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GO Transit: Service thread (including extensions)

Admiral Beez

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…but it became intolerably long to get to Peterborough, and with Greyhound gone, no other carrier has yet picked up the Toronto-Peterborough market.
My kid is Trent U. and they take the GoBus to Oshawa and the GoTrain from there to Union. It works okay. But why is it scheduled to take to 2030 or longer to bring the GoTrain to Peterborough? The engineers tasked with that project may be retired before it opens. Can’t we expedite anything in this province?

 

anb

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Just realized how much easier life would be if we prioritized the CP tracks instead. Of course Downtown Hamilton is going to always be a thing that near everyone wants. I can also see Welland also being a popular destination overtime and there isn't the canal to worry about too much as the tracks tunnel under it. Then there's the location of where the tracks end up going when approaching Niagara and its near Table Rock, which is a great location for the general area. The fact that this would probably never happen at all is still disappointing.
 

LNahid2000

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Just realized how much easier life would be if we prioritized the CP tracks instead. Of course Downtown Hamilton is going to always be a thing that near everyone wants. I can also see Welland also being a popular destination overtime and there isn't the canal to worry about too much as the tracks tunnel under it. Then there's the location of where the tracks end up going when approaching Niagara and its near Table Rock, which is a great location for the general area. The fact that this would probably never happen at all is still disappointing.
Went to the Falls yesterday with a friend visiting from the US for the first time. He drove me to the train station before heading back to the US and was shocked at how far the train station was from all the attractions.

Also, the scheduling for the 12B on weekdays is awful. The trip was scheduled for 70 minutes but in reality it takes about 55-60 minutes. The schedule has the bus arrive 15 minutes before the train departs so that you spend the maximum amount of time waiting for the train. I waited 28 minutes for a train with 30 minute service...I don't get it.
 

ARG1

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My kid is Trent U. and they take the GoBus to Oshawa and the GoTrain from there to Union. It works okay. But why is it scheduled to take to 2030 or longer to bring the GoTrain to Peterborough? The engineers tasked with that project may be retired before it opens. Can’t we expedite anything in this province?

That's not the GO Train, that's VIA HFR. GO currently has no plans to bring passenger rail to Peterborough at all.

As for why it's taking until 2030 to build VIA HFR, god knows. It's important to note that the goal of VIA HFR isn't to serve Peterborough, it's to do an HSR-lite thing between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal (+ Quebec City I guess), Peterborough will just happen to be a stop along the route. Building HFR will require the electrification of the tracks between Toronto and Ottawa, as well as the reactivation of a ton of corridors between them. Why will all of this only be done by 2030? God knows, it frankly shouldn't take so long.
 

gweed123

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Just realized how much easier life would be if we prioritized the CP tracks instead. Of course Downtown Hamilton is going to always be a thing that near everyone wants. I can also see Welland also being a popular destination overtime and there isn't the canal to worry about too much as the tracks tunnel under it. Then there's the location of where the tracks end up going when approaching Niagara and its near Table Rock, which is a great location for the general area. The fact that this would probably never happen at all is still disappointing.
It's easier to get to Niagara Falls via the CP tracks, absolutely. But the reality is that most of the growth in the Niagara Region, particularly between St Catharines and the Stoney Creek border, is taking place below the escarpment. The CP route bypasses that growth area completely, as it ascends the escarpment about halfway through Stoney Creek, and passes through farmland for 95% of the route on the mountain until it hits Welland (Smithville being about the only notable town on route).

If the goal is to serve Welland, I think it would be a better option to run everything along the CN line until St Catharines, then have one branch going to Niagara Falls via the CN line, and another going to Welland via the PCHR line.
 

Admiral Beez

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..note that the goal of VIA HFR isn't to serve Peterborough, it's to do an HSR-lite thing between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal...
Ah, that explains the time lag. I would think they'd be enough traffic for a regular diesel-electric GO or Via from Peterborough to TO now. The 115/401 interchange is certainly jammed enough.
 

innsertnamehere

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Ah, that explains the time lag. I would think they'd be enough traffic for a regular diesel-electric GO or Via from Peterborough to TO now. The 115/401 interchange is certainly jammed enough.
the infrastructure isn't there for it, the rail line to Peterborough today has a 10mph slow order over most of it and there is no rail station in Peterborough.
 

