News   Apr 23, 2024
 1.3K     4 
News   Apr 23, 2024
 503     0 
News   Apr 23, 2024
 1.2K     0 

GO Transit: Service thread (including extensions)

I think some people underestimate how much of the GO network is now owned by Metrolinx:View attachment 538288


A lot of people don't realize how much money the Liberals spent in the 2000's to make it that way as well - it's a fairly new thing that GO actually owns it's corridors. At the turn of the century GO owned almost none of it.

And if you want to see a good timeline of those transactions, just look here under the track ownership column.

Where would CN move their Hamilton yard? It's conveniently located close to their Hamilton clients. Why would the city of Hamilton want to kick out a major employer who also probably pays taxes to the municipality? Get rid of the CN yard in Hamilton and you'll probably see more trucks in the area.

That waterfront land near downtown and Transit is extremely valuable to the city and really the last industrial use on the west end of the bay. It is also a fairly small yard and a new one can likely be built nearby that is better suited to CN and their customers requirements.

Location wise, I'm not sure if they could assemble enough land in the heavier industrial areas near Stelco and Dofasco. But they could definitely assemble a good portion of industrial land to the East of the city for a land along the North side of the mainland. It looks like between Fruitland and Fifty Road they could put together a string of land to create a good sized yard to handle the needs of the industrial clients in and around Hamilton.

There's no doubt the City has wanted CN's yard gone for a long time. A couple points:
  • They have been pushing for a new yard in the Milton area (though I can't speak to the relevance to Hamilton customers)
  • There's yards at Aldershot and throughout the industrial sectors
  • With Stelco's sale and future re-use of the lands, I think there's plenty of room to negotiate a new yard, if required
 
I want to see improved passenger rail, but not at the expense of freight. There has to be a win/win solution for both passenger and freight. Demanding CN to move their Hamilton yard to make way for more passenger trains seems like it would hurt the freight network. Make it less efficient. Potentially result in more trucks on the road. Is there room for Metrolinx to build it's own dedicated tracks next to CN's west of the Burlington GO station? Can we not replicate Lakeshore East (Pickering - Oshawa) west of Burlington? It would be awesome to have some kind of "downtown - downtown" express connection between West Harbour and Toronto Union.

I don't know why there is so much focus on electrification when so much of the network still shares tracks with freight. To me it doesn't make sense to start electrifying the network until Metrolinx has more dedicated tracks. Build the freight bypasses for the Kitchener and Milton lines. Lay down dedicated tracks beside freight tracks for the Richmond Hill line and Lakeshore West, west of Burlington. What's the point of electrification if we're only going to electrify just a portion of the line? Or the fact that, as of right now, Milton will probably never see electrification.

Want improved service? Separate freight from passenger. Afterwards we electrify the network.
The problem is the cost of going from Burlington/Aldershot to Hamilton easily adds around $1B to any scheme to improve LSW. The marginal cost is just not worth it bundled into electrification- the tradeoff I suggested once was you’d perhaps have to cut all of the Stouffville Line to balance the table. You need a dedicated corridor that mostly does not fit easily, a grade separation of Bayview, and more. And I say this as a Hamiltonian that wants it quite badly- it doesn’t make sense for Metrolinx. It should certainly be next, but it is too much to sacrifice for too little in return. Hamilton’s ridership isn’t nearly as high as the rest of LSW anyhow, though we can argue that it’s because of trip types or limited service.

Edit: As for the yard issue, the definition of “close” for CN is not going to be the same as a passenger carrier. I’d wager that a new facility within 20km of the east industrial sector would be fine. It’s moreso a matter of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The yard does not need to expand, so why move? The city doesn’t have the money to pay CN to move (ie, build a new one elsewhere) because if they did they would have 30 years ago. This is a very old conversation.
 
