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Barrie announces return of GO train service

By shost at 2:31 pm on Friday, September 29, 2006

Finally, the Barrie extension is back on track. From 680 news online:

“GO Train service is coming to Barrie.
The province and city have announced they’ve finalized an agreement to secure the land and rail corridor needed to make it a reality.
Up to four GO trains are expected to serve Barrie by late next year  currently, train service runs only as far north as Bradford.
The expansion is part of the GO Transit rail improvement program (gotrip), a billion-dollar expansion announced by the province in May, 2004.”

Originally announced in May 2004 — the Extension to Barrie hit a snag when the government refused to purchase the line at ‘fair market value’. The City of Barrie had the foresight to realize they needed the rail line and bought the 22 mile section between Bradford and Barrie. CN abandoned the line in 1996 due to declining freight business. This put Barrie in a unique situation as very few regions own rail lines that have been converted into higher-speed passenger lines. Orangeville-Brampton may find themselves in a similar situation down the road, but Kitchener/Waterloo/Guelph do not have to worry, CN still owns the line and freight business is increasing.

Also, Patrick Brown Conservative MP for Barrie in his website hints at how much regions will be required to contribute: “The total cost of the Bradford to Barrie GO Train extension is estimated at $25 million, with each of the three levels of government contributing one-third of the cost”.

Filed under: Cambridge,City of Guelph,KitchenerComments Off

A ten lane 401 through Cambridge? When is it too many?

By shost at 11:34 pm on Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Ministry of Transport proposes to increase the number of lanes, over a five kilometre stretch of the 401 through from Highway 24 in Cambridge to Highway 8 to Kitchener, to 8 lanes expanding further to 10 over the next 7 years.

Estimates for this project are in the $20 million ballpark, which is the entire cost of the upgrades proposed in a section of the GO/Commuter-rail study by the North Municipal Mainline Alliance.

David Graham, a resident of Guelph, writes a strong article denouncing this action, and calling for consideration of alternative methods of transport. He puts it quite eloquently when he writes:

“At what point does the 401 have too many lanes?

By expanding the 401 from 6 to 8 and then to 10 lanes, do we really increase capacity on the highway enough to warrant the investment? Or in 10 years, will drivers, stuck in 10 lanes of lung-shattering traffic, ponder idly if 12 lanes or 14 lanes might possibly be better? At what point do we stop and consider the alternatives to our smog-filled air and car-filled roads?

One GO train can seat one thousand five hundred passengers, plus standing room, with one single 3,000 horsepower engine, the equivalent power of around 20 average cars (with their lone occupants). “

For more on this, visit his blog entry at http://www.cdlu.net/entries/20060609.shtml.

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

Go announces expanded bus service to Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph, but Kitchener will continue to wait for their long-announced expansion..

By shost at 9:05 pm on Thursday, September 14, 2006

A report to be presented to GO Transit’s board tomorrow indicates that Guelph, Kitchener, and Cambridge are to be considered for future bus network expansion. This is an important first step towards implementing train service.

However, the report states that the long-planned GO bus service for Kitchener will not go through as promised. This leaves Kitchener/Waterloo commuters who do not wish to contribute to road congestion and pollution with the choice of VIA Rail’s lone commuter train, or Greyhound Busses for a few more years at least.

Also planned are park-and-ride lots at Campellville and at Morriston, on highway 6 south of the 401, linking these sites with the Milton GO train service. A good, but small step forward towards expanded Cambridge-line service.

The next phase of the report considering further expansion to GO’s rail network is being completed, and is to be presented at a later date.


Filed under: Waterloo1 Comment »

One ticket, Kitchener to Union Station please.

By shost at 9:53 pm on Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could leave your car behind and take the train to work? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could work on your presentation on your laptop, or read a book, while you zoom past the never-ending traffic on the 401, 407, or Highway 7? Isn’t something like this already available?

The answer is yes — if you live in Georgetown, Milton, or points closer to downtown Toronto. From these places, you can ride GO transit. Cities west of there are out of luck, however, and you are stuck with GO or Greyhound commuter bus service. If you are really lucky, your schedule, where you work, and where you live will add up well enough for you to take the Via train that goes to Toronto Union station.

Not to say that the alternatives are bad methods of transportation. They are not, but there is a clear need to bring our growing cities into the wonderful commuter rail network known as GO Transit. Our region is vastly underserviced by mass transit, and our roads are becoming ever busier, slower, and more overcrowded, to the point of near gridlock for the tens of thousands of daily commuters who must put up with this only viable route to work..

You may not believe it now, but we can help make this a reality. The municipal governments of our cities are already working on a plan to lobby the federal government for this service. Further, GO transit is working to improve their central infrastructure to allow expansion of its capacity and service to areas such as ours, but it won’t happen without real public demand. The time is now to ensure that our cities are aware of the challenges and are ready for when it is time to GO.

What are the challenges cities need to consider?

  • Where will the stations go?
  • Will there be adequate parking?
  • Will it be located in an area convenient to commuters?
  • Will it be linked to the existing urban transit infrastructure?
  • Will it link to other inter-city transit options?
  • Are the administrators of the city aware of and prepared to contribute to GO transit?
  • Is the track infrastructure capable of handling GO trains?
  • What other alternatives are there?
  • What other challenges stand in the way of GO service to our cities?

Municipal elections are due in November and the candidates are gearing up for their full campaigns. Are they aware of this challenge? Why not help make them aware and influence the voting process. Once they are in office, they can continue to learn the facts to help them overcome this challenge for their voters and for their cities.

If this is a topic of interest to you, consider joining me in this quest. We need volunteers to help maintain the news and information on this site and to help get the message out.

Let’s help Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, and Acton get on the GO.

Stephen C. Host


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