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GO Transit: Service thread (including extensions)

nfitz

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Well that may have been your question, but it wasn't mine. I kind of assumed that was rhetorical given the answer was obvious.
 

mdrejhon

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I doubt we'll see it again. I can't see GO running a non-stop express to Hamilton. I'd think there'd be 3 or 4 more stops along there.
Yes, the Niagara semi-express Summer Train.

It currently has Union-Burlington scheduled in 40 minutes.
That's almost always when my 55-minute and 56-minute West Harbour expresses passed Burlington -- the near exact 40 minute mark (+/- 1 minute) despite not having stopped in Oakville (like Niagara trains do).

Based on the design of the current Niagara Summer Train schedule, I would imagine that West Harbour would be scheduled at approximately the ~57 minute mark, allowing for Burlington stopping delay. Based on my experience riding the less-aggressive West Harbour Pan Am Express (their 'slow time' is consistently around 55 minutes despite 1h10min timetabled -- its tendancy to leave late, arrive early). Observing similar station-passing times remarkably similiar to the published timetable schedule of the semi-express Niagara Summer Train.

My GO Prediction: 2016 or 2017 seasonal GO trains Toronto-Hamilton timetabled at exactly 57 minutes (+/- 1 minute) for Toronto Union to West Harbour (by adding a no-brainer WH as stop to already-passing-by Niagara seasonals, after fully-funded prerequisite conversion of platform stub-track to through-track). Unusually high probability / unusually high confidence factor (assuming no post-Bob Rae style GO cutback slaughter in the next 12 months). Check back to see if my guess is correct.

EDIT: This is an existing GO train that pass 10 feet away from West Harbour platform without stopping. It is profitable at less than 5 Hamilton boardings per train, see math in newer post.
 
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TOareaFan

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My GO Prediction: 2016 or 2017 seasonal GO trains Toronto-Hamilton timetabled at exactly 57 minutes (+/- 1 minute) for Toronto Union to West Harbour (by adding a no-brainer WH as stop to already-passing-by Niagara seasonals, after fully-funded prerequisite conversion of platform stub-track to through-track). Unusually high probability / unusually high confidence factor (assuming no post-Bob Rae style GO cutback slaughter in the next 12 months). Check back to see if my guess is correct.
Someone just observed +/- 50 people getting off a train during a time when there is a major event in Hamilton....take out that event how many people are there? Yet you think in 1 or 2 years there will be express trains to this station that bypass all the other stations along the line? That seems a bit fanciful to me.
 

nfitz

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Yes. Would not be surprised if there was a 45 minute express back in the olden days, when there were far fewer grade crossings.
Looking at the 1988 VIA Rail schedule (when there were 3 trains a day to Hamilton, stopping at Oakville and Burlington), the scheduled time from Union to Hamilton was as quick as 47 minutes.

So the 47-minute not-stop express observed the other day should indeed be 45 or under.
 

reaperexpress

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Someone just observed +/- 50 people getting off a train during a time when there is a major event in Hamilton....take out that event how many people are there? Yet you think in 1 or 2 years there will be express trains to this station that bypass all the other stations along the line? That seems a bit fanciful to me.
He's talking about adding a stop on an existing seasonal route. Given that Hamilton is a major city, it seems like a no brainer to me too. The service could then be used by people travelling between the GTA and Hamilton, and between Hamilton and Niagara in addition to the existing passengers travelling between the GTA and Niagara.

And by my calculation, 57 minutes is in the right ballpark for that travel time, though I ended up with 59:
40 minutes Union-Burlington, stopping at Exhibition, Port Credit and Oakville (as per current LSW Niagara service schedule)
19 minutes Burlington-West Harbour, not stopping in Aldershot (21 minutes as per current LSW West Harbour regular train schedule, minus 2 minutes for skipping Aldershot). Maybe another minute or two could be cut because Hamilton wouldn't be the terminus for Niagara trains so less padding is needed.
 
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mdrejhon

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He's talking about adding a stop on an existing seasonal route. Given that Hamilton is a major city, it seems like a no brainer to me too.
Correct.

That said, the Niagara train has to crawl slowly at West Harbour because of the Lake Ontario curve and the CN rail yard. So the 2 minute stop turns into "net 1 minute" stop. West Harbour is an unusually time-efficient fuel-efficient stop.

