Regular commuters on GO Transit's Barrie line can take advantage of weekend train service, starting New Year's Eve, Saturday, December 31.
During an event Monday morning at Barrie South GO Station, Ontario's Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, announced the new year-round service Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, Barrie MPP Anne Hoggarth and Metrolinx chief executive officer Bruce McCuaig joined Minister Del Duca at the event.
Mayor Jeff Lehman, Minister Del Duca, MPP Ann Hoggarth, CEO Bruce McCuaig, image, Metrolinx
Trains will operate along the line in both directions every 75 minutes between Aurora GO Station and Union Station throughout the day Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Three trains will also operate from Allandale Waterfront GO Station in central Barrie to Union weekend mornings and three trains return to Allandale evenings. GO will also extend its bus service between Barrie and Newmarket to meet the trains in Aurora.
Local community newspaper, the Barrie Advance, quoted McCuaig, with more detail about weekend train service to and from Barrie: "...trains will leave Barrie Saturdays and Sundays at 9:03 a.m., 9:47 a.m. and 11:02 a.m. and leave Union Station in Toronto at 4:28 p.m., 9:50 p.m. and 10:50 p.m." This service is similar to the weekend train service that GO has offered along the line every summer since 2012.
Meanwhile, the Government of Ontario and Metrolinx are working on a number of projects that will vastly improve service for Barrie-line passengers, as part of their plan to introduce all-day, two-way regional express service.
For example, the Barrie line will be the biggest recipient of new GO stations in a package of improvements that Metrolinx announced earlier this year.
Over the next ten years, Metrolinx will build new Barrie-line stations:
- in Innisfil, between Barrie South and Bradford GO Stations;
- on Mulock Drive in Newmarket, between Newmarket and Aurora GO Stations;
- on Kirby Road in Vaughan, between King City and Maple GO Stations;
- near Bloor Street West and Lansdowne Avenue – where commuters could connect with the TTC's line 2 subway at Lansdowne Station and, possibly, GO's Kitchener line and Union Pearson Express; and
- near Spadina Avenue and Front Street West.
At the future Downsview Park GO Station, passengers will connect with the TTC's Line 1 subway, image, Metrolinx
Separate from this bundle of stations, GO is already building a new station on the line, Downsview Park, near Sheppard Avenue West. Passengers at this station will be able to connect with the Toronto Transit Commission's extended Line 1 (Yonge – University), which the TTC is intending to open next December.
It's also planning another new station, Caledonia, at Eglinton Avenue West, to allow riders to transfer to and from the new Crosstown LRT line.
Despite vocal community opposition, Metrolinx recently received approval from Glen Murray, Ontario's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to proceed with a project to build an overpass from just north of Bloor Street West to south of Davenport Road. The structure will carry Barrie line trains over the "Davenport Diamond" – where the GO line currently crosses Canadian Pacific Railway tracks, and where east-west freight trains regularly delay GO trains.
The Province is also conducting an environmental assessment of a future bus rapid transit line paralleling Highway 407. That plan proposes a station near where the highway crosses the Barrie line in Concord – and presumes that GO is building yet another new station to permit line-to-line transfers by passengers.
When GO fully integrates regional express rail on the line, passengers boarding stations in Aurora and south can expect a GO train every 15 minutes, all-day every day, in both directions. Passengers traveling to and from stations north of Aurora will benefit from 30-minute service in the peak direction (meaning: southbound mornings and northbound afternoons) Mondays to Fridays only during rush hours. They can also enjoy hourly service at all other times of the week in both directions.
Service plan for future regional express rail on Barrie line during rush hours, image, Metrolinx
Service plan for future regional express rail on Barrie line at all other times of the week, image, Metrolinx
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