As for the yard issue, the definition of “close” for CN is not going to be the same as a passenger carrier. I’d wager that a new facility within 20km of the east industrial sector would be fine. It’s moreso a matter of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The yard does not need to expand, so why move? The city doesn’t have the money to pay CN to move (ie, build a new one elsewhere) because if they did they would have 30 years ago. This is a very old conversation.
We're not just discussing the Hamilton yard, what about CN's Aldershot yard as well? Even though CN sold the track rights for LSW to Metrolinx, they still have customers to serve along that line. Procor, Ford Motor Co., Petrol Canada. Where would CN store these trains if they have to move their yard further away from Hamilton? Pretty sure when the Aldershot yard is full, CN has to store some of these trains in the Hamilton yard.
 
That waterfront land near downtown and Transit is extremely valuable to the city and really the last industrial use on the west end of the bay. It is also a fairly small yard and a new one can likely be built nearby that is better suited to CN and their customers requirements.

Location wise, I'm not sure if they could assemble enough land in the heavier industrial areas near Stelco and Dofasco. But they could definitely assemble a good portion of industrial land to the East of the city for a land along the North side of the mainland. It looks like between Fruitland and Fifty Road they could put together a string of land to create a good sized yard to handle the needs of the industrial clients in and around Hamilton.
With respect, I think your assertion that moving yards to an area you have designated is misplaced. The present yard serves industry centered on the Hamilton Harbour, and that access needs to continue. HOPA continues to invest in infrastructure in the harbour and projects further growth in tonnage and products. This is all ready a busy Great Lakes Port.

I am not sure of the lands you are designating for a new yard, but the idea may run into issues with protected farm lands in those areas related to the tender fruit growers. That I need to look at as I am working from memory here. I also assume somewhere there will be a budget for CN to move the yard,.

I understand that the waterfront land and access to waterfront is valuable. I get that and have argued for it elsewhere. In this case I think you also need to balance that need for these lands against the services provided to industry and employment in the immediate area, plus the greater reach of the port.
 
No unlimited money to improve current infrastructure, but unlimited money to electrify the network. Unlimited money for electric locomotives. My point being is Metrolinx should redirect funds from electrification towards more dedicated passenger tracks and infrastructure improvements. No "unlimited money" necessary.

I want to make it clear that I support electrification. But only if it offers faster trains and tangible benefits. The only argument being made for electrify trains if for the environment. Which in my mind, isn't enough of a reason to electrify.
I want to get down to the logic of your argument here. Is this based off paying for highest value projects first, as in you believe that spending $4B to get all day Milton Service is a higher value than electrification therefore it should be a priority? Or do you have some higher beliefs around service equity where by principle all GO lines need to be of similar quality.

Fact of the matter is this isn't how business decisions are made. Getting more service on the Milton Line would require tons of negotiations with CP and planning around schedule management and key rail additions, which no doubt Metrolinx is working on in the background. Meanwhile, Electrification is something that Metrolinx is able to accomplish at their own pace and on corridors they own that would result in a large amount of economic benefits. Yes, specific trips like Oshawa <--> Milton won't be great, but to suggest that because a trip like Oshawa <--> Milton is bad means that we can't improve trips like Oshawa <--> Brampton or Oshawa <--> Burlington or Oshawa <--> Barrie (lots of Bs) or even Oshawa <--> Markham is absurd. There is no reason why the rest of the GO network needs to be held back from its theoretic potential just because there's complications with 1 GO line.

Also, don't bring up the Richmond Hill Line. As someone who lived close to the Richmond Hill Line, I will tell you right now I will take an electrified and frequent Barrie Line service over improved Richmond Hill Line service any day of the week.
 
There is the not at all small matter of rolling out electrification on the basis of which facilities are available to service the equipment, and where Hydro One can most easily implement feed points, and where the substations and electrical switchyards can be placed. Hint: ML has exactly one electric-ready maintenance facility…. And it’s on a particular line….. and all the preparatory diligence and EA’s for that line are already complete.

The premise of “we should drop what we are doing and start over and do my favourite thing instead” is what has plagued GTA transportation planning for decades now. Electrification has been in the works for decades, has much design and diligence in the can, already been deferred several times so that funding could flow to other projects. Where rightly or wrongly Milton has been given lower priority in the 25-year plans, and not as much diligence and prep work has been completed. There is no EA for Milton GO 2WAD. Shall we shelve all the work we could be doing on other lines, and wait until we can complete Milton, before doing what we planned to do in the first place?

