For regional transit to work well, vehicles, people, infrastructure and systems must come together to create an efficient and effective transportation network. While much of the recent focus has been on the big changes coming to and around Union Station, large scale and critically important enhancement projects are underway elsewhere across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). New services, stations and facilities are all part of the Big Move regional plan to manage traffic congestion, speed up commutes, boost the economy and enhance the quality of life for residents and commuters.
As part of the Big Move, Metrolinx is preparing to change the way GO Transit trains operate, from a rush hour commuter service to a frequent, all-day and electrified rapid regional transit solution they have dubbed Regional Express Rail (RER). To accomplish this, Metrolinx has bought up several rail corridors around the GTHA to upgrade the tracks and control the schedules for its revamped RER service. The recent purchase of tracks from Georgetown to Kitchener are just the latest piece to be added for future RER network. An updated map below illustrates which railways own the tracks the trains run on.
In Hamilton, GO's expansion and future RER service requires construction of a new train station and a new train layover facility in nearby Stoney Creek. Located adjacent to the heritage CN Railway station, the new James Street North GO Station will provide trains with easier access to Hamilton and provide a jumping-off point for a future extension of the service into Niagara. To be completed in time for the 2015 Pan Am and Para Pan Am games, construction is well underway as crews first lower the corridor elevation and then build the station.
In Missisauga, Phase 1 of the new Transitway bus corridor between the City Centre terminal and Dixie Road is nearing completion, with work already underway on Phase 2 extensions to the east and to the west. The Transitway will cut travel times for east-well travel in Mississauga by moving a number of services on to this dedicated roadway with no traffic jams.
On the west side of Mississauga, excavation and foundation work are well underway for Winston Churchill and Erin Mills stations as part of the Transitway's Phase 2 expansion, scheduled to open in 2016.
At Square One, GO Transit is upgrading their facility with a new terminal building. When completed, GO transit and local MiWay buses will use the corridor as part of a GTHA-wide dedicated bus corridor.
The last station of the Transitway to open will be Renforth Gateway at the eastern tip of the project. Scheduled to open in 2017, it will link the Transitway to a possible future extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and transit services to Pearson Airport.
UrbanToronto will return for a closer look at the new Mississauga Transitway when Phase 1 opens this November.
North of Toronto, completion of the new East Gwillimbury GO Bus Maintenance Facility provides extra storage and maintenance space while boosting service capacity in communities north of Toronto. Along the Richmond Hill GO Train Line, Metrolinx is constructing a new layover facility for increased future train service and capacity on the line.
To the east in Pickering, Metrolinx is constructing a new maintenance and storage facility for its expanding GO Train fleet. The East Rail Maintenance Facility is critical for the expansion of the RER and GO train services. Currently all maintenance and servicing is done at the Willowbrook Facility in South Etobicoke, however the new ERMF will double the number of facilities and provide new capacity and improved redundancies for GO Transit's rail network.
With transit at the top of provincial political priorities, we can expect the GTHA to experience a transit paradigm shift over the next several years. As it does, UrbanToronto will keep you up to date on the latest developments and details.
You may leave a comment below to let us know what you think of our regional transit construction frenzy, or join our Forum discussion here, or by clicking on the associated specific project links below to get in on those discussions.