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GO Transit: Service thread (including extensions)

gweed123

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People need to realize that at some point, travel times become so long that people do not see the value in taking it. That is likely what is happening with the London GO Trains.

Niagara is the lone exception as it is a tourist draw of its own right and having direct service to and from Toronto is a win-win. Other than University Students, who would willingly sit on a train for 2 or more hours heading to London?

As was said here several times, if GO wants to do long haul service they need to services and comforts to go along with it. They will eventually need more comfortable seating with tables and snacks. Can you imagine taking a GO train to Ottawa?
Exactly. If GO is going to operate more long-haul services, they need rolling stock that is a hybrid between their existing bi-levels and the coaches VIA offers. More comfortable seats, smaller vehicles, and maybe some food options (but not full service like VIA offers).

Personally, I think there should be 3 "tiers" of GO service:

1) RER for the Metro GTHA, using electrified vehicles running at high frequencies
2) "Classic" GO to the areas a little bit further out (Hamilton, Bowmanville, Kitchener), as well as for additional rush hour capacity and express trains
3) A GO/VIA hybrid service for those 2+ hour long trips to other metropolitan centres (London, Niagara Falls, Peterborough)
 

reaperexpress

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We've had a discussion here about that several times in the last few weeks.

The answer remains that this isn't for people coming from London to Union station - who'd obviously be taking VIA. It's for people from London to Kitchener. Or St. Marys to Guelph (which aren't as uncommon as you'd think given the regional hospital system there ... it's not unusual for Guelph residents to be shipped to London for some treatments, and even to St. Thomas). Or Stratford to Toronto.

Although the 4-hour travel time to Toronto is largely irrelevant since the service is primarily intended for regional trips within the corridor, the 2h12 travel time to cover just 94km from London to Kitchener is very relevant. GO might have been able to find customers for such a service if the alternative were the gridlock heading in and out of Toronto at rush hour, but there is no way they will attract any significant ridership with such slow service in southwestern Ontario where the roads are much less congested. For reference, the Toronto - Kitchener segment is 1h41 for 103 km, with 6 intermediate stops compared to 2.

There is absolutely no correlation between the level of ridership attracted by this "pilot" service and the level of ridership which would be attracted by a service with reasonable speed and frequency. As others have alluded to, the people who do choose to take the pathetic service GO currently offers west of Kitchener are outliers. You cannot determine the shape of a distribution based on outliers.
 
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ssiguy2

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Out of the 494,064 people living within the London CMA, how many have commented on that article and why would such a small sample size be representative? People who hate something complain in the comment section of local newspapers, those who see the value of something start using it…

There are 435,000 in the city alone and 560,000 in the metro area and London is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

You are quite correct that some will always bitch and that "those who see value of something will start to use it"...................with just 30 riders a day, clearly Londoners have made their decision and see no value in it.
 

ssiguy2

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^^ How dare you!

Didn't you know that London has absolutely no services at all? Hell, Londoners should consider themselves lucky just to find a loaf of bread without having to make their way to the glorious GTA.

Londoners will NEVER embrace this service because it a shockingly poor {and nearly non-existent} one. Facts speak for themselves..........currently only 0.008% of Londoners are boarding this train everyday. This is why Londoners don't see this as a preliminary service of what is to come but rather a political move by GO & QP to prove that the service is not sustainable and hence give up the entire exercise but being able to say they gave it a try and it's lack of success is all Londoner's fault.
 

Urban Sky

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There are 435,000 in the city alone and 560,000 in the metro area and London is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

You are quite correct that some will always bitch and that "those who see value of something will start to use it"...................with just 30 riders a day, clearly Londoners have made their decision and see no value in it.
Since you never have the courtesy of acknowledging and responding to viewpoints which you happen to not agree with, I'll just dump the comment just above yours', since it says everything which has to be said to it:
Although the 4-hour travel time to Toronto is largely irrelevant since the service is primarily intended for regional trips within the corridor, the 2h12 travel time to cover just 94km from London to Kitchener is very relevant. GO might have been able to find customers for such a service if the alternative were the gridlock heading in and out of Toronto at rush hour, but there is no way they will attract any significant ridership with such slow service in southwestern Ontario where the roads are much less congested. For reference, the Toronto - Kitchener segment is 1h41 for 103 km, with double the number of stops.

There is absolutely no correlation between the level of ridership attracted by this "pilot" service and the level of ridership which would be attracted by a service with reasonable speed and frequency. As others have alluded to, the people who do choose to take the pathetic service GO currently offers west of Kitchener are outliers. You cannot determine the shape of a distribution based on outliers.


^^ How dare you!