- Paul
 
Also, don't bring up the Richmond Hill Line. As someone who lived close to the Richmond Hill Line, I will tell you right now I will take an electrified and frequent Barrie Line service over improved Richmond Hill Line service any day of the week.
That's just self-defeating behaviour. If Richmond Hill had dedicated tracks and offered 2WAD service, you would still snub it because it's not electrified?
I want to get down to the logic of your argument here. Is this based off paying for highest value projects first, as in you believe that spending $4B to get all day Milton Service is a higher value than electrification therefore it should be a priority? Or do you have some higher beliefs around service equity where by principle all GO lines need to be of similar quality.
Point being, we're going to have to look at separating passenger from freight even after we electrify. So why not do it now before we electrify?

Fact of the matter is this isn't how business decisions are made. Getting more service on the Milton Line would require tons of negotiations with CP and planning around schedule management and key rail additions, which no doubt Metrolinx is working on in the background. Meanwhile, Electrification is something that Metrolinx is able to accomplish at their own pace and on corridors they own that would result in a large amount of economic benefits. Yes, specific trips like Oshawa <--> Milton won't be great, but to suggest that because a trip like Oshawa <--> Milton is bad means that we can't improve trips like Oshawa <--> Brampton or Oshawa <--> Burlington or Oshawa <--> Barrie (lots of Bs) or even Oshawa <--> Markham is absurd. There is no reason why the rest of the GO network needs to be held back from its theoretic potential just because there's complications with 1 GO line.
I'm of the opinion that if the GO trains are to be a proper, "subway style", regional service, then switching between trains at Union should be as quick as possible.

If you guys don't see the value in quick transferring at Union, and Metrolinx focusing on comparable service for all lines rather than electrification, then stop complaining about all the cars on the 401.

EDIT: And don't respond with "People should just move closer to the electrified lines". Do you know how expensive it is to live in Oakville? Or anywhere near the lake for that matter.
 
Last edited:
PS: If anyone is still of the belief that ML should shelve electrification altogether and stick with diesel for its entire fleet until all lines are complete… don’t ask any of us to justify the wires.
Instead, you should be reading the business case and EA documents and have a look at the “official” rationale for electrification. Then you will be refuting real reasons from people who have the accountability for the investment. Better we debate their rationale than our opinions from the bleachers.

- Paul
 
That's just self-defeating behaviour. If Richmond Hill had dedicated tracks and offered 2WAD service, you would still snub it because it's not electrified?
You're just putting words in my mouth. The problem with the Richmond Hill Line is simply that it just sucks at a fundamental level, and no amount of Electrification is going to change that fact. The alignment is just slow, and prone to shutdowns due to flooding. Reminder that according to Metrolinx, once the YNSE opens it will take just as long to travel from RHC to Queen Station on both Line 1 and the RHL including the transfer at Union. The Line is simply bad.
Point being, we're going to have to look at separating passenger from freight even after we electrify. So why not do it now before we electrify?
We're electrifying the sections of Line that don't have issues with freight. Sure, let's separate passenger from freight, but let's also electrify the sections of track where this isn't a problem to begin with. Why do we need to wait to fix problems that affect only a small section of the network.
I'm of the opinion that if the GO trains are to be a proper, "subway style", regional service, then switching between trains at Union should be as quick as possible.
I agree, but that doesn't mean we have to hold back on such upgrades that will lead us to that point because we can't upgrade certain parts of the network. Our inability to electrify the tracks in Hamilton shouldn't mean we can't go forward in electrifying and improving tracks in Pickering. This is the fundamental problem with your argument, you're suggesting that we kneecap the potential of a majority of the network simply because there are small sections of the network that aren't great due to external factors.

