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GO Transit: Service thread (including extensions)

So… not the best first day for the Barrie GO train weekend service at all.


It was seamless coming up to Aurora earlier in the morning, but now the weather was brutal for a moment and left a tree branch in the way. It was just a couple of moments south of King City and we were held back for a moment before turning back the train to the station. But for me the timing couldn’t have more luckier as I just caught a local YRT 96 bus at the on street stop, that thankfully brings me to the subway anyways (was gonna get off at Downsview Park), while everyone now waits for jam packed GO buses.
 
I don't really understand why GO has the seating arrangement it does. Surely there is some data that would show what percentage of travellers are in groups of more than 2 and they could set up less quad seating so people don't need to lock legs with each other. For long legged people the current seating is a little too intimate.

Current top floor (18 quads, 0 pairs):
S→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←S
S→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←S
Proposed top floor (6 quads, 24 pairs):
S→←←←←→→→→←←←←→→→→←S
S→←←←←→→→→←←←←→→→→←S
Current lower floor (18 quads, 2 pairs):
→←→←SSD→←→←→←→←→←DS←→←→←
→←→←→SD→←→←→←→←→←DSS→←→←
Proposed lower floor (10 quads, 18 pairs):
→→←←SSD→←←→→←←→→←DS←→→←←
→→←←→SD→←←→→←←→→←DSS→→←←

Important to add, there needs to be adequate space for those w/strollers, mobility aids and/or bicycles on every train/car; and loading standards need to reflect this.

This is a real issue for the TTC who, as example, state that a fully seated load is reasonable for an off-peak bus, but they count those seats that are removed when someone using a mobility aid boards; nor do the factor in the room a typical stroller consumes and the impediment to standing room and boarding times.

On buses I strongly advocate for a fully seated load - minus 4 to reflect two sets of seats being up.

I also think its important to move from the style where the entire bench goes up/down, to individual seats, so that a parent can sit beside a stroller.

I'm not sure what load-factor GO uses in its calculations, but it certainly needs to reflect the above.
 
Presto already feeds them that data; data they've been wilfully ignoring, the same way the TTC does.

That's why I noted the value in embarrassing them publicly.

I always prefer to be constructive privately, but if that doesn't work...........
Not neccesairly. With the Niagara train, a lot people could be paying by using the weekend pass.
 
I really wished the frequency was greater.
Yep. I went to the US to pick up some online orders. I got to the customs agent on my bike at 3:10 and thought, there's no way in hell I'm making the 3:15 train. Biked like crazy and made it to the station at 3:16...no train on the platform! Turns out it was even later than the morning train and we're still sitting on the platform. I wouldn't have to worry about train timings so much if it was an hourly train.
 
Yep. I went to the US to pick up some online orders. I got to the customs agent on my bike at 3:10 and thought, there's no way in hell I'm making the 3:15 train. Biked like crazy and made it to the station at 3:16...no train on the platform! Turns out it was even later than the morning train and we're still sitting on the platform. I wouldn't have to worry about train timings so much if it was an hourly train.

Off topic question. When you cross the border with your bike, do you cross as a vehicle or a pedestrian walking over? I've been thinking about doing a bike ride in Buffalo but have no idea how to get my bike over without a car.
 
Off topic question. When you cross the border with your bike, do you cross as a vehicle or a pedestrian walking over? I've been thinking about doing a bike ride in Buffalo but have no idea how to get my bike over without a car.
Vehicle. There are gates and a turnstyle that prevent you from using the pedestrian crossing, at Rainbow at least.
 
I really wished the frequency was greater.
I get that they can’t provide that much train service but they should at least let the express bus (12B) run again at all times, and also extend it to Dundas/407 so it could have a connection to the 40 bus that goes to Sq One and the Airport and is 24/7 unlike the trains at Burlington, and seamlessly would reach a whole new section of the GTA. The fact that they haven’t thought about that speaks volumes to their thought processes.
 
I get that they can’t provide that much train service but they should at least let the express bus (12B) run again at all times, and also extend it to Dundas/407 so it could have a connection to the 40 bus that goes to Sq One and the Airport and is 24/7 unlike the trains at Burlington, and seamlessly would reach a whole new section of the GTA. The fact that they haven’t thought about that speaks volumes to their thought processes.
I mean they could start by at least matching the service level they provided last year. 3 round trips now vs 4 trips last year is honestly silly.
 
I don't really understand why GO has the seating arrangement it does. Surely there is some data that would show what percentage of travellers are in groups of more than 2 and they could set up less quad seating so people don't need to lock legs with each other. For long legged people the current seating is a little too intimate.

