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GO Transit: Construction Projects (Metrolinx, various)

crs1026

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Is so, they missed Stouffville. I’m sure those MPPs (Unionville/Markham/Stouffville) would appreciate equal photo-op time.
I’m told that the construction schedule may have slipped. I doubt they will be saying much about this one in case someone checks against the original promise dates.

- Paul
 

Allandale25

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It's good West Harbour GO service is finally doubling, but...

Many of you long-timers already know what I write about...
....for new UrbanToronto members unfamiliar, I wrote a big article in 2015 about West Harbour GO.

The dead-end West Harbour GO problem existed since fall 2015 and still continues to exist today with no implemented solution yet:

View attachment 200922

The two possible solutions are:
(A) Either turning the dead end tracks to through tracks (some complexities but shouldn't take years)
(B) And/or putting a platform at the north edge (freight tracks used by the weekend Niagara GO train)

Whichever is faster, but neither solution appears currently under visible construction as of August 2019.

This shortsight in 2015 caused West Harbour GO to miss a stupendously massive amount of GO train service that has already been running seasonally to Niagara Falls for several years. See YouTube video of Niagara GO Train trundling past West Harbour GO without stopping -- for those who are unfamiliar with this situation.

Since 2015, more than 425 passenger-filled GO trains whooshed past Hamilton without stopping.
(all seasonal Niagara GO trains since opening in 2015, in both directions, totalled up)

This has apparently helped West Harbour GO remain a ghost station -- since I hear from more people in Hamilton has had interest in boarding those weekender midday Niagara GO trains. In some summers, there has been as many as 8 weekend trains whooshing past per weekend without stopping (4 in each direction at pretty sensible non-early times).

The opportunity to service a city (Hamilton) in the middle between Niagara & Toronto! West Harbour GO won't have significant impact to the GO timetable. The CN railyard & lake curve means GO trains are already trundling relatively slowly past West Harbour. So that is a brief deceleration, dwell, and acceleration. A very time-efficient stop! At a city in the middle of a GO route! This can be easily engineered to zero impact to Niagara timetable, thanks to efficiencies of the third track over Desjardins canal.

More people here in Hamilton (And even some in Niagara Falls wanting to visit Hamilton) -- that wanted to board those sensibly-timed that run past without stopping -- than those too-early 6:09am weekday commuter trains. This would have financed Niagara GO expansion faster.

No wonder this is now the top-upvoted question at Metrolinx Engage.
Speaking of the location...

 

Allandale25

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Latest on the Steeles grade separation construction from the eblast:
STEELES AVE GRADE SEPARATION - Retaining Wall Drilling and Enbridge Work
  • Ongoing drilling for future retaining wall along Steeles Ave between Redlea Ave and Silverstar Blvd.
  • Enbridge to install gas lines along Steeles Ave over the next 6 weeks.




STEELES AVE GRADE SEPARATION - Splendid China Mall Access
  • August 3, 2019: the eastern vehicular access to Splendid China Mall from Steeles Avenue East was permanently closed.
  • The access immediately west of the closure will remain open along with the two entrances from Redlea Avenue.





MILLIKEN GO STATION
  • Ongoing Work: South tunnel, east/northeast staircase work including backfilling, mechanical and electrical installation, and work on the elevator pits.
  • Parking Lot: Relocated accessibility parking and accessible ramp further south. Later this summer light poles will be installed.
  • Pedestrian Pathway: In July, reopened the pedestrian pathway from Steeles Ave. E. to give customers direct access to the station platform. It will stay open until the end of 2019.
  • Improvements:
    • pedestrian tunnels with elevators and stairs
    • new second track and upgrading of existing track
    • parking lot modifications
    • ancillary building; and other station access and accessibility improvements




STEELES AVE GRADE SEPARATION - Diversion Road
  • December 2019: a temporary detour road north of Steeles Ave. E. will be in place.
  • The detour is required to build the underpass and pedestrian bridge at Steeles Ave E while maintaining traffic flow.
  • Two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained throughout and provide access to Redlea Ave and Silver Star Blvd.
  • Pedestrians will travel along the temporary roadway via new, temporary pedestrian sidewalks.
  • Access to Turff Ave will be permanently closed.
  • The temporary detour will be in place until late 2020 (approximately one year).