Also remember, GO Expansion isn't just "Electrification", its also double tracking and mass service expansion. If you look at the construction that is taking place on all of the core GO Expansion Lines (namely Kitchener, Barrie, and Stouffville), you'd notice that they're first upgrading the corridors to support frequent all day service, and only then are they electrifying the network. Its not as if Electrification is the #1 priority of this entire project, the priority is and always has been the infrastructure to allow for more frequent service. A few years from now, Barrie will go from being an hourly off peak service, to one that can run every 20-30m in both directions all day, and that's before we raise even a single wire. This is because of the work that's been going along the corridor for the past 6 years, including but not limited to the Davenport Diamond Project, and the rehabilitation of stations such as Rutherford and Maple. So your implication that Metrolinx is valuing electrification over all else is simply wrong.
If you guys don't see the value in quick transferring at Union, and Metrolinx focusing on comparable service for all lines rather than electrification, then stop complaining about all the cars on the 401.
Its called being pragmatic and reasonable. I think everyone here would love to see a Milton Line RER with 15m headways, but fact of the matter is that there are environmental factors that make doing so difficult; factors that aren't present on the LSE, Barrie, and Stouffville Lines. Obviously Metrolinx should work on fixing those and to try and improve the service on the line, but that shouldn't have to kneecap the work that MX is able to do on the other corridors that are fully open to infrastructure that improve service frequency and enables electrification.
 
You're just putting words in my mouth. The problem with the Richmond Hill Line is simply that it just sucks at a fundamental level, and no amount of Electrification is going to change that fact. The alignment is just slow, and prone to shutdowns due to flooding. Reminder that according to Metrolinx, once the YNSE opens it will take just as long to travel from RHC to Queen Station on both Line 1 and the RHL including the transfer at Union. The Line is simply bad.

We're electrifying the sections of Line that don't have issues with freight. Sure, let's separate passenger from freight, but let's also electrify the sections of track where this isn't a problem to begin with. Why do we need to wait to fix problems that affect only a small section of the network.

I agree, but that doesn't mean we have to hold back on such upgrades that will lead us to that point because we can't upgrade certain parts of the network. Our inability to electrify the tracks in Hamilton shouldn't mean we can't go forward in electrifying and improving tracks in Pickering. This is the fundamental problem with your argument, you're suggesting that we kneecap the potential of a majority of the network simply because there are small sections of the network that aren't great due to external factors.

Also remember, GO Expansion isn't just "Electrification", its also double tracking and mass service expansion. If you look at the construction that is taking place on all of the core GO Expansion Lines (namely Kitchener, Barrie, and Stouffville), you'd notice that they're first upgrading the corridors to support frequent all day service, and only then are they electrifying the network. Its not as if Electrification is the #1 priority of this entire project, the priority is and always has been the infrastructure to allow for more frequent service. A few years from now, Barrie will go from being an hourly off peak service, to one that can run every 20-30m in both directions all day, and that's before we raise even a single wire. This is because of the work that's been going along the corridor for the past 6 years, including but not limited to the Davenport Diamond Project, and the rehabilitation of stations such as Rutherford and Maple. So your implication that Metrolinx is valuing electrification over all else is simply wrong.

Its called being pragmatic and reasonable. I think everyone here would love to see a Milton Line RER with 15m headways, but fact of the matter is that there are environmental factors that make doing so difficult; factors that aren't present on the LSE, Barrie, and Stouffville Lines. Obviously Metrolinx should work on fixing those and to try and improve the service on the line, but that shouldn't have to kneecap the work that MX is able to do on the other corridors that are fully open to infrastructure that improve service frequency and enables electrification.
If it's possible for Metrolinx to do both electrification and improving Milton & Kitchener via freight bypasses, then I would be in full support of that. I would imagine though that the capital costs of doing both at the same time would be astronomical. So MX would have to prioritise one over the other. Which is why I was making the case for dedicated tracks taking priority over electrification.

But I'm not just talking about the Milton and Kitchener lines. What about the lines that currently can be setup for electrification? Is there anything, infrastructure wise, along these lines, that may slow down the trains, whether diesel or electric? That was really the original point I was trying to make.

I know I'm getting way ahead here, cause MX is in the process of twin tracking the Barrie line, but is there room to add a third track to both the Barrie and Stouffville lines? Not right away, but maybe 10 years down the road.

Yes, the Richmond Hill line is a sad situation.
 