Someone just observed +/- 50 people getting off a train during a time when there is a major event in Hamilton....take out that event how many people are there? Yet you think in 1 or 2 years there will be express trains to this station that bypass all the other stations along the line? That seems a bit fanciful to me.
Um.

This is a separate subject than the West Harbour PanAm expresses. You're confusing the two.

Read again.

Niagara Trains PASS WEST HARBOR GO TODAY WITHOUT STOPPING.

It's a ZERO-TRAIN change.

1. existing train.

2. train already passes station

3. train doesn't stop in station

4. 100% farebox recovery after less than 5 boardings per train

Zero cost change.
Zero new trains.
Little braking.
Near zero fuel.
Infrastructure exists.
Speed limit is aleady low at West Harbour due to Lake Ontario curve and CN railyard.
Consequently, little braking delay. Little fuel waste. It only really accelerates after WH.
This makes West Harbour fuel-efficient time-efficent as an additional Niagara stop.
Adds only 1 minute delay to a 2 hour route.
Niagara trains are 2-way all day.
There are 7 to 8 half-filled passenger GO trains already passing West Harbour without stopping.
This gives Hamiltonians 2-way weekend service to *both* Toronto and Niagara.
This gives Niagara and Toronto access to Hamilton.
It can also replace/reduce the need for event trains such as James Street Supercrawl trains.

All the infrastructure necessary to make it possible for the Niagara train to stop is 100% fully funded and constructed 2016 because West Harbour stub track becomes a through track in 2016 because Lewis & Stoney Creek is closer to Niagara. Once this happens, trains can zoom by the platformedge rather than 10 feet away. (As it currently does today!).

Today, the train can't stop today because WH is a stub right now. The 100 meter track extension isn't installed yet to merge it back to the CN mainline, turning WH into a 'through' station instead of 'terminus'. But it will be there 2016 as the fully funded construction Phase 2 needs that done. This is out of necessity so trains can go to the overnight GOtrain parking yard being completed 2016. That's the yard beyond Stoney Creek and closer to Niagara. They've got a massive construction site over there already. Making it a through-track (so trains can go to the 2016-completed Lewis overnight layover site) is the only pre-requisite that needs to be done!

The only extra cost is the average hourly salary (guesstimate $20/hr) of one wicket person for buying tickets, plus a mere 1 minute of mainly-idling fuel, then it becomes fully revenue-surplus (cost-reducer for Niagara Seasonal). THUS, ONTARIO TAXPAYERS SAVE MONEY AFTER JUST A FEW BOARDINGS. Less than twenty daily Hamilton boardings would pay for that. But I bet more than 50 per day will take it -- I hear from everyone that they want this. Most common trips for Hamiltonians on Niagara Seasonals will be trips towards Toronto, not Niagara.

There are up to 8 revenue weekend GO trains passing Hamilton per day (4 towards Nigara, 4 toward Toronto).
--> Just 20 boardings per day (less than 3 per train) earns $200 which pays that salary of the wicket person.
--> An idling locomotive (worse than an FP40) consumes very roughly 3 gallons a minute (12 liters), many consume less. Throw in about $20 for the fuel for a 1-locomotive 1-minute dwell. $40 for a two-minute dwell, $80 for a two-powered-locomotive two-minute dwell. That's the upper bound, give or take. smallspy and vegata_skyline probably will quote lower numbers. Then throw in 1-minute of amortized wear and tear, but that's a rounding error during 365 days.
--> 50 boardings total PER DAY = $10 average fare = $500 = pays all above = PROFITABLE!
(Realistically 25 per train, 200 boardings a day, Homer Simpson no-brainer zero-cost move of saving tax money.)

--> It's an existing train, for christ's sake.
This isn't UPX math.
This isn't PanAm math.
This is COMMON SENSE math.


It is a no-brainer.

It is an existing revenue GO train that pass slowly by West Harbour without stopping a

Trains passing just ten feet away from the West Harbour platform!

It is highly profitable at 50 daily boardings, and even at 25 daily.

It BEGINS TO SAVES TAXPAYER MONEY AT LESS THAN 5 HAMILTONIANS PER NIAGARA SEASONAL TRAIN.

Clear, TOareaFan? :)
 
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reaperexpress

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Um.

This is a separate subject than the West Harbour PanAm expresses. You're confusing the two.

Read again.

Niagara Trains PASS WEST HARBOR GO TODAY WITHOUT STOPPING.

