There may be VIA improvements coming to KW:
Critics of the Union Pearson express have gone on record to say it’s a waste of taxpayer money, a white elephant, yada yada – wrong. Totally wrong. It cost $456 million (estimated cost as of 2010) which sounds like a lot of money, but remember , this same amount of money would only buy you 20 KM of highway widening — today.
5 KM of widening of the 401 in Cambridge will cost $150 million
GO service to Kitchener in 2011 was added for only $18 million..
Highways are *expensive* by an order of magnitude more than railway/transit projects and you get far less bang for the buck. These widenings will only last a year until traffic is back to stop and go during ‘peak periods’ due to the fact highways.. are constantly under pressure and commuters will fill every inch of space on our overcrowded artery highways..
Investments in transit are the only way to provide meaningful, long term returns for our investment at a relatively low cost.
If you think $150M is a lot of money, what is the new Highway 411, 407 extensions costing Ontario Taxpayers? A hell of a lot more money than UPX.
And widening the 401 from Mississauga to Cambridge? Multi billions………..but spread over 20 years while commuters continue to deal with the headaches, save for those smart enough to use Transit.
This is just stupid.
Let’s see here – VIA already has the time-slots through the station – and a two minute stop can’t be accommodated.. WHY?
Make the necessary adjustments and let the TRAIN DISPATCHERS do the rest of the work! Our money paid for this, and there is no damn reason why it can’t be accommodated.
The CTC project, at least from the perspective of crews operating on signalled aspects.. is complete..
At least, from Silver (Georgetown) To Ashland (Junction with CN at London) There are now signals to obey, with execption to a small segment at King St in Kitchener which remains OCS until the underpass/grade seperation is completed. (will be a year)
What’s next? More trains. that’s the promise anyway. The new Layover facility is under construction at Shirley Ave in Kitchener and once that is completed, it is highly likely to see two additional GO trains per day in and out, which may occur by the end of 2016.
Will VIA Rail add more trains? I say it’s likely – VIA paid $25M for the CTC installation, and why? Why would they if they do not plan to do something with it. Keep in mind $25M would buy via a couple locomotives, a few passenger cars.. two to four Refurbished RDC’s, and yet via sunk the money into safety improvements on the Guelph sub, not Metrolinx, not GEXR, not CN, VIA.
So we’ll have to wait and see what VIA has in store. We know GO’s plans, stay tuned.
Need I remind everyone that Kitchener-Guelph is the only corridor that goes by the Airport? Hence why this may still happen and why we’ll be the ones to see this happen, if it happens, ever.
The CTC project – which will improve safety as compared to Dark Territory/Radio Clearances, and increase density on the Guelph subdivision is nearly complete. Signals have been turned in the direction of travel, but at this time, signal numbers are all boarded up, on purpose, until commissioning day.
You see, if a signal is ‘extinguished’ you must treat it as a stop and do not proceed sign until released by the RTC. But no signal number, no signal, thus the rule is avoided
At any rate, crews on the ground indicate end of October is likely…. why is this important? It will lead to increased service for GO and possibly even VIA – without CTC the Railways would have said no.
And it avoids the potential mistakes that can occur in dark territory:
Note: Thamesville was caused by an improperly reversed switch, in CTC it is the theory this would turn signals to RED giving engineers a warning the next signal up. The near head-on derailments on GEXR are alarming, but part of that problem was procedural, which has been fixed due to installation of radio towers and repeaters, and implementation of better procedures for acknowledement.
Derailments and accidents occur in CTC… which is why PTC is the big push now.. (for better or worse.. don’t get me started on PTC! the Jury is still out on this one!)
GO recently unveiled a 100% new look – improved cab cars – providing the following benefits:
- Much larger operating cabin for crews
- Increased crashworthiness
- Improved visibility (this should be obvious!)
- Apparently, these cars come with technology that the older (as old as ’78) cars do not have, such as Wifi Antennae, etc – but I don’t have the tech specs from Bombardier
A photo taken on the Lakeshore line – on the second day of service for this cab car. Watch for it on the Kitchener line:
Here’s a Back to the Future moment: While Waterloo residents wait for construction along Caroline St to complete, to see new shiny LRT rails, for nearly 100 years rails had previously existed along Carline St, which existed until around 1994.
Above is a photo by Bill Thomson of Guelph, taken in 1971 showing a Canadian Pacific locomotive switching cars into the Seagrams distillery along Caroline St. This photo is somewhat unique – while I know of a few photos in books or other publications, this is the only photo of the Caroline St rails that presently exists on the Internet. (Anyone with classic rail scenes like this are encouraged to consider sharing to railpictures.ca)
Back to the future? That’s where Waterloo region is going by re-installing a LRT transit system – Waterloo had two rail transit systems in the early to mid 20th century – Streetcars until 1946 along King St in Waterloo and Kitchener (with a branch to Bridgeport and the CN Station) and the Grand River Railway, as pictured in Bills photo after passenger service ended in 1955 but continuing to be used by freight trains. The CP Owned Grand River Railway is still providing freight service today, thanks to the Toyota Cambridge plant, for transport of automotive products throughout North America and some for Export elsewhere. The Grand River Railway presently runs between the CP Galt station and Block Line Rd in Kitchener, the remainder from near Block Line Rd to downtown Waterloo was removed in 1994. Stage 2 ION LRT plans show use of the Grand River Railway from Fairway Rd to Preston as part of the implementation, but it is this authors opinion Toyota is here to stay and by then, ION will have to build their own right of way alongside CP to achieve their goals.
What if.. the Grand River Railway wasn’t ripped up and we still had Streetcars in KW. Look to the South Shore Interurban in Chicago for what could have been..
Re-instating (basically) the two trains each way per day – Believe this when it happens, but this time, going back to early 2000′s when one train ran the North mainline and one the South:
No suprise, the GEXR’s 30 MPH slow orders from London to Stratford and Stratford to Kitchener do nothing to help on-time performance, or competitiveness with the southern route, which will be one full hour shorter.
From the Stratford Beacon Herald:
Based on the information given here, this would depart 2 hours before 84, at 6:30 AM, 7;15 AM Kitchener, 7:50 AM Guelph.. running 30 minutes after the last GO Train
And on the return – running one hour ahead of VIA 87 and 30 minutes ahead of GO 209 (first westbound GO train).
Essentially gives Stratford residents an extra train and runs after the current Morning rush, and leads the evening rush back. It will be a popular train and VIA knows it. It’s just too bad it won’t run to London to connect to multimodal services at Windsor.
All of this is subject to negotiation with Metrolinx and GEXR/CN. Certainly when the CTC is put into service, VIA will want something to show for their efforts, so this should come to pass easily.