If it's possible for Metrolinx to do both electrification and improving Milton & Kitchener via freight bypasses, then I would be in full support of that. I would imagine though that the capital costs of doing both at the same time would be astronomical. So MX would have to prioritise one over the other. Which is why I was making the case for dedicated tracks taking priority over electrification.
Its not a question of either or, its a question of how much money each individual project costs on their own merits. Metrolinx has absolutely been putting in the work to allow for future service expansions to freight owned sections. West Harbour is currently setup to allow for 30m all day service to the station with the completion of the Bayview Junction realignment and the 4th platform they added to Aldershot station. They have also been working on adding extra track capacity along the Halton subdivision to allow for all day semi-frequent service on the Kitchener Line that can properly cooperate with CN trains.

The reason why the Missing Link isn't being built isn't because Electrification is sucking up all the money, its because (In Phil Verster's own words) MX doesn't see the cost of the project to be worth the benefits when similar impact improvements can be made through more minor projects.
But I'm not just talking about the Milton and Kitchener lines. What about the lines that currently can be setup for electrification? Is there anything, infrastructure wise, along these lines, that may slow down the trains, whether diesel or electric? That was really the original point I was trying to make.
Yes, and that's what they've spent the last decade working on. They finished Georgetown South in 2015, they're currently wrapping up Davenport Diamond, and they're currently in the middle of double tracking both the Barrie and Stouffville Lines. They're also working on several grade separations along both of those corridors to allow for improved service (see: Steeles, Finch, McNaughton, Rutherford, as well as a few others).

As I've said in my last post, Electrification is quite literally the last thing they're working on in terms of corridor improvements for these lines.
I know I'm getting way ahead here, cause MX is in the process of twin tracking the Barrie line, but is there room to add a third track to both the Barrie and Stouffville lines? Not right away, but maybe 10 years down the road.
Unfortunately no 3rd track is planned beyond bypass tracks at a few stations such as Rutherford and Downsview Park. That being said they're not corridors that really need it. The corridors exclusively serve their respective lines and aren't usable as corridors for long distance rail service to justify having a dedicated 3rd track along them. Even if a miracle happens and we somehow see the Newmarket Sub fully rebuilt to allow for use of long distance intercity rail service that justifies a 3rd track, it won't be for a long time, and by no means does electrification in any way preclude that (the real barrier is needing to rebuild/shift some stations to accommodate that).
 
Where would CN move their Hamilton yard? It's conveniently located close to their Hamilton clients. Why would the city of Hamilton want to kick out a major employer who also probably pays taxes to the municipality?
The yard could go just about anywhere there happens to be vacant land. No reason why it couldn't go south of town, for instance.

As the railroads have proven for many years now, a yard does not need to be specifically close to their clients. It would not be difficult to imagine an agreement whereby CN shuts down the yard, builds a new facility to the south of town (or maybe even increases the size of Aldershot), and also uses the harbour yard down within the former Stelco lands.

Get rid of the CN yard in Hamilton and you'll probably see more trucks in the area.
Cut back on the hyperbole. It does your arguments no favours.

That's cool and all. But what's the point of electrifying the network if it won't lead to faster trains and service improvements because the trains still have to stop and wait for freight to go by? I thought one of the major selling points of electrification was faster trains and more frequency?
Electrification in and of itself does not necessarily speed up the trains by a substantial margin. There are all sorts of other variables at play (smaller train lengths? EMUs?) that will do that. And train frequency is not tied to the manner in which the vehicles are powered. There are no wires over the Weston Sub, but the systems exist that allow a train to operate at 90mph every 3 minutes - that's a capability that doesn't exist anywhere else in North America at this point.

So, what does electrification do? What it does do is lead to is cleaner air. What it does do is give us the ability to reduce the amount of power required to reduce the service, by trading BTUs of diesel for KWs of electricity - and allows the ability to put some of that energy back into the system and for use by other trains through regenerative braking. What it does do is allow for more service as the vehicles are able to be used somewhat more intensively than diesel-powered ones can.

Because if electrifying doesn't lead to faster trains and more frequency then what's the point? This just becomes a vanity project, because we care too much what the rest of the world thinks about us
You seem to be quite naive as to what exactly this project is actually about.