Current top floor (18 quads, 0 pairs):
S→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←S
S→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←S
Proposed top floor (6 quads, 24 pairs):
S→←←←←→→→→←←←←→→→→←S
S→←←←←→→→→←←←←→→→→←S
Current lower floor (18 quads, 2 pairs):
→←→←SSD→←→←→←→←→←DS←→←→←
→←→←→SD→←→←→←→←→←DSS→←→←
Proposed lower floor (10 quads, 18 pairs):
→→←←SSD→←←→→←←→→←DS←→→←←
→→←←→SD→←←→→←←→→←DSS→→←←
Dutch intercity trains have the same general layout as GO trains, with a "quiet zone" upstairs, and a "social zone" on the middle and lower levels. In the Quiet Zone (a.k.a. upstairs), there are almost entirely pairs of seats. There's no particular need for quads, because if people are travelling in a group, they will want to chat, and should sit in the social zone downstairs. And if people aren't travelling in a group, they'd rather have extra legroom, a seatback tray table and not awkwardly face a stranger.

This helps passively enforce the different zones of the train by leveraging the preferences of different groups of travellers. The zones themelves help people have the train experience they prefer, whether that be fun and social or quiet and relaxing.

Video I made on this topic, already posted here a few times (so if you think you've already seen it, you probably have)

So here's my take:
Current top floor (18 quads, 0 pairs):
S→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←S
S→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←→←S
Proposed top floor (2 quads, 32 pairs):
S→→→→→→→→→←←←←←←←←←S
S→→→→→→→→→←←←←←←←←←S

Current lower floor (18 quads, 2 pairs):
→←→←SSD→←→←→←→←→←DS←→←→←
→←→←→SD→←→←→←→←→←DSS→←→←
Proposed lower floor (no change)
→←→←SSD→←→←→←→←→←DS←→←→←
→←→←→SD→←→←→←→←→←DSS→←→←
 
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Vehicle. There are gates and a turnstyle that prevent you from using the pedestrian crossing, at Rainbow at least.

Rainbow, you cross as a vehicle - I’ve done it, it’s not too bad. On the Peace Bridge, you’re expected to walk your bike on the sidewalk.

Bicycles are also permitted on the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, but I wouldn’t do it, as that’s a major truck route.
 
Also, can we take a moment to note that GO is easily filling 12-car double-decker trains on a weekend. There are very few cities in North America - or even in Europe - which can do that, even with bargain-basement pricing like GO's weekend passes.

If European rail operators insisted on filling a 12-car double-decker train before increasing service, they wouldn't have frequent service either.
AMA tweeted that there were 3 bike coaches in the consist. One of the things to bear in mind is that additional frequencies to Niagara may depend on Welland Canal slots, and where and when trains can pass east of Hamilton.
 
....One of the things to bear in mind is that additional frequencies to Niagara may depend on Welland Canal slots, and where and when trains can pass east of Hamilton.

Yes, but they previously had one more frequency than what they are currently running, so that one should be an easy add-back.

Given that the canal must allocate some time for trains to be early/late, its also possible they could double-pump the most popular run of the day (run two trains in close succession through the same time allocation over the canal.)

The option would also exist in that case to serve an alternate station set with only Niagara and Union being kept in common.
 
Given that the canal must allocate some time for trains to be early/late, its also possible they could double-pump the most popular run of the day (run two trains in close succession through the same time allocation over the canal.)
I'm not sure if the current track would make it possible to do this. The station area isn't double tracked so Train 1 would need to come in, unload, load, leave, and travel a fair distance to reach the double track where Train 2 could then come into the station (which defeats the whole purpose of the trains running close together).

The alternate I guess would be Train 1 parks partially on the bridge crossing to the USA after unloading to allow Train 2 to come into the station but I somehow doubt the border agencies would allow that.

EDIT: Looks like the station area does actually have a second track but it's very overgrown and doesn't have platform that passengers could use. I guess with some refurb and money Metrolinx could make your idea happen...but this is Metrolinx we're talking about so no way they spend a penny on the Niagara station.
 
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AMA tweeted that there were 3 bike coaches in the consist.
A typical 12-car GO train has around 1800 seats. In a bicycle coach, the 8 quads (32 seats) on the lower level are removed in favour of bicycle racks. So a 12-car train including 3 bicycle coaches has around 1700 seats.

One of the things to bear in mind is that additional frequencies to Niagara may depend on Welland Canal slots, and where and when trains can pass east of Hamilton.
The Welland canal is certainly a limitation, though I'm not sure exactly how it works. Does Metrolinx pay the St Lawrence Seaway Authority for each bridge lowering?

There is actually a fairly large amount of double track east of Hamilton, but the main problem is that St. Catharines station only has a platform on the north track and I don't think there's anywhere within that double-tracked segment where trains can cross over to serve the platform. So that 22km double-tracked segment is unavailable for passenger trains.

Existing double track shown in green
Capture2.JPG


If there were a second platform at St Catharines station, or even just a crossover just east of St Catharines station, they could run hourly service with the existing track configuration. And they could time the trains to cross the canal simultaneously, to reduce the number of bridge lowerings required.

In the absence of a second platform at St. Catharines, frequency is limited to the time it takes to do a round trip from Grimsby to Niagara, which is:
45 min Grimsby - Niagara Falls
15+ min terminal time
45 min Niagara Falls - Grimsby
= 1h45 minimum headway

So they could run a 2 hour headway with up to 30 minute dwell in Niagara Falls.
 
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