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Metrolinx is now in the Bike Trail business.. in Kitchener

By shost at 7:51 pm on Friday, September 5, 2014

Shhhhhhh – don’t tell the folks in the North Bay/Cochrane parts of Ontario – while there isn’t enough money to fund train service to Cochrane – Metrolinx is investing $1.2 million on a bike trail to connect Uptown Waterloo with the Kitchener GO station, via  a bike path. That’s right, Metrolinx is investing in non rail, non bus transit.

Link to council documents – see page 26

$1.2 million approx 1/3rd the cost – rest shared with municipal and regional Government. Multi modal transport is great – but really? Metrolinx involvement in this? Personally I think this is reaching too far..  and should be a purely a municipal matter.

Surely Ontario Northland train service is more expensive than a bike trail – but if you want to make some people bitter at politicians – cancel a train (the Northlander – “we don’t have the money” – Ontario Government) and pay for a bike path in the big city? You’ve succeeded.

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Second (and not last!) GO Layover facility being tendered.. Shirley Ave

By shost at 7:44 pm on Friday, September 5, 2014

So for the Kitchener-ites, Shirley ave – the ‘back road’ that acts as an alternate commuter route for those going east/west to/from Guelph and want to avoid Victoria.. there sits a little piece of property formerly known as Clarke Transport.

It seems Metrolinx bought this property and plans to build the second layover facility here. Why you ask? Good question – what’s wrong with building the real deal down by Baden that was planned and approved in the EA back in 2009? Will shirley Ave have enough room for the planned expansions? Will Shirley be itself replaced in 6 more years if say, all-day service comes to pass?

Either way – expect a multi-million dollar layover facility to be built at Shirley – clearly it’s already been designed..

link to bid documents on MERX

I’m all for increased service – but taxpayer money spent on another intermediate station only 3 years since the last was built? Details please..

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They are heeeeeeeeere.. first UPX (Union Pearson Express) trainset arrives in Canada

By shost at 3:58 pm on Thursday, August 14, 2014

The UPX is closer to reality – part of what is effectively the GO Kitchener line, the first cars from Sumitomo for the Union Pearson Express have arrived in Canada. See this photo by James Gardiner of Brantford found on the Railpictures.ca site:

http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=15999

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GO “to purchase” Kitchener to Silver from CN / CTC almost at Kitchener

By shost at 6:26 pm on Saturday, May 3, 2014

While the line from Kitchener to Silver is owned by CN, it is leased to Goderich-Exeter, a Shortline Railway, and is the only segment of the GO network in effect maintained by a Shortline Railway

Not for much longer – as GO has an “agreement in principle” to purchase the line and in effect, take over maintenance and operation of this segment of the railway from GEXR.

What’s not known is if GEXR freight trains will continue to use the line – I believe they will. Time will tell.

Also for those who ride the train often may notice new signals and towers being installed – the CTC Signalling project has been largely completed from London to Stratford and is working its way east. CTC is not turned on at the moment, but sometime this year the Guelph subdivision will no longer be dark territory, and as a result, safer and possibly even faster.

- Steve

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Mayor Craig: Why don’t you raise taxes in Cambridge to pay for your GO expansion?

By shost at 11:47 am on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Here’s a great opinion piece on why cambridge is left out of GO trains – this isn’t news, nor is it rocket science -

http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4430553-logistics-cost-not-politics-drives-go-trains-expansion/

Left out of the article was the fact that GO service to Kitchener also serves Waterloo, Guelph and Acton.

Expansion to Cambridge serves.. Cambridge. The towns en-route are tiny by comparison. Campbellville? A couple thousand people live there, if that. Which leads me to this.

If Cambridge Residents and Mayor Craig really badly want GO service to Cambridge – why don’t they pay for it? It’s only $800 million divided by 102,000 people, working to about $6700 per person.

Imagine that..

It cost $43 per resident served to bring GO trains to Kitchener and the new Expansion will cost $121 – a far cry from $6000+ for double tracking the CPR line from Guelph Jct to cambridge.

Again good luck Mayor Craig – $800M is still cheaper than a new highway but keep barking – you’ll remain low on the priority list until the numbers make more sense.

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Kitchener line: Four trains per day by 2016 – says Wynne Government

By shost at 2:41 pm on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

While most in KW would have heard of this already – it’s certainly substantial news for our GO commuters:

http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4417987-wynne-promises-increased-go-train-service-to-toronto-by-2016/

I’ll throw caution to the wind that an election is coming soon..

- Steve

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Area Mayors vie for reverse commuting and GO expansion

By shost at 9:55 pm on Thursday, December 19, 2013

Area mayors (Guelph, Kitchener, etc) are pushing for Metrolinx to add expanded GO service into the 10 year forecast, calling to start with busses FROM Toronto to KW during rush hour, and vice versa. Reverse commuting, the traditional Toronto commuter sense – when you consider the number of people employed in the Tech industry in KW/Guelph it makes plenty of sense. Would the numbers support two way GO service? Possibly, but have to start somewhere.