 

mdrejhon

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I got a reply to my email inquiry, coming directly from the Niagara GO implementation office, as mayor Jim Dodati forwarded my email there:

“...Additionally (and maybe the most relevant to your point of direct Hamilton connections)we are excited that Metrolinx is constructing a connecting platform on the north side CN Mainline track at West Harbour in the fall of this year. At present, the Toronto bound trips from Niagara need to reverse on the CN Mainline track and back into the West Harbour Station – that’s like a car missing an off ramp on the QEW and having to back up with traffic flying past at 120km/hr – certainly not optimal and a primary reason why not all of the trains through Hamilton stop. Once completed, this new platform will lead to a faster trip travel time and more frequent stops at the West Harbour station. Simply put: faster into Toronto, more stops in Hamilton.
 
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Northern Light

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I got a reply to my email inquiry, coming directly from the Niagara GO implementation office, as mayor Jim Dodati forwarded my email there:

“...Additionally (and maybe the most relevant to your point of direct Hamilton connections)we are excited that Metrolinx is constructing a connecting platform on the north side CN Mainline track at West Harbour in the fall of this year. At present, the Toronto bound trips from Niagara need to reverse on the CN Mainline track and back into the West Harbour Station – that’s like a car missing an off ramp on the QEW and having to back up with traffic flying past at 120km/hr – certainly not optimal and a primary reason why not all of the trains through Hamilton stop. Once completed, this new platform will lead to a faster trip travel time and more frequent stops at the West Harbour station. Simply put: faster into Toronto, more stops in Hamilton.
Good work on your part both fishing out the info; and regularly holding them accountable for dawdling!

Of course, the down side of your effective advocacy is raised expectations, so, now, we're all waiting for you to get confirmation of 2-way, all-day to Hamilton, no later than June 2020! ;)
 
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mdrejhon

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...or accountable for dawdling...
People know me as a Metrolinx fan. Rightfully so, because previous status quo was way worse than Metrolinx -- the Transit Dark Ages from ~1995 thru ~2005. I'll step up to defend Metrolinx's very critically important existence, imperfect as they may be.

But like my big heated scorcher of a roast of the older Metrolinx GO fare machines (total piles of p** because of some minor bugs that wasted millions of dollars of commuter time) -- There are clear call outs to be made now and then.

Good work on your part both fishing out the info; and regularly holding them accountable for dawdling!

Of course, the down side of your effective advocacy is raised expectations, so, now, we're all waiting for you to get confirmation of 2-way, all-day to Hamilton, no later than June 2020! ;)
Given ramp-up requirements and budget constraints, I'd say it does get realistic 2021 or 2022. My "political analyst" mind suggests the current administration may play the allday card here before next provincial election, to pre-empt election promise opportunities early and cheaply. Regardless of party affiliation one is, it'd an obvious classic move if CN is now happy as they seem to be.

As of this year, thanks to the new third track bridge over Desjardins Canal, all prerequisites for allday West Harbour is already built. All the key checklist items of the 2011 Niagara ESR are complete. Nothing in CN freight schedule prevents reliable allday hourly 2way today. It is mainly a matter of operating budget, and politics.

Possibly the north platform will make it easier to deadhead the last late-evening offpeak trains for overnight storage at Lewis Yard, but that's not even a pre-requisite to activating hourly allday 2way, as that is only needed for the final few trains of the evening and they can back out as usual.

It is theoretically possible that until Confederation is built, then nearly all West Harbour trains will probably mainly call the north platform -- keeping the two tracks unused for a few years until a third track is built from West Harbour to Confederation (easily postponed a few years). Ironic for allday 2way service to not call the inner platforms, but at least a cheap fix is proceeding. However, if 2way is activated only to West Harbour for now, that is cheaper and can happen sooner.

