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VIA Rail plans to add 6 afternoon trains on the North Mainline by 2011

By shost at 10:07 pm on Wednesday, July 22, 2009

GO published their final Environmental Assessment documents this week and within was some interesting information about VIA Rail’s planned improvements. After some heavy reading, the following was published in Appendix B:

VIA Rail plans to add six new trains to the North Mainline, London to Toronto via Kitchener and Guelph. Trains departing from London at 1155, 1505, 1755, and departing from Toronto at 1300, 1630, 1830. This plan would provide off-peak service during the afternoons, and seems to avoid GO “Rush Hour”.

Very interesting news, as if this comes to pass we stand to have 12 VIA Rail and 8 GO Transit departures and arrivals per day by 2011, more than double today’s passenger rail service.

- Steve

(Update: The link to the raw documents can be found here)

Filed under: City of Guelph,Kitchener,News,Waterloo7 Comments »

The case for westbound GO service to Waterloo region

By shost at 1:22 am on Friday, February 13, 2009

GO Transit has been built on the philosophy that people in and around the GTA Commute to downtown Toronto. This philosophy has hardly changed over the last 30 years, owing to the fact the majority of users are in fact commuting in this direction. However, times are changing. The notion that GO is considering westward trains seem to indicate a change. But we must see this through.

Waterloo region (and Guelph) are growing rapidly and independently of the GTA. Consider the Waterloo technology industry — employing tens of thousands of people, companies such as Research in Motion, OpenText, Descartes, ComDev, Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, Sandvine, amongst many others. As an employee of this industry, I must stress that the growth that is occuring in Waterloo as a result of this sectors success can only continue if we find the right talent to fill the thousands of available open positions. This often means we are forced to recruit talent from the Toronto area, where the capture rate of this talent is lowered due to commute distance and/or moving costs.

If Waterloo region and Guelph are to become a successful, independent growth engine of the Ontario economy,  we need to look outward to attract talent using transit. Let’s GO WEST and help our employers attract the talent they require.

- Steve Host

Filed under: City of Guelph,Kitchener,News,Waterloo2 Comments »

PIC #2 Guelph Report, and copy of the Pictureboards

By shost at 1:11 am on Friday, February 13, 2009

First, here is a copy of the Pic display boards, which was also linked by WaterlooWarrior in comments below, (Thanks!):


Second, the comments I heard/discussed with GO/RJ Burnside personell at the PIC

  • There is strong demand for bidirectional rush hour service, not only including service to Toronto, but from Toronto to Kitchener. Somehow, it would appear that they may explore the option of providing this service at the onset in 2011. Time will tell if this is feasible though.
  • Guelph’s parking will be serviced using CIty parking. Some form of parking arrangement between the City and GO will need to be worked out, likely resulting in your GO ticket as your pass to free parking at City parking lots. Poltiically, this requires some form of cost sharing arrangement between the City and Go Transit that has yet to be determined. It would be interesting to see some form of Guelph Transit integration also included, if all stars could align on day one…
  • Significant trackwork and improvements are proposed for Guelph, an almost 10,000 foot long ‘siding track’ (Second main track), essentially upgrading the existing Siding to mainline standards to allow two trains to pass and wait at the Platform at the same time.
  • A second passing track would be installed between Kitchener and Guelph, 6000 feet in length, bordering at the Breslau park and ride station
  • VIA Rail is also looking to improve service on the North Mainline, and some form of cost sharing arrangement will be struck for the track improvements (this service has yet to be fully announced by the Federal government)

What’s next? Send in your comments, this is your last chance. By April, the EA will be finalized and submitted for approval. Once approved, the next step is our Provincial Government announcing the project and funding, likely complete with negotiations with municipal governments on cost sharing arrangements. 2011 is the earliest start date if all goes without a hitch. Good luck to all involved!



Filed under: City of Guelph,Kitchener,News,Waterloo3 Comments »

Guelph Public Information Centre report

By shost at 11:15 pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good evening, here is my brief report from the Guelph PIC:

  • Reported 75 people attended, including many Guelph city councillors
  • This is the first fast tracked EA under province’s new guidelines
  • Service start date is expected to be 2011
  • All of what has been proposed is just that — subject to change

Some details

  • One of the major bottlenecks, the Credit River Bridge on CN, is going to be double tracked starting next year, in advance of Kitchener/Guelph expansion
  • Baden was not listed as a layover location at the PIC, Petersburg, “IRA Needles” (between Petersburg and Kitchener) and Breslau were proposed alternatively
  • Three kitchener stations were proposed (IRA Needles, Downtown (by VIA station) and Breslau)
  • Three Guelph station locations were proposed (Lafarge, Downtown, Watson Road (Guelph East)
  • Acton is on the map, with two proposed stations (west, and east (hide house))

I’ll post more, and edit this once I recieve electronic copies of the report.

Thanks to the fine folks at GO Transit and RJ Burnside for hosting this, a job well done.