For details of the report – see:

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/boost-go-service-in-area-report-urges/

Note that the same area mayors, in 2003 were the fire that lit under GO Transit and the province to bring us what we have today – GO service in Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Acton. (We also like to think this site played a small-ish grassroots role in helping!) – and yes, we’ll be along for the ride to see service expansion. Add your comments and thoughts below – let’s get the discussion started!

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Guelph gets the GO bill: $3 million, but can be paid ‘in kind’

By shost at 9:51 pm on Thursday, December 19, 2013

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/go-service-costs-city-fare-penny/

‘in kind’ means things such as: counting proportional costs of station renovation (already budgeted and planned) – bridge upgrades done by the city that benefit Metrolinx, or offering Metrolinx land in  lieu of cash (Hello, the place where Metrolinx would eventually build a parking garage, or second or third stations)

Anyone know Waterloo Region’s bill?

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Mayor Craig? What are you smoking? – Waterloo considering cancelling LRT?

By shost at 9:27 am on Friday, September 20, 2013

Places to Grow – MoveOntario2020 – these are the studies and buzzthiungs that pushed Ontario and Metrolinx to move quickly to add many transit options in GTHA and KW. An updated study by the Province paints a picture, that ignoring mass transit needs for ALL Ontario urban centres would be tantamount to a disaster in the making.

People – this report is a “wake up and smell the coffee” kind of moment – how are we going to transport, house, feed, entertain and employ all these people? We have a choice: Sprawl cities to twice current size and build hundreds of billions of $ in roads to match (sprawl approach) – or build up and build billions in transit systems and billions in road improvements to match (Balanced approach)

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/economy/demographics/projections/

From the “Ontario Population Projections Update” published in 2013:

“Ontario’s population is projected to grow by 28.6 per cent, or almost 3.9 million, over the next 24 years, from an estimated 13.5 million on July 1, 2012 to almost 17.4 million by July 1, 2036.”

“The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is projected to be the fastest growing region of the province, with its population increasing by 2.5 million, or 39.1 per cent, to reach over 8.9 million by 2036. The GTA’s share of provincial population is projected to rise from 47.6 per cent in 2012 to 51.5 per cent in 2036.”

“Net migration is projected to account for 71 per cent of all population growth in the province over the 2012–2036 period, with natural increase accounting for the remaining 29 per cent. ”

The population of (Kitchener-)Waterloo is expected to grow by 36.4 percent by 2036.

Mayor Craig, forever upset that he didn’t get GO Trains in Cambridge (which will still happen, eventually) or Light Rail Trains (Just bus, but again,trains will happen, eventually) is now pushing hard for Waterloo Regional Councillors to come up with the numbers to cancel the LRT system.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/cambridge-mayor-wants-formal-report-on-cost-of-cancelling-lrt-1.1703714

Mayor Craig – what are you smoking here, buddy? An extra 200,000 people are going to live in Waterloo Region (including Cambridge) by 2036 and 30, 40 years from now those numbers will only be substantially higher. One must invest in the future if population growth is to grow in a sustained, and orderly manner.

I shutter to think if the Waterloo LRT ‘Ion’ is cancelled, 20 years from now some politicians get together and admit the mistakes of the 2013 council and re-build a mass transit system at a substantial increase in costs all because ‘Places to Grow’ was right. Without the LRT Waterloo Region sprawl would quickly reach St. Jacobs and Elmira – can you imagine? You’d be like Mississauga is today (never-ending sprawl! ha ha ha!)

Cambridge – Now is not the time to get cold feet!

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Kitchener/Waterloo GO Train an obvious success

By shost at 8:32 am on Friday, September 20, 2013

I managed to be in Kitchener for the arrival of GO 207 last night (First GO train to arrive at Kitchener) – and to say the least the crowd that got off the train was quite substantial. If I was to guess i’d hazard about 200 people got off the train and the platform crowd was quite full. Combining this with the crowds at Guelph and Acton, it seems safe to me that we’re well over a thousand people a day using all three stations, or 260,000 people per year per direction. I believe the true numbers to be higher than this.

There will always be nay-sayers ( more on Waterloo naysayers later ) but the truth of the matter is the GTHA needs MORE transit options, not less, and if you build it, indeed, they will come. Our highways are continually congested at rush hour and transit avoids the need to build or expand our highway network to unreasonable levels – while saving taxpayers oodles of money on costly road expansions. Remember it only cost $18M to remove 500,000 cars a year off our area highways and these numbers will continue to increase.

More condos are coming online in Guelph and Kitchener by the GO station and if Guelph is any bellweather – all the condo projects downtown sold out in mere weeks. Certainly GO transit had something to do with this..

Now, if you believe Places to Grow and the future of population growth in the GTHA – the call for more Transit (GO Train, Light Rail) would be heeded by the municpalities involved. The next post will make you cringe..

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