It's a ZERO-TRAIN change.

1. existing train.

2. train already passes station

3. train doesn't stop in station

4. 100% farebox recovery after less than 5 boardings per train

[etc. etc. etc...]

It BEGINS TO SAVES TAXPAYER MONEY AT LESS THAN 5 HAMILTONIANS PER NIAGARA SEASONAL TRAIN.

Clear, TOareaFan? :)
WOW, CHILL!

It was clearly a misunderstanding, no need to go verbal maelstrom on the poor guy.

May I ask why your "common sense" math includes the fuel cost of idling, but not the fuel cost of accelerating a vehicle the size of an apartment building up to 45 mph? Or why you chose a net station delay of 1 minute, when GO's other schedules show values ranging from 2-4 minutes? Or why you included the cost of the station ticket collector but not the cost of the train crew?
 
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mdrejhon

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It was clearly a misunderstanding, no need to go verbal maelstrom on the poor guy.
True, but it might not be a misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, it has happened before. There are many Torontoians who argue that Niagara trains should not stop in Hamilton, even after being explained how no-brainer it is. I've encountered a few in person (sigh).

May I ask why your "common sense" math includes the fuel cost of idling, but not the fuel cost of accelerating a vehicle the size of an apartment building up to 45 mph? Or why you chose a net station delay of 1 minute, when GO's other schedules show values ranging from 2-4 minutes?
West Harbour is an unusually efficient stop.

Trains are crawling slow due to the lake curve/CN yard speed limit, as West Harbour is adjacent to that. Most of the time, the passing Niagara trains look like they're doing less than 20kph and are accelerating beginning as they go through WH. (I'll need to officially clock a passing Niagara train).

So you don't have a 120kph-0kph-120kph cycle which is most of the raeson why a stop adds 4 minutes to a route. Watch the Niagara train on GOtracker.

You've eliminated a whole stopping/acceleration cycle, since all that work is occuring beyond West Harbour. So the majority of the station delay is simply open-door dwell, since you've had nearly no deceleration-acceleration cycle.

Or why you included the cost of the station ticket collector but not the cost of the train crew?
The crews appear to be operating continually all day long running probably the same train (it might be two, need to study timetable) back-and-fourth 7 or 8 times a day in back-and-fourth mode. There is no incremental cost, except maybe 1 minute shorter dwell at Niagara -- it dwells there for a long time before reversing direction. That Niagara Train Station dwell can easily be reduced by 1-2 minute to add the very time-efficient West Harbour stop. They add a lot of time padding to accomodate the Welland canal, which often delays a Niagara train by 30 minutes.

You'll notice I put a ballpark range of 1-2 minutes. Metrolinx added 2 minutes to the Stoufville train when it began stopping at Danforth, but West Harbour is even more time-efficient than Danforth is.

Assuming a normal hourly salary which is industry standard -- zero crew cost incremental, as a result. Unless they're paid by the stop serviced, etc. Please correct me if I am wrong, and Metrolinx train crew is paid additional fees per stop, or that they immediately get off the clock while waiting before reversing the train. If this is true, then I need to recalculate. If they use separate trains and put crew off-time, then yes, I need to recalculate. But it would probably be a rounding error for even a 2-minute shift lengthening for 3 people. But if they're paid hourly, then it's zero incremental.

Yes, I may be mistaken about the train crew. Especially if they are actually using 2 separate trains (to hedge Welland better) and putting an idle period, instead of simply running 1 train back and fourth. Even if I forgot the crew, what's the cost of 2 additional minutes for a 3-person train crew? Even with a wildly generous $100/hr salary (fat chance), that's still only $5 of crew time.

Again, if I made a mistake with zero-cost, the additional crew cost that may exist is just a rounding error. Lots of negotiating room. Throw a $20 daily bonus for that 2 minutes to everybody and the whole crew would sign the contract tomorrow to do an extra stop. $60 extra cost. Still repaid with 6 additional boardings per day for that back-and-fourth train. (Or repaid in 12 additional boardings if it's two separate trains). This is just an example. But I don't think such generousity is necessary; I just illustrate there's plenty of negotiating room.

One of the train drivers like vegata_skyline can chime in?
 
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nfitz

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Didn't VIA close the Hamilton station in the first place because of low ridership between Hamilton and Niagara? Is there that much demand for rail on that leg on weekends - the traffic between Hamilton and Niagara is far better than between Toronto and Hamilton.