Didn't you know that London has absolutely no services at all? Hell, Londoners should consider themselves lucky just to find a loaf of bread without having to make their way to the glorious GTA.

Londoners will NEVER embrace this service because it a shockingly poor {and nearly non-existent} one. Facts speak for themselves..........currently only 0.008% of Londoners are boarding this train everyday. This is why Londoners don't see this as a preliminary service of what is to come but rather a political move by GO & QP to prove that the service is not sustainable and hence give up the entire exercise but being able to say they gave it a try and it's lack of success is all Londoner's fault.
Yawn, how often do we have to go through this? Nobody forces Londoners to take this service rather than just make do with the other services and modes they are already offered. However, turning down a sub-standard service (as in demanding that such service is terminated, as you seem to suggest) is more likely to delay than accelerate the arrival of an improved service, which better corresponds with the needs of the people living in glorious London (or having to got there). I've never lived in the GTHA, but I believe I would rather want to live in a city which has asked GO to improve rather than terminate the service it receives...
 

reaperexpress

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Yawn, how often do we have to go through this? Nobody forces Londoners to take this service rather than just make do with the other services and modes they are already offered. However, turning down a sub-standard service (as in demanding that such service is terminated, as you seem to suggest) is more likely to delay than accelerate the arrival of an improved service, which better corresponds with the needs of the people living in glorious London (or having to got there). I've never lived in the GTHA, but I believe I would rather want to live in a city which has asked GO to improve rather than terminate the service it receives...
I can't believe I'm going to support ssiguy2 on something but here goes...

I too have suggested that the current useless train service temporarily be terminated, because a bus route would provide faster and more frequent service for the same operating cost. And this is precisely because I want the train service to be improved. Temporarily reducing service on the railway facilitates construction on upgrades which would allow a useful train service to be operated.

Furthermore, the current service can actually reduce the likelihood of ever getting decent train service along the line because the lack of ridership gives the general public the false impression that there is no underlying demand for rail travel between London and Kitchener and creates a political obstacle to investment in the corridor.
 
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crs1026

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Furthermore, the current service can actually reduce the likelihood of ever getting decent train service along the line because the lack of ridership gives the general public the false impression that there is no underlying demand for rail travel between London and Kitchener and creates a political obstacle to investment in the corridor.

Exactly. Any pilot project requires a set of test conditions that have sufficient validity to form the basis for projections and cost/benefit statements.

There has to be some air in the tires before one test drives the car. In this case, Ontario hasn’t even put tires on the car.

- Paul
 

anb

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I can't believe I'm going to support ssiguy2 on something but here goes...

I too have suggested that the current useless train service temporarily be terminated, because a bus route would provide faster and more frequent service for the same operating cost. And this is precisely because I want the train service to be improved. Temporarily reducing service on the railway facilitates construction on upgrades which would allow a useful train service to be operated.

Furthermore, the current service can actually reduce the likelihood of ever getting decent train service along the line because the lack of ridership gives the general public the false impression that there is no underlying demand for rail travel between London and Kitchener and creates a political obstacle to investment in the corridor.
I agree that buses are probably the best option. There isn't much traffic affecting the Kitchener-London travel and there are a lot of different routes just in case the highway gets backed up or shut down for some reason, or in this case if a section of the rail corridor gets destroyed or backed up. I would make 2 routes, one that goes to Kitchener, and one that goes to Aldershot, both providing a feeder option for the Universities and Offices at these locations. Of course the latter option would be the most ideal and recommended route to get to Toronto so this route should be more frequent in that case. Once we get a proper consistent ridership going on with these buses, in the meantime they could be working on the train infrastructure and when it gets sufficient enough that the travel times would compliment and surpass the bus+train combo, then it would be a great idea to reintroduce the direct GO train service to/from London.
 

Urban Sky

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And yet the feds have purchased CN's Chatham to Windsor line.
Just to provide a comparison with the other Subdivisions VIA owns (I'm deliberately ignoring the small sections in Quebec City and Niagara Falls), the Chatham Subdivision supports twice as many trains and 2.3 times as many passengers per route-km and the Ottawa branch supports 3-5 times as many trains and 3.5 times as many passengers per route-km:

