just read their own reports, it’s sure tempting to be on the snidelines with Greg and talk about the ‘Ontario Lyin’ as being a big pile, which is unfortunate as we need to have better transit but in a more spread-out fsshion ie. the silver buckshot and silver bullet, or bull-SSEt, or whatever the costly megaproject is. (And will the NDP and/or Liberals scrap the SSE to save some billions, applicable to not just within Scarborough, but for the GO electrification if not housing if not hospitals, if not eyecare).

    A set of projects is the rethinking is required, but alas under current provincial momentum, it’s as easy as having smart concrete, which is a very useful mix, when in the right places.

    One of the smaller project fixes may well be better linkage between systems at Main and Danforth, and that would still entail more traffic on this corridor, as well as political will and maybe saying “NO’ to developers/projects at the important lands, as one of several key places where we’re building options shut, again.


  3. The number of trains each way on the Lakeshore east corridor does not seem to add up even if it includes revenue trains and non revenue equipment moves:
    Lakeshore East Trains:
    D1L6 5 +0 +21 + 5 = 31 westbound 19 +3 +5 +0 = 27 eastbound gives 4 extra westbound
    D1L12 1 + 31 +5 + 0 = 37 westbound 37 +3 +2 +0 = 42 eastbound gives 4 extra eastbound
    E1L6 46 + 6 +1 + 0 = 53 westbound 1 + 0 + 47 +9 = 57 eastbound gives 4 extra eastbound
    E1L12 18 + 7 + 1 +0 = 26 westbound 1 + 0 + 19 + 4 = 24 eastbound give 2 extra westbound
    VIA 0+ 0 +16 + 1 = 17 westbound 18 + 0 +0 + 0 = 18 eastbound gives 1 extra east bound.
    Stouffville Trains:
    D1L6 6 + 0 +1 +0 = 7 westbound 1 + 0 + 6+0 = 7 eastbound this one is balanced
    E1L6 129 +29 +2 +2 = 162 westbound 4+0 + 128 + 32= 164 eastbound gives 2 extra eastbound
    E2L12 0 + 1 + 3 +2 = 6 westbound 5 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 5 eastbound gives 1 extra westbound

    These numbers do not add up as there should be the same number of trains in both directions if it includes both revenue and non revenue trains, especially for the diesel ones. What happens to the extra trains?

    The Stouffville electrics could be explained by the extra E2L12 westbound becoming the 2 extra E1L1 trains eastbound.

    VIA runs some trains coupled nose to tail, usually the Ottawa and Montreal trains which splits in eastern Ontario, but only eastbound, not westbound.

    Metrolinx coupling some trains together for equipment moves, running two trains nose to tail? Also, what happened to the D2L12 trains in an earlier listing?

    Does Metrolinx proof read their data and do they check previously released data to see if its consistent? Their work does not create confidence in their ability to plan.

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