Funnily enough Belleville is about the same distance as London is to Toronto. I dreamed of a GO line going to maybe Coburg one day which would honestly be reasonable in the future so to see Belleville or even a long stretch, but Kingston in the mix wouldn't be as surprising anymore. Thankfully there is more than enough decent Via service going to those places and that's all we need for now.
I have to admit that I was about to dismiss the idea as unrealistic, but Newcastle (pop. 10k) and Brighton (pop. 6k) might be stations which could be served by one or two peak-hour GO trains running all-stop (at least East of Oshawa) from Belleville to Toronto, allowing the commuter-hour VIA trains to just stop at Cobourg and Ottawa west of Belleville. However, I don't see GO taking over the Lakeshore service from VIA, as they would either have to serve all the way to Ottawa/Montreal or destroy connectivity between places like Belleville and Cobourg with Ottawa/Montreal...Assuming HFR it might actually make sense IMO. There's a hell of a lot more demand on the Toronto - Kingston corridor than Kingston - Ottawa and Kingston - Montreal. Much as a I keep saying about London, something provincially driven starts to look like a reasonable approach if VIA is focusing on the end to end passengers and on a different corridor at that.
Just because a train operates four hour from-end-to-end doesn't mean it can be reasonably useful for intermediary markets and Metrolinx has made very clear that London-Toronto is not the main focus here:Right, but this service isn't Kitchener-London to be fair. It's London-Toronto, which is where all the (fair skepticism) comes from. If we go to the London Free Press website, people are talking about access to Toronto and not Kitchener. Ancedotal I know, but that's what people are hearing from the market.
Norman De Bono
Oct 14 2021
“If you focus constantly on the four-hour journey to Toronto, you’re getting only half the picture. There is a big part of this initiative that is about connecting London to intermediate stations,” Verster said.
That big green passenger rail car will also stop in St. Marys, Stratford, Kitchener and Guelph after departing London, he said.
Just to highlight that you can't just judge a train's utility by looking at the end-to-end travel time, there is ICE 1223, which originates in my birth city of Darmstadt every morning and terminates in Munich 8:21 hours later. However, if you wait some 2 hours longer, you can get to Munich almost 5 hours faster (i.e. in 3:32 hours), because the two cities are just 288 km ("as the crow flies") apart:
Source: Fernbahn.de timetable database
You don't have to take ICE 1223 all the way from Darmstadt to Munich to realize that this certainly isn't its purpose, but with its 22 stops, it serves 230 ([22*21/2]-1) other O-Ds (many of which with highly attractive travel times):
Not the 11:04 and 12:04 trains, which appeared in the screenshot @nfitz posted (here the previous schedule, effective 2021-09-04, which shows the same trains which the 2021-10-16 he posted showed):The 30 minute counter peak was part of the September updates. I saw quite a few people getting off at bramalea in the morning so I wouldn't be surprised if they made it all day