SubdivisionsLengthPassengers at Stations dependent on this Subdivision (2018 figures provided by VIA)Passengers per route-kmTrains per day (pre-Covid)
Alexandria
Beachburg
Smiths Falls
Brockville
187.4 km (116.43 miles)1,481,105
  • OTTW: 1,195,495 [3rd Rank in Corridor]
  • FALL: 233,893 [8th]
  • SMTF: 29,870 [27th]
  • ALEX: 18,608 [31st]
  • CSLM: 3,239 [40th]
7,9046 (MTRL-OTTW)
10 (OTTW-TRTO)
Chatham (Bloomfield to Windsor)67.1 km (41.7 miles)343,586
  • WDON: 268,543 [7th]
  • CHAT: 70,472 [16th]
  • GLNC: 4,751 [37th]
5,1204 (TRTO-WDON)
Guelph (Kitchener to London Jct.)88.2 km (54.8 miles)196,496
  • KITC: 80,980 [15th]
  • GUEL: 47,951 [21st]
  • STRF: 40,196 [25th]
  • BRMP: 15,008 [33rd]
  • SMYS: 6,623 [35th]
  • GEOG: 4,762 [36th]
  • MALT: 976 [48th]
2,2282 (TRTO-LNDN/SARN)

But more importantly: the VIA-owned section of the Chatham Subdivision no longer appears in CN's Three Year Rail Network Plan, which suggests that CN had announced its intention to discontinue that segment, which forced VIA to buy it, in order to preserve this final piece of the Quebec-Windsor Corridor. Conversely, I struggle to imagine that CN would have terminated its lease with the GEXR (thus ending a stream of lease payments) if it intended to discontinue the Western half of the Guelph Sub...

Hence why so many of us are musing about Metrolinx or VIA purchasing the Kitchener-London corridor...
I can't believe I'm going to support ssiguy2 on something but here goes...

I too have suggested that the current useless train service temporarily be terminated, because a bus route would provide faster and more frequent service for the same operating cost. [...]

Furthermore, the current service can actually reduce the likelihood of ever getting decent train service along the line because the lack of ridership gives the general public the false impression that there is no underlying demand for rail travel between London and Kitchener and creates a political obstacle to investment in the corridor.
Let's just take a break for a second: are you telling me that you really believe that Metrolinx would have ever received the funds to purchase almost a hundred kilometers of CN mainline without having operated a single revenue train over it? This is not to deny that Metrolinx would have taken less avoidable risks if they had at least waited until some (not even: additional, but: any) sidings were built between Kitchener and Georgetown, but in the end, there can only be one criterion on which we can judge the wisdom of the decision to go ahead now, even if that means (for now) a 5:20 departure out of London: if it indeed fails (as you seem to suggest) to survive the trial period, it would have been a reckless suicidal mission, but if it becomes permanent, won't you join me in applauding their bold decision?

And this is precisely because I want the train service to be improved. Temporarily reducing service on the railway facilitates construction on upgrades which would allow a useful train service to be operated.
If you had been within the country this year, you could have enjoyed the entire CN freight bypass around Toronto while taking VIA trains, thanks to various diversions of the Toronto-Kitchener-London/Sarnia service (via Newmarket Sub and York/Halton Sub), Toronto-Brantford-London/Windsor service (via Weston/Halton Sub) and Toronto-Kingston/Ottawa/Montreal (via Bala and York Sub). I struggle to believe that you don't know what happens when extensive infrastructure work is required for speed upgrades: trains get diverted or cancelled so that construction work can be performed unimpeded by passenger rail movements, as it's no different in the Netherlands: for a change of scenery between Utrecht and Cologne, just hop on any ICE train either next week, on weekends between February 19th and April 3rd, on weekdays between March 7th and 18th or any day between August 27th and September 9th and you will be able to enjoy the back country lines via s'-Hertogenbosh-Eindhoven-Venlo-Mönchengladbach rather than Arnhem-Oberhausen-Duisburg-Düsseldorf:

1638845022710.png

Source: Fernbusliniennetz.de


Maybe there is no daily commuter demographic between Toronto and London.
The problem is not that Toronto-London isn't a commutable distance: Thousands of Germans commute daily or multiple days per week to Frankfurt from similar distances as London-Toronto; however, they of course chose intercity trains and definitely not regional trains:
CityDistance (Euclidean distance) from FrankfurtTypical travel time: intercity trainTypical travel time: regional trains
Kassel145 km1:23h (e.g. dep. 07:37, arr. 09:00)2:26h (e.g. dep. 06:13, arr. 08:39)
Köln (Cologne)152 km1:08h (e.g. dep. 08:23, arr. 09:31)3:40h (e.g. dep. 04:55, arr. 08:36, with change in Koblenz [06:34/52])
Stuttgart152 km1:18h (e.g. dep. 06:50, arr. 08:08)3:16h (e.g. dep. 05:29, arr. 08:45, with changes in Karlsruhe-Durlach [06:20/28] and Mannheim Hbf [07:29/35])
Saarbrücken154 km2:28h (e.g. dep. 06:28, arr. 08:56)3:04h (e.g. dep. 05:45, arr. 08:49)
London, ON168 km from Toronto2:10h (dep. 06:30, arr. 08:40)3:53h (dep. 05:20, arr. 09:13)
Nürnberg (Nuremberg)189 km2:02h (e.g. dep. 07:02, arr. 09:04)3:59h (e.g. dep. 04:28, arr. 08:27, with change in Würzburg [05:48/06:37])

Yep, commuting with regional trains from Cologne is even slower than from London to Toronto (41.5 km/h vs. 43.3 km/h, when using Euclidean distance)...

