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
Congratulations to our neighbours in Kitchener-Waterloo for embracing an LRT line in their city. Unlike Toronto, with a would-be Mayoral dynasty whose grasp of transit and municipal finance can be breathtakingly mean and shortsighted, K-W has decided to proceed with a rail spine for its transit network.
Now is the time for Queen’s Park to accelerate support for LRT in Mississauga and Hamilton. Get off the pot and show people what surface rail transit can do.
Read details in The Record.
More info on the Region of Waterloo site.
Today, Metrolinx released its long-awaited study of GO Transit electrification. I will comment on this in more detail over the next day or so, but here are preliminary observations while the news is fresh.
Updated 4:30 pm: The study appendices are now available online. I have not incorporated any information from them in the article below.
The study finds that electrification is a worthwhile venture on selected, well-used corridors, and that it is an important foundation for the growth of GO Transit into its regional role proposed in Metrolinx’ Big Move.
The proposed staging of the electrification project (all times are estimates) is:
- Preliminary design and Environmental Assessments (3-4 yrs)
- Union to Pearson Airport, and Union to Mimico (Willowbrook Shops) (4-5 years)
- Pearson Airport spur to Brampton (Mt. Pleasant) (2 years)
- Union to Oshawa (including access to a new eastern maintenance shops) (4 years)
- Mimico to Oakville (2 years)
- Oakville to Hamilton (James Street Station) (2 years)
- Oshawa to Bowmanville (2 years)
- Brampton to Kitchener (2-3 years)
Other corridors were studied, but the best benefit-cost ratio was found to be the combination of Georgetown and Lake Shore. Events over the next decades may prove this to be short-sighted, but that’s today’s plan.
The implementation is rather leisurely, and if all of its phases take place sequentially, it will be the early 2030s before this scheme is completed. The Environmental Assessments will use the expedited process most recently seen on the Transit City projects. This will avoid the need for “alternatives analysis” on projects where the alignment and technology selections are a foregone conclusion, and the “terms of reference” will be much simpler than a full EA.
No individual benefit is cited for electrification, but rather the combined effect of contributions to travel time savings, operating costs, reliability, environmental concerns and long-term capacity of the GO system.
GO Transit has announced that effective late in 2011 they will begin operation of two trains each way on weekdays to Kitchener-Waterloo stopping at Guelph and Acton.
No details of train times nor of overall service levels in the Georgetown Corridor are mentioned in the press release other than that this will be an improvement to current service.
The press release states that the storage facility will be “in Kitchener”. GO Transit has clarified this as follows:
The temporary train layover facility will be located north of Victoria Street South, between Park Street and King Street West, in Kitchener and will include storage for two 12-car trains, crew and electrical trailers, fencing, and lighting.
The facility will be used until the permanent one is built at Nafziger Road in Baden.
Kitchener-Waterloo has been working away at a Rapid Transit plan since 2004, almost entirely out of the Toronto media spotlight, including mine. (A large amount of background detail can be found in the “Reports” section.)
Earlier this week, on June 24, Waterloo Regional Council approved the line which will be built initially with LRT in the north (KW) end, and BRT to the south in Cambridge. The first big surprise came Friday in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record who reported that both Ottawa and Queen’s Park were planning to fund the project. News of this reached me while Toronto Council was wrangling over funding for the purchase of new streetcars.
No sooner had Waterloo approved the LRT line, but local Cambridge MP Gary Goodyear announced that Ottawa would contribute $160-million to the project whose total estimated cost is $790-million. This took Regional Chair Ken Seiling completely by surprise. Support also came from Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth who pointed out that this money will come from the “Build Canada Fund”, not the “Stimulus Fund” and therefore the project is not constrained by the latter’s March 2011 cutoff.
Meanwhile, the Liberal MPP for Kitchener, John Milloy, announced that Queen’s Park will provide two-thirds funding for this project. If you do the math, this leaves Waterloo Region with a comparatively small cost, roughly 1/6 of the total. The project also has support from local Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer. Bipartisan enthusiasm for transit is a refreshing change from Toronto where transit projects are used to score political points by the right wing of Council. Continue reading
GO Transit announced today that it will purchase the CN Weston Subdivision for $160-million. The line in question runs from roughly the Strachan Avenue grade crossing to the junction with the CN York Subdivision at Steeles Avenue.
CN and VIA run comparatively few trains (3 and 6 respectively) each day on the line, although VIA has planned improved service in this corridor for some time. GO plans greatly expanded service both in frequency and in destination (extending to Kitchener), and this corridor will also host the Blue 22 Airport link should that line ever get beyond the drawing boards.
By purchasing the corridor, GO will not only have better control of train operations, it will be able to retain ownership of the substantial improvements needed to accommodate all of the new services.
The press release is silent on the matter of funding.
Mark Dowling passed along a link to the presentation materials from the recent GO Transit EA meeting in Kitchener.
You can follow the story of GO service from a Kitchener-Waterloo perspective on the GOKW Blog.
One of the fascinating points about the proposal for this corridor is that it recognizes that this line has bidirectional demand, as well as local demand that isn’t going to downtown Toronto. This has always been the case, although VIA has done the worst to discourage people from using their service.
Intriguingly the track plans in the display materials show a substantial increase in VIA service in the future. Those of us who travel to Stratford will relish better service, but the real bread-and-butter on this line is the traffic to and from universities. It’s always been a natural corridor for better service, and maybe, finally, we may actually see it.
Also worth noting is the idea of eventually moving Kitchener Station so that the line will make a good connection with the planned KW LRT line.