Delay to 2025 would be chiefly because of CN bills(cost) and politics. But only four trains needs to deadhead to Lewis Yard at night in Grimsby) to start the next day"s service. And now Metrolinx is already paying that cost already with the service doubling at West Harbour! They can just switch direction in the West Harbour spur, just like Aldershot trains switches directions. They don't even refuel every single train every half hour at Aldershot, so just doing hourly to West Harbour (extending every other Aldershot train) means a schedule pattern probably exists that does not require refueling facilities at West Harbour in theory.

So addition of hourly trains will not create any extra deadheads on non-Metrolinx-built CN track. The biggie operating cost is the addition of 1 extra trainset, as there's not enough time margin to extend LW without an extra trainset (shining a batlight to you, @reaperexpress to visualize a theoretical timetable!)

And Metrolinx now has a dedicated track to West Harbour so they could terminus Lakeshore West at West Harbour (instead of Aldershot) at practically little extra cost. CN probably wouldn't charge much extra if they do not activate Confederation yet too. Only send peak trains (and the ones that would deadhead otherwise) to Confederation until the third track is built. That will minimize transits on non-Metrolinx-funded CN trackage. Assuming CN is giving less favourable pricing on track that Metrolinx didn't capital-fund.

So 2020 introduction finally seems feasible. Capacity is there now. It probably require one extra trainset to extend Lakeshore from Aldershot terminus to West Harbour terminus. It's just CN and politics now.

Thoughts about 2020 allday scenario, @smallspy?
 
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crs1026

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Given ramp-up requirements and budget constraints, I'd say it does get realistic 2021 or 2022. My "political analyst" mind suggests the current administration may play the allday card here before next provincial election, to pre-empt election promise opportunities early and cheaply. Regardless of party affiliation one is, it'd an obvious classic move if CN is now happy as they seem to be.

As of this year, thanks to the new third track bridge over Desjardins Canal, all prerequisites for allday West Harbour is already built. All the key checklist items of the 2011 Niagara ESR are complete. Nothing in CN freight schedule prevents reliable allday hourly 2way today.

It is theoretically possible that until Confederation is built, then nearly all West Harbour trains will probably mainly call the north platform -- keeping the two tracks unused for a few years until a third track is built from West Harbour to Confederation (easily postponed a few years).
Don’t be so sure. We don’t know whether CN still requires more work between Hamilton Jct and Bayview. That was in the plan at one point.

There is a big difference between squeezing more trains into a limited window (AM and PM peaks) versus agreeing that there will be GO trains on the track all day, every day. The Hamilton Jct area is a tricky point for freight - although there aren’t that many of them, they do require main line occupancy on both sides of West Harbour Station for periods of time. The couple of moves a day that have to climb from there up to Bayview and east to the entrance to Aldershot Yard need a straight run at the grade. RTC’s have told me that the prospect of a freight train stalling in that location is one of their more acute worries from day to day. We don’t know if that new bridge resolved all that sufficiently for CN to agree to all day service.

ML’s modus operandi of feeding us bite sized servings of news based on patchwork incremental investments, while refusing to come clean about their overall plans is a big part of the problem. This could all fall into place next year, or it could be years away. We simply don’t know.

- Paul
 

mdrejhon

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Fair counterpoints.

Right, I was so focussed south of the lake, that I just realized that there isn't a dedicated Metrolinx track between Bayview and Aldershot. So mainline transits would increase. I'm staring at the 2009-2011 Niagara documents including the Hamilton Junction Feasibility Study and the Niagara Rail Expansion ESR Figures for some hints of missing pre-requisites.

C498E062-8D81-4D3F-A831-DE70236A071C.png
 

Bureaucromancer

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ML’s modus operandi of feeding us bite sized servings of news based on patchwork incremental investments, while refusing to come clean about their overall plans is a big part of the problem. This could all fall into place next year, or it could be years away. We simply don’t know.
I'm reminded of an infuriating conversation back during the pre-UPX upgrades to Weston where somebody in service planning took great pains to emphasize that having the ability to do all day two way to Bramalea in no way shape or form meant they had any intention of doing it in the near future.
 

crs1026

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Buried in this announcement about relocating the steam locomotive that has been preserved just west of the Guelph GO Station, is a link to a Guelph City Council agenda which contains a staff report re same, which contains the following statement:.

