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GO Transit: Service thread (including extensions)

trainfanjacob8

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I rode the first revenue westbound GO train today from Union Station to Stratford. About ten of us got off in Stratford, with the staff was giving us roses as we detrained. When the train departed, I counted about 15 passengers onboard as the train departed Stratford around ten minutes late (we stopped for a red signal at Waterloo Street in New Hamburg).
 

Urban Sky

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According to that live-tweet feed, the train departed Kitchener precisely 30 minutes late and followed the schedule of the subsequent express train (arriving Union 9:43). GO pulled another train out of the yard early to run the Kitchener-Toronto trip which arrives at 9:13, which the London train should have filled.

The GO train then arrived in Union precisely 30 minutes late from the perspective of London-Stratford passengers (on time for Kitchener-Toronto passengers), clocking in a brutal 4h23 travel time from London to Toronto (45 km/h average).
I was wondering why they didn't chose #3960 to originate in London, as it would have given much more attractive timings to leave London (05:50), St. Marys (06:43), Stratford (07:13) and to arrive in Kitchener (08:02) and Guelph (08:23). I figured as much as they wouldn't want to extend a local train (e.g. #3812), given how much people obsess about end-to-end times, but had they indeed chosen #3960, bumping the train on the next departure (Local train 3812, dep. Kitchener at 08:39) would have resulted in a arriving at Union not just 30, but 45 minutes:
1634620548178.png

Which makes you wonder at how much projected delay at Kitchener is the cut-off for sending 3960's equipment as 3760 instead...

The GO bulletin attributed this morning’s delay to interference from a freight train.

Yeah…. Even on a lightly used route.

- Paul
The majority (15 minutes) of these delays were caused by a CP train blocking the diamond in London, so unrelated with freight traffic on the Guelph Subdivision itself:

Better than that, even. When leased to GEXR, the line was in better shape. Reportedly the terms of the lease included a stipulation that CN could recoup costs from GEXR if the line was turned back in poorer shape than when leased. Apparently CN did get money back from GEXR….. but this money was not put back into the line. It was retained as earnings.
So CN apparently monetised the downgrading of the line, and has now left ML and VIA with the cost of bringing it back up to snuff.
How’s that for clever ?

- Paul
To be fair: I very much doubt it would have been easier to purchase this asset from CN, had they renewed GEXR's long-term lease in 2018...
 

crs1026

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I was wondering why they didn't chose #3960 to originate in London, as it would have given much more attractive timings to leave London (05:50), St. Marys (06:43), Stratford (07:13) and to arrive in Kitchener (08:02) and Guelph (08:23). I figured as much as they wouldn't want to extend a local train (e.g. #3812), given how much people obsess about end-to-end times, but had they indeed chosen #3960, bumping the train on the next departure (Local train 3812, dep. Kitchener at 08:39) would have resulted in a arriving at Union not just 30, but 45 minutes:

Which makes you wonder at how much projected delay at Kitchener is the cut-off for sending 3960's equipment as 3760 instead...

When the departure from London is so extremely early, it does detract from the argument that this train is about travel between points west of Toronto. Pushing the departure to align to one Kitchener departure later would improve the timing for anyone coming into Kitchener for the day.

To be fair: I very much doubt it would have been easier to purchase this asset from CN, had they renewed GEXR's long-term lease in 2018...

No doubt. But it demonstrates just how little obligation CN and CP have to maintain their network in a way that enables passenger service. It takes an old but intangible argument to a very tangible reality.... it has always been an accounting exercise to determine if a railway is spending more to maintain a line by virtue of it handling passenger service. In this case, the line was actually reduced in quality over time (albeit by neglect, rather than a business decision, perhaps) and CN harvested whatever investment might have been made in the past for passenger quality track. Perhaps that investment will be reinserted as public investment.

- Paul
 

Bordercollie

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When the departure from London is so extremely early, it does detract from the argument that this train is about travel between points west of Toronto. Pushing the departure to align to one Kitchener departure later would improve the timing for anyone coming into Kitchener for the day.



No doubt. But it demonstrates just how little obligation CN and CP have to maintain their network in a way that enables passenger service. It takes an old but intangible argument to a very tangible reality.... it has always been an accounting exercise to determine if a railway is spending more to maintain a line by virtue of it handling passenger service. In this case, the line was actually reduced in quality over time (albeit by neglect, rather than a business decision, perhaps) and CN harvested whatever investment might have been made in the past for passenger quality track. Perhaps that investment will be reinserted as public investment.

- Paul
I guess VIA has no say about how the host railway maintains the track.

Metrolinx might thou. I mean the easy thing would be just give CN some sort of provincial tax break to bring the line up to spec or something along those lines.
 

smallspy

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But a 30 minute delay is still better than VIA 84, which seems to be on track to arrive 49 minutes late today:

The train is currently sitting at Wice (Pearson Junction) presumably waiting for an UP Express train to cross. This is what happens when you enter a busy tightly-scheduled rail corridor at unplanned times.
No, this is what happens when you get an organization so focused on one, highly specific thing or metric - On-Time Performance - that everything else ends up going down the shitter.