It may come as a surprise to some but people can live complete and fulfilling lives outside of the GTA.
One probably doesn’t even need to enjoy the fantastic quality of life and affordability of Montreal, while receiving a Toronto-salary funded by all of you wonderful Ontarian taxpayers, to still believe you… :p
 
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Deadpool X

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^^ How dare you!

Didn't you know that London has absolutely no services at all? Hell, Londoners should consider themselves lucky just to find a loaf of bread without having to make their way to the glorious GTA.

Londoners will NEVER embrace this service because it a shockingly poor {and nearly non-existent} one. Facts speak for themselves..........currently only 0.008% of Londoners are boarding this train everyday. This is why Londoners don't see this as a preliminary service of what is to come but rather a political move by GO & QP to prove that the service is not sustainable and hence give up the entire exercise but being able to say they gave it a try and it's lack of success is all Londoner's fault.
I am surprised to see how GO's poor planning becomes anti-Toronto rant.
 

nfitz

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But more importantly: the VIA-owned section of the Chatham Subdivision no longer appears in CN's Three Year Rail Network Plan, which suggests that CN had announced its intention to discontinue that segment, which forced VIA to buy it, in order to preserve this final piece of the Quebec-Windsor Corridor. Conversely, I struggle to imagine that CN would have terminated its lease with the GEXR (thus ending a stream of lease payments) if it intended to discontinue the Western half of the Guelph Sub...
I thought VIA had owned the Windsor to Chatham track for years.

Is there a good CN sub map anywhere? I don't know them all - particularly in southwestern Ontario.

I'm not sure why there's no indication of CN of still using most of the Guelph sub, other than a kilometre here and there. Have they discontinued freight on the GO sub to Kitchener?
 

Urban Sky

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I thought VIA had owned the Windsor to Chatham track for years.
This webpage suggests that VIA bought it no later than December 2007, but its absence in CN’s most recent Triennial Plan suggests that CN either didn’t retain any trackage rights (as they did on the Alexandria and Beachburg Subdivisions) or that they discontinued them in the meanwhile:

Is there a good CN sub map anywhere? I don't know them all - particularly in southwestern Ontario.
The RAC Online Map should do for most purposes, but you can always cross-reference with CN’s triennial plan I linked in my last post to verify if CN plans to keep them. If you require more details, the Trackside Guide is always an extensive and dependable source…

I'm not sure why there's no indication of CN of still using most of the Guelph sub, other than a kilometre here and there. Have they discontinued freight on the GO sub to Kitchener?
This webpage mentions daily GEXR freight trains:
 
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nfitz

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The RAC Online Map should do for most purposes, but you can always cross-reference with CN’s triennial plan I linked in my last post to verify if CN plans to keep them. If you require more details, the Trackside Guide is always an extensive and dependable source…
Yes, the RAC map is invaluable - but I didn't realize it turned on subdivision names. How does one do that?

This webpage mentions daily GEXR freight trains:
I meant why isn't it in CNs 3-year plan? If Chatham to Windsor not being in the 3-year plan means that CN doesn't hold any trackage rights, doesn't that mean the absence of almost all of the Guelph sub also means that CN doesn't hold any trackage rights? (and as far as I know, CN still runs some freight from Silver to London - I've certainly watched many a train going through Acton - though I've not been there much since Covid started.)
 
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Urban Sky

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Yes, the RAC map is invaluable - but I didn't realize it turned on subdivision names. How does one do that?
By clicking on any of the lines representing tracks:
86C1A66E-8985-49CE-A73D-4B5C931C9505.jpeg

I meant why isn't it in CNs 3-year plan? If Chatham to Windsor not being in the 3-year plan means that CN doesn't hold any trackage rights, doesn't that mean the absence of almost all of the Guelph sub also means that CN doesn't hold any trackage rights? (and as far as I know, CN still runs some freight from Silver to London - I've certainly watched many a train going through Acton - though not since Covid started.)
You would have to ask that CN, but their trackage rights on VIA’s Alexandria and Beachburg Subdivisions are included in that plan - together with their intention to abandon them West of Glen Robertson…
 
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