There are quite literally thousands of pages written in these threads throughout this forum. Some of them are opinions of people, not unlike yourself. But others are actually factual matters. You may better serve yourself and your arguments by reading through them.

How much more improved service can Metrolinx get out of their diesel fleet by making substantial improvements to the existing rail infrastructure?
This is why there has been several whole projects - some still ongoing - that are specifically aimed at prepping the fixed plant in advance of electrification. More tracks, more stations, speed improvements, storage facilities - they all are going to be required, and many are being built.

If diesel trains are forced to slow down between Aldershot and West Harbour due to the curvature of the track, why would this not apply to electric trains as well?
Of course it does. Physics sucks in that way.

In regards to the Kitchener line, what about moving the Georgetown layover yard so trains are no longer forced to travel slow due to their proximity to the layover yard?
There are plans for that.

Does there need to be more grade separation on all lines to allow for faster trains?
Grade separation between autos and trains? Yes. But it won't necessarily allow for faster trains. In some places it will. But not everywhere.

Metrolinx should assess where all the chokepoints are on their network that forces their trains to slow down and resolve those issues. Once completed, it would make more sense to start electrifying the network.
It seems that Metrolinx is about 15 years ahead of you, then.

Dan
 
The yard could go just about anywhere there happens to be vacant land. No reason why it couldn't go south of town, for instance.

As the railroads have proven for many years now, a yard does not need to be specifically close to their clients. It would not be difficult to imagine an agreement whereby CN shuts down the yard, builds a new facility to the south of town (or maybe even increases the size of Aldershot), and also uses the harbour yard down within the former Stelco lands.


Cut back on the hyperbole. It does your arguments no favours.


Electrification in and of itself does not necessarily speed up the trains by a substantial margin. There are all sorts of other variables at play (smaller train lengths? EMUs?) that will do that. And train frequency is not tied to the manner in which the vehicles are powered. There are no wires over the Weston Sub, but the systems exist that allow a train to operate at 90mph every 3 minutes - that's a capability that doesn't exist anywhere else in North America at this point.

So, what does electrification do? What it does do is lead to is cleaner air. What it does do is give us the ability to reduce the amount of power required to reduce the service, by trading BTUs of diesel for KWs of electricity - and allows the ability to put some of that energy back into the system and for use by other trains through regenerative braking. What it does do is allow for more service as the vehicles are able to be used somewhat more intensively than diesel-powered ones can.


You seem to be quite naive as to what exactly this project is actually about.

There are quite literally thousands of pages written in these threads throughout this forum. Some of them are opinions of people, not unlike yourself. But others are actually factual matters. You may better serve yourself and your arguments by reading through them.


This is why there has been several whole projects - some still ongoing - that are specifically aimed at prepping the fixed plant in advance of electrification. More tracks, more stations, speed improvements, storage facilities - they all are going to be required, and many are being built.


Of course it does. Physics sucks in that way.


There are plans for that.


Grade separation between autos and trains? Yes. But it won't necessarily allow for faster trains. In some places it will. But not everywhere.


It seems that Metrolinx is about 15 years ahead of you, then.

Dan
Thank you for your response. Tone down the snark.

EDIT: Clearly I stepped on a landmine by question electrification of the network. I'll take some time to study up more on it.
 
Last edited:
EDIT: Clearly I stepped on a landmine by question electrification of the network. I'll take some time to study up more on it.

Don't fret the landmine - you are doing the right thing by digging deeper so you have facts not opinions.

For anyone looking for good scoop, the Metrolinx page dealing with the Electrification EA, which sets out ML's view of the facts, is here.

This is a not necessarily objective, but pretty good media airing, of the underlying issues and merits.

- Paul
 
We're not just discussing the Hamilton yard, what about CN's Aldershot yard as well? Even though CN sold the track rights for LSW to Metrolinx, they still have customers to serve along that line. Procor, Ford Motor Co., Petrol Canada. Where would CN store these trains if they have to move their yard further away from Hamilton? Pretty sure when the Aldershot yard is full, CN has to store some of these trains in the Hamilton yard.
Well presumably wherever the Hamilton yards’ replacement is. Which would probably still be within Hamilton.
 

Back
Top