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Transit news for the region

By shost at 11:08 am on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hi everyone – Thanks to a run in to a friend and avid site reader, Aiden Kelley of Guelph (Happy St. Patricks Day to Aiden and my Irish friends out there) he reminded me to update GOKW :)

What’s new? First of all, CTC upgrades are well underway – it is expected the new signalling and dispatching will be in place for summer 2015. Will this increase speeds on the line? Yet to be seen but likely yes, if ever slightly – it may reduce some delays currently found due to dispatching and radio blocks.

Rumours are that once the signalling is in place VIA and GO will be pushing for immediate increases to service – VIA planning to add a second departure to Sarnia via Guelph/Kitchener.  As reported in the Sarnia Observer on March 13:

http://www.theobserver.ca/2015/03/13/via-rail-president-meets-with-sarnia-lambton-delegation

My family would be using VIA from Sarnia this week if it wasn’t for the 0613 departure – adding a departure would be much more viable for Sarnia residents who have few options (there is no public bus service).

In similar news: GO’s James St. North station is well underway for completion this summer – giving Guelph residents an additional option if one wants to hit the Lakeshore line – there will be on-site parking for the two departures that will initially use the station.

And finally, Cambridge hasn’t given up on GO service – still pushing to add a departure or two from the former Galt CP Rail station on Malcolm st.

LRT news:

Waterloo’s LRT “ION” construction is fully underway – as follows:

a) The Heavy rail section from Waterloo Town Square to Northfield is being upgraded with new welded rail, wider embankments (and eventual double tracking) with expected completion within one year. This is well underway, now, crews have been on-site since late February and rails were dropped in early March.

b) The Maintenance and Operations facility is being constructed near Northfield Station, which will house the Bombardier Flexity vehicles.  Rails were also dropped for this so expect it to take shape fairly quickly.

I expect that within a year we’ll have operating LRT trains for testing purposes on this section of the ‘heavy rail’ line – hut only once deliveries arrive from Bombardier in 2016. This will give the region one year to test the vehicles while the rest of the construction continues in the more difficult areas. Where are these areas?

c) The in-street portions – in particular Caroline, Charles, Borden streets are largely closed to re-locate utilities for eventual laying of track. Additional closures are forthcoming – King St at the CN tracks will be closed starting in April for just over a year – but since Weber just re-opened you have an alternate route

d) The CN shared right of way portion – from near Charles/Borden St to Fairway Rd is currently under way – the CN right of way will be re-located a few meters in order to make room for LRT.

e) An underpass at Highway 7 has been completed (project began in 2013 I believe) to bring the LRT under the highway, which at one point was to use the CN underpass. CN Said no.

Much more yet to come – Waterloo region is going to be a construction zone for the next two to three years – short term pain for a long term gain. One can already see the transformation of the region with the number of development projects going up along the corridor.

Last word: What is heavy rail? Simply put any regular railway (standard coupler) inclusive of GO transit. LRT will share a heavy rail corridor with freight trains, but the freights will be restricted from heading to Waterloo and Elmira in the wee morning hours. Unlike Toronto’s TTC – which is TTC gauge and shares no right of way with freight trains, ION will be standard gauge and share heavy rail corridors, similar to Ottawa’s O-train.

Ta Ta for now!

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Comment by Jacob Smith

March 23, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

Thanks for the update! Do you know if they will replace the old 100lb bolted rail from London-Stratford and Petersburg to Kitchener? I feel this a huge reason why the Guelph Sub is so slow. Also, are they planning on making any new sidings to accommodate more GO trains in the future?

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