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Get involved! Public information Centres for Georgetown to Kitchener rail expansion

By shost at 4:42 pm on Thursday, September 18, 2008

GO Transit is holding Public Infomation Centre’s — the first so far, for people interested in learning more or participating in the planning process for this expansion. The information centres will occur as follows:

  • Tuesday, September 23, 2008, Italian Canadian Club, Guelph. 135 Ferguson St, 519-821-1110
  • Thursday September 25, 2008, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 54 Queen St North, Kitchener, 519-578-4430
  • Wednesday October 1 208, Halton Hills Cultural Centre, 9 Church St, Halton Hills, 905-877-7915

Of interest — the study area is from Mount Pleasant to Baden, Ontario. Baden is further west than had been previously known, it is suspected they may be planning a layover yard in the area but local newspapers  indicated local mayors are looking to achieve full rail service..

- Steve Host


Filed under: City of Guelph,Kitchener,Waterloo2 Comments »

Starting June 29 – New GO bus service in Stoney Creek — Additional Guelph service, etc

By shost at 4:39 pm on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Starting June 29, GO Transit is adding much new bus service across it’s network:

  • Extension of bus service to Stoney Creek on weekdays, starting June 30. Will run to Burlington GO train station. (Note: actual pickup location is Nash & Barton in *Hamilton*!
  • Additional weekday bus service between Milton and Bronte, connecting to train service
  • Additional weekend bus departures to be added for Guelph, Acton, Georgetown and Malton (Georgetown line bus service)
  • University of Guelph bus loop will now add Georgetown corridor bus service on weekends. The additional departures will start at U of G, run to the downtown Guelph terminal , then head east to Georgetown and beyond.’

There are additional schedule changes  — all GO transit users are encouraged to check the updated GO schedules at http://gotransit.com



Filed under: City of GuelphComments Off

Greyhound users: Kitchener ticket sales moving to Sportsworld..

By shost at 11:05 am on Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To all users of Greyhound commuter service — a  notice from Greyhound stating

NEW KITCHENER LOCATION: The new Kitchener ticket sales location will be at SportsWorld, with service beginning June 15, ticket sales start July 21st.

Downtown pick up and drop-off will continue at Charles St. Terminal

Effective July 21, tickets can no longer be purchased at Charles St. Terminal only at the new SportsWorld location.

You may board the bus downtown Kitchener and purchase your ticket at SportsWorld

[editors note -- what is the impact of this for Guelph highway 7 commuters who don't want to go to Sportsworld to get tickets?]

Thanks to Aidan Kelley for supplying the information for this post..

- Steve



Filed under: Cambridge,City of Guelph,Kitchener,Waterloo1 Comment »

GO Announces EA for Georgetown-Kitchener rail service expansion

By shost at 9:21 pm on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An Environmental Assessment for GO Train expansion has been announced in the local newspapers, in the least, the Guelph Mercury, May 28 edition.

“The study will review potential sites for construction of new rail stations and layover facilities, and will also identify possible improvements to the existing rail line between Georgetown and Kitchener”

The announcement also invites public participation into the Environmental Assessment Process. Now, I don’t have the timing of the expansion of service in front of me, but I have a funny feeling the timing of this may have something to do with the Region of Waterloo’s accelerated approval of the Rapid Transit plans.

I also note that the Study Region is ONLY Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph. Breslau is not included. Earlier indications pointed to a layover facility in Breslau…

What happened? Did Waterloo region wake up, or did the province give them a nudge?

Either way, in my opinion, the fact they  are studying GO expansion to Waterloo Region, and furthermore, the coincidence the Rapid Transit system and GO Trains may arrive at the same time are very welcome news. It would be very hard to imagine a Rapid Transit system without some form of reliable inter-city rail service to Toronto…

- Steve Host



Filed under: City of Guelph,Kitchener,Waterloo3 Comments »

Tourist Train announced for Guelph, Ontario

By shost at 1:15 pm on Monday, April 14, 2008

A local Tour operator in Guelph, Ontario has announced a Tourist Train which will operate from Guelph to Guelph Junction, Ontario. While this does not bring any commuter benefit, it makes one wonder what ‘could be’ given the fact it will be a passenger train operating close to the Milton GO Line.

The Guelph Historical Railway Association has picked up a press release by Destiny Tours International discussing details of the tourist operation, which will feature full service meals “view(ing) the rolling scenery of the environmentally protected Greenbelt of Ontario.”.

It’s not everyday a new passenger train is announced in our region, therefore I thought it interesting to post here.



Filed under: City of Guelph,NewsComments Off

Georgetown Line: New GO train platform under construction at Brampton

By shost at 10:11 pm on Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Brampton GO/VIA Station will recieve a facelift this summer thanks to the construction of the following:

  • New South platform, Canopy & Shelters, snow-melting systems
  • New West Tunnel
  • Improved East Tunnel
  • New pedestrian and elevator access to both platforms

Construction has already begun and is slated to end in Spring 2009.

Source: Public information postings at Brampton Station, via Dan Dell’Unto.

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