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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:

http://www.swota.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Network-Southwest-Report.pdf

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:

http://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2015/04/ontario-improving-go-transit-service-along-all-corridors.html

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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Mississauga LRT to proceed – $1.6B- Waterloo LRT a bellweather long before it even begins..

By shost at 2:43 pm on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The bellweather  new-build LRT project for Canada – Waterloo’s ION –  has already paved the way for Mississauga/Brampton LRT approval – but  double the cost of Waterloo at $1.6 billion and fully funded by Ontario (as opposed to 33/33/33 split).

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/ontario-to-foot-full-16-billion-bill-for-light-rail-line/article24042267/

Curious – would the funding formula change for ION phase two as a result? (I personally think there is no money for this yet – that will come in a few years time after ION is fully implemented)

And what about Hamilton? Hamilton is probably the largest city in Canada without an existing rapid Transit solution or funding for construction of one – for now. Lots of plans.. but still nothing.

Why is this relevant? Why not – you can ride GO from Kitchener or Guelph,  get off GO at Brampton, connect to LRT to go to Square One, right? Or you could ride the LRT to the Lakeshore line and connect to Hamilton using your GO day pass. A long route but it would be possible… and shorter than going via Union Station. The potential integrations are interesting if all these systems come to pass.. the only dot missing in the grand scheme of things is GO to Cambridge or all day service to downtown Hamilton. On  the subject of all day service..

- Steve

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Kitchener/Waterloo Region “new” station/Transit Hub plans.. Highrises! condos! at all costs?

By shost at 8:55 pm on Sunday, April 19, 2015

See page 28 of this document for more on the “new” Kitchener transit hub at Victoria/King

I’m all for Transit Hubs but what is this? A station or a condo development?

And what’s going to happen to the 1898 VIA/GO station once this is built? I for one would have rather seen a relocation and integration of the existing station building into the new design.. but it doesn’t look like Waterloo Region has much interest in preservation of heritage in mind (other than the existing 19th century factory they plan to integrate)

The existing station would not have to move all that far, but alas, you can’t develop on top of a heritage structure..

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