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GO Transit: Construction Projects (Metrolinx, various)

Aspirationally, I totally agree.... but I wonder whether the incremental tweaks to conflicting agendas ie frequency, and closer station spacing have muddled this.

It's a question of a) how far apart stopping trains on 15 minute headways can get before they are overtaken by a following express and b) how those third tracks are utilised to operate express trains in both directions at once. Otherwise the express will mostly happen at peak but the off peak trains will still be all-stops plodders.

Once one assumes 15 minute core 2way service, plus added stations at Caledonia, Bloor, and Liberty, a third track between Steeles and Lawrence is essential - running express all the way to Concord between stopping trains will be an exercise in catching up. The Lawrence-Steeles leg is buildable in the mid term, but interleaving two directional flow will be challenging. Very precise schedule adherence is demanded - lots of other operators achieve this, but it's a new ballgame for ML. .
I've mocked up a timetable for the track configuration where there is double track to Barrie with one 3-track segment through Rutherford and Maple stations and it already accommodates half-hourly express trains from Barrie in both directions in addition to 4 local trains per hour. You only need a single overtaking location to accommodate the difference in speed, so there's no need for a 3-track segment at Lawrence.

In this scenario I assumed that the trains to Barrie are diesel and the local trains are electric. This would be the interim condition until electrification makes it all the way to Barrie. The stopping pattern I used for Barrie trains is all stops from Barrie to Newmarket, then limited stops to Union, stopping only at Aurora and stations with a direct subway interchange. There are so many new stations that even with this limited-stop pattern, express trains only stop at one fewer station than the current local trains.

I mocked up two options for the basic off-peak service, one using the passing track and one not. If Option 2 (no scheduled overtake) is chosen, the passing track would act as a plan B in case an express train gets stuck behind a local train due to delays. For example, if the 07:00 train from Barrie gets delayed and arrives at Aurora at 07:59, it can briefly run behind the 07:56 train until Maple where it overtakes it, arriving at Downsview Park at 08:22 with a clear shot to run fast to Union.

Passing track outlined in black. Times in blue are non-stop.
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There is also the question of cash flow.... I wonder what priority ML places on a third track and express format on this line as compared to other expansion needs eg Milton, Niagara, added stations. There is only so much money. I would guess that three tracks to Barrie is still a ways down the list.

Perhaps ML has this all modelled out and it looks fine on paper....I'm still a bit dubious from here in the bleachers.
The cost of installing a third track through Rutherford and Maple is negligible given that the underlying structure is already in place - all that's missing is the track itself. There is no need to build three tracks all the way to Barrie.
 
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I've mocked up a timetable for the track configuration where there is double track to Barrie with one 3-track segment through Rutherford and Maple stations and it already accommodates half-hourly express trains from Barrie in both directions in addition to 4 local trains per hour. You only need a single overtaking location to accommodate the difference in speed, so there's no need for a 3-track segment at Lawrence.

In this scenario I assumed that the trains to Barrie are diesel and the local trains are electric. This would be the interim condition until electrification makes it all the way to Barrie. The stopping pattern I used for Barrie trains is all stops from Barrie to Newmarket, then limited stops to Union, stopping only at Aurora and stations with a direct subway interchange. There are so many new stations that even with this limited-stop pattern, express trains only stop at one fewer station than the current local trains.

I mocked up two options for the basic off-peak service, one using the passing track and one not. If Option 2 (no scheduled overtake) is chosen, the passing track would act as a plan B in case an express train gets stuck behind a local train due to delays. For example, if the 07:00 train from Barrie gets delayed and arrives at Aurora at 07:59, it can briefly run behind the 07:56 train until Maple where it overtakes it, arriving at Downsview Park at 08:22 with a clear shot to run fast to Union.

Passing track outlined in black. Times in blue are non-stop.

Awesome model. (as usual). One nitpick would be, I would assume at least two minutes between when a enters the triple track and when a following express can arrive behind it, partly to add timekeeping contingency but also to protect against lag in the signalling. But that's a minor tweak.

I have lost track - did ML decide that the turnback point for some trains would be Newmarket and not Aurora?

The cost of installing a third track through Rutherford and Maple is negligible given that the underlying structure is already in place - all that's missing is the track itself. There is no need to build three tracks all the way to Barrie.

Yes, it was really only the segment south of Lawrence that I was thinking of when I raised land costs.