I'd think the ridership between Hamilton and Toronto may be significant on weekends. But given that there's a frequent non-stop express bus on weekends already, that's not going to have the delays that the Niagara train has (from the Welland canal crossing), isn't that going to carry far more passengers on weekend than the train?

The Niagara train already runs through most GO Stations. And unlike most GO stations, there's already an express bus from downtown Hamilton to Aldershot, where the Niagara train already stops.
 

mdrejhon

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Didn't VIA close the Hamilton station in the first place because of low ridership between Hamilton and Niagara? Is there that much demand for rail on that leg on weekends - the traffic between Hamilton and Niagara is far better than between Toronto and Hamilton.
It's a good question.

I think it's different now because:
- Back then, it was a rail decline era (1950s-1990s)
- GO has much lower operating overhead.
- VIA trains have far more staffing and longer dwell times, affecting timetables more.
- Hamilton was super automobile-crazy during the rail decline era.
- Two downtown stations was overkill back then, they had to shut 1 down. Now it's 2 again.
- The new station can be operated by as few as 1 employee (wicket person) temporarily visiting from the downtown station.
- We're now in a rail rebound era.

And very good point about the bus, and the Welland delay.
The Hamilton 16 express bus is usually quite quick and efficient, and a cheaper option, though summer peak weekend traffic can sometimes really slow things down to times longer than when the Niagara train passes (~56 min). The Welland canal delay is a good point, for the incoming Toronto-direction trains. The buses are really popular, so I think enough people will take the train to make it taxpayer savings. A single-digit percentage only needs to divert to the train. Obviously, farebox loss of those fleeing the Hamilton 16 Express may need to be factored in.

That said, it should increase total number of GO users:
-- I would be more likely to leave my car at home for a Hamilton GO train, but I wouldn't for a Hamilton 16 Express. So there should be ride incrementals too, above-and-beyond the 16 Express.
-- The buses take about 2 hours to Hamilton-Niagara, and requires a transfer. If you don't own/want to go by car, there's no way to get to Niagara Falls faster than the 1 hour ride on the Niagara Seasonal -- just as fast as driving!
-- Niagara Falls is more popular today. Casino wasn't an attraction in Niagara back then.
-- An attraction is there is a bicycle car on the Niagara seasonal train, so I can bring my owned bike to Toronto, too. Another draw, especially as SoBi is already helping raise overall bike awareness in Hamilton (even Hamiltonian DC83 posted in the other thread, he's thinking of buying a bike, thanks to great experiences with SoBi).
 
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reaperexpress

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True, but it might not be a misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, it has happened before. There are many Torontoians who argue that Niagara trains should not stop in Hamilton, even after the above. I've encountered a few in person (sigh).
I feel your pain, but going on a mad rant against someone entirely different does nothing to address your concern.

West Harbour is an unusually efficient stop.

Trains are crawling slow due to the curve/yard speed limits.

So you've eliminated a whole stopping/acceleration cycle, since all that work is occuring beyond West Harbour.
The definition of "eliminate" is to entirely remove or reduce to zero. That would only be true if trains actually routinely came to a stop. As far as I'm aware, the speed limit through the yard is 30 mph (48 km/h), so you should include that acceleration fuel from 0-30mph, which is likely far more significant than the idling fuel you did include.

There are some other stations in similarly slow conditions which give us a reference, and nowhere will you find a net increase as small as 1 minute, especially for a major stop like this one.

The closest example we have of a train passing slowly by a station is the Stouffville line express trains which used to pass by Milliken, Agincourt and Kennedy along a line with a 40 mph (64 km/h) speed limit. In that case express trains took 33 minutes from Unionville to Union, compared to 38 minutes for all-stops trains (1.7 minutes per stop).

The crews operate continually all day long running the same train back-and-fourth 8 times a day in back-and-fourth mode. There is no incremental cost, except maybe 1 minute shorter dwell at Niagara -- it dwells there for a long time before reversing direction.