lenaitch

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As for the Seaway, they can stage boat traffic for short periods, but once the bridge goes up, it will be a while before it can come down again. That really constrains any potential to run a fleet of GO/VIA trains to the Falls in the morning. I suspect the Seaway can accept one-of train passages a few times a day, but a fleet of three trains following each other on 20-30 minute headways (which is about as close as the signalling system will allow) looks to the Seaway as basically one long occupancy. They will be opposed also.
I would think staging /platooning Seaway traffic is not considered lightly. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. has to remain competitive with other forms of commercial transportation. No commercial carrier makes any money when it is 'idling', but a ship bobbing around in Lake Ontario or Erie (when traffic is held it is held both ways) waiting to transit is an expensive venture. Couple that with mass/inertia, need for anchorage, water management in the canal, etc. etc. Also, only two of the eight locks are twin, making it harder to clear bidirectional traffic.
 

crs1026

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Is replacing and reinforcing the existing track a massive ordeal and expense?

It’s not rocket science, but there are numerous steps and activities.

To make an analogy, one doesn’t simply lay asphalt on top of earth and call it a highway. There has to be an underlying structure (various layers of granular material usually, but sometimes concrete in road construction) that will bear the weight and retain its integrity in the face of water and freeze/thaw.

The Peterboro line has been downgraded and under-maintained for so long that the subgrade will need a lot of work. That includes restoring ditches and culverts to drain water. And the original subgrade was never built to the strength and stability that HFR may need.

And then there are bridges and grade crossings, and then there’s the need for a signalling/traffic control system, which must be designed from a blank sheet. And a complete replacement of track, ie rails crossties and ballast. And build sidings that are currently not there. And upgrade crossing protection.

To mix metaphors, one can’t just patch the drywall and paint. Any restoration of passenger service to Peterboro is a full teardown.

- Paul
 

crs1026

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I would think staging /platooning Seaway traffic is not considered lightly. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. has to remain competitive with other forms of commercial transportation. No commercial carrier makes any money when it is 'idling', but a ship bobbing around in Lake Ontario or Erie (when traffic is held it is held both ways) waiting to transit is an expensive venture. Couple that with mass/inertia, need for anchorage, water management in the canal, etc. etc. Also, only two of the eight locks are twin, making it harder to clear bidirectional traffic.

All very true - the hourly operating cost of a lake boat is huge.
By staging, I merely meant having a boat pause at the bridge for long enough for a train or two to pass. This does happen regularly already, in the absence of trains, just to have boats pass each other safely.
But I agree, any serious backlogging or congestion in the Canal attributable to GO service would not be acceptable.

- Paul
 

ShonTron

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I see two options for the Welland Canal bridge issue. The more expensive option is to raise the rail corridor over the canal to eliminate the lift bridge or even reduce the lift required (which would reduce the amount of time raising and lowering the deck). This would begin the ascent of the railway over the escarpment further west than where it is currently located, so it’s possible, though very expensive and probably not worth the cost if it’s only to permit somewhat more frequent GO trains.

The other option is to build a new station at Merriton, where CN used to have a stop that connected to NS&T interurbans (and later, buses). This station would be close to the Niagara Circle Route, and be a convenient transfer point for Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara College, and even Niagara Falls. Some trains could continue to Downtown NF, while others could terminate at Merriton. This would at least spread out some of the crowding.

The Merriton stop would also be useful for commuters, as the St. Catharines stop is not especially well-located and has limited parking.
 

innsertnamehere

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Luckily the Welland Canal bridge already has a decent amount of elevation over the Welland Canal due to it being on the escarpment edge and adjacent to a lock (quick measurement appears to be about 12m of clearance).

Maximum ship height on the Canal is 35.5m, so assuming we give an extra few metres of height (say 38m, which seems to align with other bridges) we would need to elevate the existing bridge by about an additional 26 metres in height. That would still require a pretty significant structure, especially on the west side of the Canal where the rail lines already slop up towards the Canal, but wouldn't be as significant as you may think.

There is space to berm most of the grade change as well from a quick glance, which should reduce costs.


Still going to be hundreds of millions of dollars, but at quick glance the project wouldn't be too much larger than the Davenport Diamond project, if anything likely a similar cost point given a less constrained construction environment and likely far less structure involved.

The Davenport Diamond contract was $175 million, for comparison.
 

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