Dan
 

rbt

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Apparently ridership for the first Toronto bound train was about 30.



Does anyone know how this compared to the first Niagara Falls weekday train? I found quotes stating that politicians onboard were pleased with the number of cars parked, but no actual number.
 

crs1026

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I guess VIA has no say about how the host railway maintains the track.

I suspect VIA had some say, in the sense that pre-1990 they likely had a service contract that laid out the right to run a certain number of trains on a certain schedule. If the railway failed to meet that contract, they could have taken action to enforce that.

The problem is that, contracts get renewed, and in the renewal negotiations the host railway can say "Hey, if you still want that quality track you're gonna have to pay more, because we aren't interesting in keeping it up that nice for our own use".

I suspect that after the 1990 cuts, VIA had no funding or support to enforce whatever contract it had - and probably had to acquiese to the deterioration of the line. Perhaps there was explicit direction from government on that point (or funding was denied, which amounts to the same thing). It's certainly clear that in YDS days, VIA proposed a more ambitious service plan, and that never was approved.

Can't blame CN for declining to invest its own funds when they have no need for a faster, higher capacity asset. I just found it interesting when you stand back and look at how things unfolded over time. They actually extracted money by downgrading the line. Ontario would have been so much better served if the line had never been downgraded.... but clearly there was no political appetite to fund the support from the public purse. Pay me now, pay me later applied. And certainly VIA had to go silently to the slaughter.

- Paul
 
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ARG1

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I was wondering why they didn't chose #3960 to originate in London, as it would have given much more attractive timings to leave London (05:50), St. Marys (06:43), Stratford (07:13) and to arrive in Kitchener (08:02) and Guelph (08:23). I figured as much as they wouldn't want to extend a local train (e.g. #3812), given how much people obsess about end-to-end times, but had they indeed chosen #3960, bumping the train on the next departure (Local train 3812, dep. Kitchener at 08:39) would have resulted in a arriving at Union not just 30, but 45 minutes:
View attachment 356547
Which makes you wonder at how much projected delay at Kitchener is the cut-off for sending 3960's equipment as 3760 instead...
When the departure from London is so extremely early, it does detract from the argument that this train is about travel between points west of Toronto. Pushing the departure to align to one Kitchener departure later would improve the timing for anyone coming into Kitchener for the day.

- Paul
Quite simple. A lot of workplaces in Kitchener begin at 8. A train arriving to Kitchener at 8:02 would be far too late for many workers in the region. If your work does start later, well there's a VIA train that arrives in Kitchener at 9:18. Really a question could be asked if 7:30 might be too late. The station is located a few blocks away from iON requiring a fairly long and uncomfortable walk (especially during the winter) and since the headways are only every 10 minutes, it really limits how far you can actually make it away from the station (bus service also isn't that great from the station).
 

Krypto98

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Apparently ridership for the first Toronto bound train was about 30.



Does anyone know how this compared to the first Niagara Falls weekday train? I found quotes stating that politicians onboard were pleased with the number of cars parked, but no actual number.
The first Niagara Weekday train had 19
 

reaperexpress

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Quite simple. A lot of workplaces in Kitchener begin at 8. A train arriving to Kitchener at 8:02 would be far too late for many workers in the region. If your work does start later, well there's a VIA train that arrives in Kitchener at 9:18. Really a question could be asked if 7:30 might be too late. The station is located a few blocks away from iON requiring a fairly long and uncomfortable walk (especially during the winter) and since the headways are only every 10 minutes, it really limits how far you can actually make it away from the station (bus service also isn't that great from the station).
If we're talking about Stratford-Kitchener, sure. But a 5:20 departure time makes the London stop completely useless since there's no transit that early, there's no free parking, there are no safe cycling routes to the station and very few people live within walking distance.
 

ARG1

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If we're talking about Stratford-Kitchener, sure. But a 5:20 departure time makes the London stop completely useless since there's no transit that early, there's no free parking, there are no safe cycling routes to the station and very few people live within walking distance.
I understand, I'm mostly referring to the logic of why it needs to reach Kitchener at that time. This setup is FAR from ideal and there are many changes that will need to be made in order to make this service far more useful to the broader public. The 2 main ones are A) Fixing up the track between London and Kitchener to allow for later departure times, and B) building the new Kitchener Central Transit Hub so that Kitchener GO has direct access to iON and other busses.
 

innsertnamehere

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If we're talking about Stratford-Kitchener, sure. But a 5:20 departure time makes the London stop completely useless since there's no transit that early, there's no free parking, there are no safe cycling routes to the station and very few people live within walking distance.
Lol nuts. The via station does have a small lot, couldn’t riders use that?
 

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