Assuming a normal hourly salary which is industry standard -- zero crew cost incremental, as a result. Unless they're paid by the stop serviced, etc. Please correct me if I am wrong, and Metrolinx train crew is paid additional fees per stop, or that they immediately get off the clock while waiting before reversing the train. If this is true, then I need to recalculate. But if they're paid hourly, then it's zero incremental.
Your assumption is that there is time within the train schedule and operators' schedules to accommodate the additional time. But we have no way of actually knowing whether this is the case. We don't know if the amount of layover in Niagara is quite constrained in which case another unit of track time would be required, or if the crew's schedules are already quite full in which case another full hour would be needed. Which is why calculations like this should be using a marginal rate. So if your stop adds 2 minutes to the travel time, you should assume it adds 4 minutes to the round trip, and if it costs $120/h to pay your train crew, you should add $2 for each minute added to the schedule (which is admittedly a pretty negligible amount now that I look at it).
 

reaperexpress

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Didn't VIA close the Hamilton station in the first place because of low ridership between Hamilton and Niagara? Is there that much demand for rail on that leg on weekends - the traffic between Hamilton and Niagara is far better than between Toronto and Hamilton.

I'd think the ridership between Hamilton and Toronto may be significant on weekends. But given that there's a frequent non-stop express bus on weekends already, that's not going to have the delays that the Niagara train has (from the Welland canal crossing), isn't that going to carry far more passengers on weekend than the train?

The Niagara train already runs through most GO Stations. And unlike most GO stations, there's already an express bus from downtown Hamilton to Aldershot, where the Niagara train already stops.
The Niagara trains and buses actually stop at Burlington Station, not Aldershot - there's no practical way for anyone in Hamilton to use them.
 

mdrejhon

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The definition of "eliminate" is to entirely remove or reduce to zero. That would only be true if trains actually routinely came to a stop. As far as I'm aware, the speed limit through the yard is 30 mph (48 km/h), so you should include that acceleration fuel from 0-30mph, which is likely far more significant than the idling fuel you did include.
Is this the normal speed? Everytime I've seen this section, the Niagara trains doesn't seem to be going that fast at all, given all the factors. It might be an illusion, or they had to go slow because of the West Harbour construction. (Is there a TSO?). Staring down from the Bay bridge, I should time how long it take from tip-to-tip, given known trainset length.

Though -- even a 0mph-30mph acceleration is less than half as long as a 0mph-60mph acceleration, given acceleration is quite noticeably slower beyond 30mph. Even if they now can go that speed, it'll still be a very, very time-efficient station to stop at. Not many GO stations on GO's network have speed limit as low as track near West Harbour.

There are some other stations in similarly slow conditions which give us a reference, and nowhere will you find a net increase as small as 1 minute, especially for a major stop like this one.
Ok, 2 minutes, going by the comparable Danforth stop-add example. If the train is ahead of schedule, it will dwell longer. Otherwise, the station is less 'major' than Oakville where trains dwell briefly there on weekends too.

Your assumption is that there is time within the train schedule and operators' schedules to accommodate the additional time. But we have no way of actually knowing whether this is the case. We don't know if the amount of layover in Niagara is quite constrained in which case another unit of track time would be required, or if the crew's schedules are already quite full in which case another full hour would be needed. Which is why calculations like this should be using a marginal rate. So if your stop adds 2 minutes to the travel time, you should assume it adds 4 minutes to the round trip, and if it costs $120/h to pay your train crew, you should add $2 for each minute added to the schedule (which is admittedly a pretty negligible amount now that I look at it).
Fair enough, I may be mistaken (I added an acknowledgement above). So we correctly assume that this will be a would rounding error if there ends up being a crew incremental cost after all (except for station crew of 1 -- the wicket staffing would almost certainly be the biggest cost).
 
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drum118

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If you are going to try to get drivers off the road, you will need various type of service, including express trains. There are various type of express service, but Hamilton is not there at this time or by 2020 to have non stop express to/from Toronto.

Again, running 10-12 car trains off peak is a waste for express service when 3-5 cars are only needed. You could run a 5 car train at peak time as non stop, but we are talking about GO here.

Just because I saw one train with low ridership, its a new service that will not go fully into service for sometime. At the same time, ridership will not be there on day one and will take time to build it up.

I agree there should be an Hamilton stop for the NF train, but not going to happen until 2016 or 17 at the earliest. You got to have access at the east end to the mainline first to do it and on the book to be done.

Once the Presto is fully used with TVM, you don't need anyone to man lightly use stations or 1-2 people helping people at TVM, not behind a glass window at heavy use stations. I saw only 1 station man for a system this past week and it was the main DT stations. All the rest had TVM on the platform or on the train.
 
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