The City of Guelph holds a land agreement with Metrolinx to use land on Farquhar Street to display Locomotive 6167. In December 2018, the City received notice of termination of the lease agreement, as Metrolinx looks to expand to the southplatform for ‘two-way-all-day’ GO Transit service. As a result, the locomotive needs to be relocated by December 2020.
The fate of the locomotive is not really the issue for this thread, although one aspect may be interesting -

Due to the construction of Guelph Central Station, in 2012 the locomotive was moved to the closest available location, just a short lift and haul over the Metrolinx railway tracks, which was the most cost effective option. A lease agreement was approved with Metrolinx, providing access to the land with the understanding that the locomotive would need to move at some point in the future to allow space for the south platform. At the time, the risks were low as expanded services were being projected to happen late in the 30-year plan for Metrolinx.
The tidbit that may be of interest here is the inference that the timing for work on 2-way service, which will need the south platform at Guelph, is timed for beyond December 2020, ie more than a year away. I doubt that the locomotive is what's determining the timing, and there is talk of things such as sidings getting started next year, but 2-way service will not come sooner than that.

It's also interesting to learn that as of 2012 there was no apparent intent to expand service to Guelph or Kitchener. That despite the fact that the Georgetown South Project was halfway to completion in 2012.

- Paul
 

raptor

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From link:

Confederation Station
With the announcement of a market-driven approach to delivering new infrastructure across the GO Transit network, we have decided to scale back the plans for the development of Confederation station. For the time being, we are giving priority to getting more service to West Harbour, which is ready to receive more customers and underutilized.

Starting November 2, the GO Bus route 12 stop currently located at Barton Street and Nash Road will move into the bus loop on the north side of the Confederation station site, off Goderich Road. Approximately 60 parking spaces will be available.
GO Bus route 12 connects Confederation station with Burlington GO Station and Dundas Street & Highway 407 Park & Ride lot to the west, and Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls to the east.

At the same time, we are moving ahead with the design and construction of a self-serve rail station for the Confederation site. This work will be tendered out later on this year.
Any further expansion of this station will be phased based on demand and ridership growth.

For more information and to sign up to our email distribution list, please email us at Confederationstation@metrolinx.com.
 

robmausser

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From link:

Confederation Station
With the announcement of a market-driven approach to delivering new infrastructure across the GO Transit network, we have decided to scale back the plans for the development of Confederation station. For the time being, we are giving priority to getting more service to West Harbour, which is ready to receive more customers and underutilized.

Starting November 2, the GO Bus route 12 stop currently located at Barton Street and Nash Road will move into the bus loop on the north side of the Confederation station site, off Goderich Road. Approximately 60 parking spaces will be available.
GO Bus route 12 connects Confederation station with Burlington GO Station and Dundas Street & Highway 407 Park & Ride lot to the west, and Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls to the east.

At the same time, we are moving ahead with the design and construction of a self-serve rail station for the Confederation site. This work will be tendered out later on this year.
Any further expansion of this station will be phased based on demand and ridership growth.

For more information and to sign up to our email distribution list, please email us at Confederationstation@metrolinx.com.
I have no problem with scaling back stations as long as they are functional and accessible. We are playing transit catch up, no more monoliths like on the Spadina Line or that Bloomington GO monster in the middle of a corn field.

That being said it sounds like the project is being delayed. Which is not good. Like I said, we are playing transit catch up. Less is more, but we need more NOW.

Its funny that the market-driven approach document mentions Smarttrack stations. Now that those are potentially fully funded by the feds and city, can Metrolinx really meddle with them? You didnt want to pay for them, said the city was on the hook. Unless the approach involves contributing funds to them, Hands off!
 

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