There is enough work getting done at the moment that it's clear that no triple track is going in at this moment and there are places where it isn't being roughed in at all. In fact, even the doubling still seems fairly piecemeal in places. But it's cool to appreciate what may become possible down the road.

- Paul
 
Awesome model. (as usual). One nitpick would be, I would assume at least two minutes between when a enters the triple track and when a following express can arrive behind it, partly to add timekeeping contingency but also to protect against lag in the signalling. But that's a minor tweak.
I did assume at least two minutes between trains, in fact I assumed at least three. Keep in mind that the time shown for stopping trains is the departure time, so for example the train shown departing Maple at 08:04 actually arrived there at 08:02.

I have lost track - did ML decide that the turnback point for some trains would be Newmarket and not Aurora?
I'm honestly not sure where the turnback points are planned nowadays but I do recall them moving one of them to Bradford at some point.

I put the second turnback point at Mulock because it allows the Regional service to skip Mulock. If the short-turn happened at Aurora, the Regional would need to serve Mulock to meet the '15 minute service to Bradford' promise. But Aurora would definitely be an option as well, and I recall seeing some station drawings that did include a turnback track. I don't think Newmarket would be a good choice because there's no room for a third track at the station, so at that point you might as well turn back at East Gwillimbury.
Yes, it was really only the segment south of Lawrence that I was thinking of when I raised land costs.
Yeah I don't see any triple track happening south of Lawrence, not just due to space/infra constraints but also because even the express trains would presumably be making at least a few stops to connect people from the northern edges of the line to various subway services.
There is enough work getting done at the moment that it's clear that no triple track is going in at this moment and there are places where it isn't being roughed in at all. In fact, even the doubling still seems fairly piecemeal in places. But it's cool to appreciate what may become possible down the road.
Yeah for sure. This is not a 'current track construction' kind of scenario it's just a 'sanity-check of future-proofing' scenario. I was just confirming that it's not crazy to have omitted the provisions for third track at Snider Diamond and Davenport Diamond, while still future-proofing for triple track at Downsview Park, Maple, and Rutherford stations. Based on this timetable, triple tracking King City would also make the overtake more reliable, so ideally that should be future-proofed as well as part of the current second platform construction, just as it was at Rutherford and Maple.

The current track construction goal should be (and presumably is) to get full double track to Aurora with intermittent passing tracks every 15 minutes along the line further north, which would allow half-hourly local service to Aurora and hourly off-peak express to Barrie, increasing to half-hourly during peak periods. Then my priority would be to extend the double track further northward until Bradford. It would be at least a decade before it's time to come back and install an overtaking segment south of Aurora.
 
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Current state of the Burloak grade separation. This is west of Burloak but both sides are at the same stage. I'm guessing the upcoming weekend closures will really move this forward?

View attachment 568652
There is an upcoming 10-day closure of Burloak, which I hope they get tons of work done during. Notice here.
 
Entirely fair in this instance, but the general state of trackbed in the GTA (and across the Canadian network in general) is dismal. I get it's not sexy, but if we care *at all* about ride quality, it's something that needs to be attacked and brought up to standard ASAP.
 
Entirely fair in this instance, but the general state of trackbed in the GTA (and across the Canadian network in general) is dismal. I get it's not sexy, but if we care *at all* about ride quality, it's something that needs to be attacked and brought up to standard ASAP.
You should ride on the CN Newmarket at some point... with the amount of air time you get it makes pretty much every metrolinx track look like the smoothest ride ever
 
You should ride on the CN Newmarket at some point... with the amount of air time you get it makes pretty much every metrolinx track look like the smoothest ride ever
I used to ride old steel VIA cars on the bolted rails on the Guelph sub west of Kitchener every few weeks. Anything is better than that.

I haven't ridden that segment line in a few years, did they make some fixes along there as part of the GO trial to London?
 
I used to ride old steel VIA cars on the bolted rails on the Guelph sub west of Kitchener every few weeks. Anything is better than that.

I haven't ridden that segment line in a few years, did they make some fixes along there as part of the GO trial to London?
No, the track west of Kitchener is still mostly bolted rail. The only difference is now the track speed is mostly 30 mph (from 60 mph).

I remember riding VIA 85/88 from Stratford to London and back in 2008 when the speeds were faster. I agree with you, that was a rough ride at 60 mph!
 

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