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CTC installation is now complete – what’s next?

By shost at 4:09 pm on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

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.

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High Speed Rail again in the news…. Toronto/Kitchener/London/Windsor

By shost at 8:47 pm on Saturday, October 31, 2015

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.


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CTC nearly done – ETA end of October

By shost at 5:40 pm on Friday, October 16, 2015

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!)

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A new look coming soon to your local GO Train service

By shost at 5:34 pm on Friday, October 16, 2015

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:


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Back to the Future: when rails ran down Caroline St in Waterlo

By shost at 1:13 pm on Thursday, July 9, 2015

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..

- Steve

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And more service for Sarnia..

By shost at 9:08 pm on Thursday, June 18, 2015

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.

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VIA proposes new train – Stratford to Toronto and return

By shost at 4:20 pm on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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.

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$22.56 for Guelph/KW residents to ride “direct route” to Pearson by train

By shost at 8:15 pm on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Taking the train to Pearson is soon about to become easier for Guelph, Kitchener and Acton residents.

Residents who wish to take the train can avoid going all the way to Union , and back (since the train goes right by the Airport) by getting off your GO train at Weston Station you can transfer to UPX at a fraction of the cost of the union-pearson ride. Total cost for GO and UPX ride is $22.56 one way transferring at weston.


$22.56 is for Guelph residents, will be higher for Kitchener and likely lower for Acton.

VIA trains will NOT transfer at Weston, but you can ride VIA to Union Station then tranfer to UPX if you choose to.

The full fare (Union-Pearson) cost of the Airport Rail link from Union is $19 with a presto card, or $11.40 from Weston (Adult fare, presto card). Add $2 if you purchase on board the train, and fares higher without the card.

Since we’re the only Train route directly on the rail link, this is our advantage. Be sure to use it :)

Oh – and if you anticipate using the service, get a presto card in advance.

- Steve

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SouthWestern Ontario Transit Alliance – “action plan” cites Guelph prominently – provides a blueprint for the future of SWO

By shost at 8:00 pm on Sunday, April 26, 2015

Guelph gets high marks for its integrated Transit Hub, Kitchener lauded for its forward thinking transit project, in this document which spells out, in detail, an action plan for the SW Ontario region for all transit (GO, VIA and otherwise) in South-Western Ontario. A good read if you are into details:


However, this group claims the Acton-Guelph-Kitchener ridership of GO Train services is about 250 people daily (each way I’d assume).

Most telling is Page 7: see the dramatic drop in ALL bus service to many points in South Western Ontario – that’s right, many many cities near us have next to no intercity service of any kind. This is not good. Even Sarnia, with one train in and out per day is still not enough, departing at 0630 for Toronto is far from convenient. Should GO add bus service to our northern rural communities? I’d say… yes.

Niagara Falls weekend, seasonal GO train ridership is low? But have you see the QEW on weekends? It’s already way beyond capacity and turning into our next Gardiner/DVP – traffic jams all the time on weekends.  Cheap to add a train or few,  Billions for a new highway. SWOTA quotes $1.2 billion to bring all-day train service to Niagara Falls – abnormally high due to an $800M tunnel required at the welland Canal. In 1974 our Government funded a tunnel in Welland, at the time used for one passenger train each way per day (for the New York-St. Thomas Ontario-Chicago Amtrak “Niagara Rainbow”), but has been a freight-only corridor since 1979.

The last interesting detail among many is the document also cites that an EA is in progress for all day Go Train service to Kitchener-Waterloo – to be released later this year. I expect this document to be a 10 to 20 year blueprint on creation of a dedicated GO corridor from Georgetown to Bramalea and continued improvement (elimination of crossings, bottlenecks (more sidings/double track) etc) to the performance of GO trains that will only be acquired from continued infrastructure changes.

Feel free to add your comments below.

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Province’s big plan for GO Transit – no all day service to KW/Guelph anytime soon, an analysis:

By shost at 3:09 pm on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Here’s a quick analysis of what the Province is promising for upgrades on Go Transit. Keeping in mind this would be at the whim of the government in power – and ONLY projects currently funded and under construction would continue in the event of a turn of party in the next election:


In no particular order:

All day electrified service (15 minutes) would be on the Kitchener line from Bramalea only to Union Station- mirroring the current all day affairs on the Kitchener line.

Weekend/evening service (off peak) 60 minute or better service, ALL DAY to the Hamilton GO Centre (Assuming this is the TH&B Station at Hunter St)

  • I am not sure how this is possible – the Hunter St CP tunnel will restrict all day service unless CP has a change of heart – or a new tunnel will be added at a huge cost!

15 minute peak service to Hamilton GO Centre (TH&B)

30 minute peak service to James St. North

30 minute peak service Kitchener to Toronto

Remember: this peak service simply means how often a train departs. Right now it’s 60 minute service out of Kitchener. Double the trains? Now 30 minutes. Four departures each way out of Kitchener will make for 30 minute service.

Finally – Kitchener will finally get an express train (or two?) – this has yet to be defined how. I would imagine it would be Kitchener-Guelph-Action-Georgetown and run express to Union from there.

What’s going to hold this back for GOKW residents? Number 1 – the Shirley Rd layover facility is absolutely required before any doubling of train service to KW. The shovels may be nearly in the ground this year but the project is just getting started. HOWEVER – if you look at the layout of the existing former Clarke transport facility at Shirley – Go could just add  power and HEP hookups on the existing tracks and park trains on the existing track layout – in other words an expedited and ready made layover yard was purchased without having to construct one from scratch. Number two – CTC – CTC is expected to be commissioned in 2015 and continues to be installed all along the London to Georgetown (at Silver on the Guelph subdivision).  I wouldn’t expect any added service to Kitchener before sometime in 2016..

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