Challenges / Frequently Asked Questions
The task of adding Commuter Rail Service to our North Main Line poses many challenges. This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) address many of these challenges:
Q: What is GO doing to make expansion of service possible to our area?
A: Go transit is in the midst of a long-overdue $1 billion infrastructure improvement program. This program concentrates on the existing network, but will help lay the foundation for the extra capacity to handle extra passenger load from expansions east, west, and north of the GTA. The current project started in 2004, and mentions, most notably:
- A third main track on the Lakeshore route, especially between Burlington and Hamilton stations, eliminating a large bottleneck and contention with freight trains in this section (this track was completed in September, 2006)
- Moving the Milton line GO train storage yard to a new location, also allowing for longer trains (1800 passenger 12-car trains instead of 1500 passenger 10-car trains)
- Grade separations at major rail line crossings, removing delays caused by waiting for freight trains to pass (Especially for Georgetown line passengers)
- Trackwork and signalling improvements at Union Station to move trains in and out more efficiently, and allow more arrivals and departures
- Major renovations to Union Station to allow doubling of capacity to 80 million passengers per year.
Unfortunately, this work is required in order to make improvements to the North Main Line service possible. GO will not likely entertain additional network capacity until this work is complete.
Q: Will additional work be required once the improvements described above are done?
A: There are still improvements required to the Georgetown line beyond Mount Pleasant GO station. For one, the Georgetown line still uses 10 car trains. Longer trains are needed to accomodate additional passengers. There are major bottlenecks on the Georgetown line due to portions of single track and heavy freight use between Georgetown and Bramalea. It is likely that major bridge construction will be required to cross the Credit River in order to remove this major bottleneck facing expanded service on this route, especially for all-day service. The Credit River bridge is currently single track.
This work has not yet been announced, and is likely to be phase two, if the money is available, starting in the 2008 to 2010 period. Chances are by that time, the North Main Line may finally be able to announce a true expansion of service on our line, if all the above improvements actually come to pass.
Q: Why has the NMMA study chosen Breslau as a station location?
A: Breslau is recommended due to its proximity to Kitchener and Waterloo. The main reason is that there is a bridge over the Grand River, just west of Breslau, that is a major slow point on the line. Also, running through Kitchener is also fairly slow and is prone to much delay. Therefore locating at Breslau is the best compromise to save time and allow the trains to operate at a reasonable speed and schedule.
Q: What will be required for the stations?
A: New stations would be required at Acton and Breslau. Guelph already has a station downtown, but parking improvements MUST be made to ensure the service is viable. The problem with Guelph is the existing VIA rail parking lot can only accomodate about 50 cars. The only other alternative is to pay street parking, or to park at the Wyndham Street parking garage. It should be noted that at GO commuter stations, you do not have to pay for parking if you have a ticket. A new lot on the south side of the tracks at the existing Guelph station would be a good idea, but ultimately a 1000 car lot would be required for any measure of success. This poses a great challenge to Guelph council.
Q: What other options do Guelph residents have for a station location?
A: The former Lafarge property, between the Hanlon, Paisley, and Speedvale Avenue would make an ideal station location. There is plenty of room to host a station with a 1,000+ car parking lot. The station could be built similar to many of the GO stations found around Greater Toronto, such as Bronte, or Milton. Unfortunately, this property is scheduled to be developed into a shopping plaza, with no plans to retain some land near the tracks for a commuter rail station.
This location is also conveniently located near the Hanlon, allowing residents from outside the downtown core and from the surrounding towns a quick, arterial access to drive to the station, park, and ride. A downtown location is not as convenient as it adds several extra minutes to get through the traffic and congestion inherent to a downtown.
The advantage of the downtown Guelph location is its proximity to the city’s existing public transit infrastructure.
Q: What commuting options do I have if I would rather not use my car to get to work in or around Toronto?
A: Please see the section of this site entitled: “Current Commuting Options“.