News   Mar 27, 2020
 1K     2 
News   Mar 27, 2020
 980     0 
News   Mar 27, 2020
 3.1K     4 

Hamilton: General Service Discussion

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
Torontoian become Hamiltonian here, I am creating a new thread specifically for Hamilton since there are a bunch of transit developments occuring for Hamilton, and other GTHA regions have their thread.
- Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) -- local bus service
- GO service
- Hamilton LRT, a big debate currently ongoing

Urbanforumer note: Hamiltonian bus system is often called "HSR". It is not to be confused with railroads as we no longer have the old streetcar network of HSR's namesake. And not to be confused with HSR = High Speed Rail.

I am especially interested in GO services, as I have taken photographs of both of the two Hamilton areas. So initially, this thead may be initially GO-centric but expand to everything Hamilton-related as I and other people take photographs, and the debate of the LRT starts to rage as we voted a new mayor recently.

(now uploading pix...)
 
Last edited:

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
James North GO station
- opening 2015 for Pan Am games
- ongoing construction will continue through 2017 towards all day service

Current status of December 23rd:
image.jpg
 

Attachments

Last edited:

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
Hamilton's "other" GO station --

Confederation GO station
- rail overpass reconstruction (over Centennial Parkway) under way, will include a GO station platform built in
- temporary Centennial Parkway bypass now finished (surface crossing seen in photo).
- station not yet under construction, but presumably 2017ish - for its namesake and sesquicentennial
- Lewis trainyard is where Metrolinx parks trains overnight for JamesNorth.
- Trains are parked overnight at Lewis Trainyard well past this, so this is a low-lying project. This station is "on the way" between layover & JamesNorth. Lewis has room for future expansion to 8 trains parked, enough for frequent allday service (this is enough to theoretically allow Confederation to take over Aldershot as terminus). So this is a cheap, low-lying apple.
- Most cost $$$ is the extra trackage, and maybe Bayview Junction work?
- land is already purchased, station is designed

Sources:
- http://www.gotransit.com/public/en/improve/Niagara docs/Niagara Project Update.pdf (before purchase occured)
- http://www.610cktb.com/blog/2014/04/25/why-i-believe-go-train-is-coming-to-niagara (land purchase)
- http://gotransitnlb.gotransit.com/public/en/improve/Final_Confederation_Station .pdf (land purchase area, rail overpass has room for a platform, station design)

Photos taken last week, rail overpass at centennial parkway.
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg


The land purchase covers this diagram below, and provides for a GO station that Metrolinx has already designed the layout of, since 2011:
View attachment 41468
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Jonny5

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 23, 2007
Messages
2,838
Reaction score
543
Hamilton's "other" GO station --

Confederation GO station
Google says it's about a 15 minute drive from there to Burlington GO. How much time will the train take to go from Confederation to Burlington? From the existing Hamilton station to Aldershot is 15 minutes. If it's significantly slower, I wonder how many will use this station to go toward Toronto.
 

innsertnamehere

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
14,127
Reaction score
8,635
This route will be faster than the route to the current Hamilton GO station as it uses the CN sub instead of the CP sub. It'll probably be in the 15-20 minute range.

There is also traffic on the QEW at peak period to lengthen that drive from 15 minutes when the trains will be running, and from that location you are probably better driving to Burlington instead of Aldershot.
 
Last edited:

simply Dan

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
850
Reaction score
5
Thanks for the updates, mdrejhon! It's nice to see the progress at the new James North GO station.
 

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
Consider the non-drivers (transit only users) and also how full Burlington parking can become if you are not travelling early. The Confederation station may be a terminus for some of HSR's bus routes. Also the bridge is a parking lot at peak. And this rail line is faster than the downtown Hamilton station despite going a much further distance. They will need to build extra track though, when they pull off all day service.

This future Hamilton station is between the new JamesNorth station and the new Lewis yard (overnight gotrain parking)

It seems an easy low lying apple as GO trains wil be deadheading through this anyway enroute to the JamesNorth staton. A very basic starter station can be cheap increment once the new overpass is built, since they now own the land for parking and bus loop.
 
Last edited:

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
Thanks for the updates! Awesome how Hamilton is finally get some upgrades? mdrejhon, what will LRT do for Hamilton in your opinion?
Over the next 25 years, Hamilton wants to get multiple LRTs built, beginning with the B-line. The five proposed lines are B, L, A
, S, T which stands for BLAST network.

Our current debate goes around the B-line, which is now currently an express bus. It is extremely efficient offpeak, but gets slow and crowded during peak when the bus gets full in the downtown sections (more population are complaining about that). While the population pleads for better bus service, our politicians are aligning as pro-LRT and anti-LRT. The expectation is fully Metrolinx funded for the B-line construction, given this city is a bit more cash-strapped than Toronto.

I can understand why some people say we shouldnt build LRTs for the "sake of building LRTs"... I hear some talk it may do less to help public transit than simply adding a bus lane to the full length of Main/King, and be far more expensive. And that it increases rents and house values to lock out poor suffering Hamiltonians. We are now increasingly a mixed city of longtime Hamiltonians and incoming "Toronto escapees", combined with immigrants. Some new residents whom have started real nice businesses like antibiotic-free burger places or cheap simple diners with nice sitdown meals costing almost less than McD, all the way through to expensive stuff near Locke. Mixed in with the depressed areas nearer the declining steel industry, and the mini condo boom and expanded recreational waterfront (as waterfront length very slowly turns over to recreation) with a popular hipster wonderful waterfront restaurant garnering noise complaints from nearby residents. One area high end, next area old depressed industry, and lots in between. We also have the usual gentrification with the pros and cons that goes with that, as well. And the "first time homeowners priced out of Toronto" people, where many still got the little known real estate steals here and there - Homes in Hamilton are still far more affordable than Toronto, even in 2014 some families with children found a mortgage in the three figures monthly (under 1000 a month! detached!) though that era is quickly ending except for lower city fix-me-uppers. Still cheaper than Pickering or even Oshawa, though, while being more urban. The nature of this mixed city, from low end to high end, guarantees vociferous debate for our LRT.

Now if you had my opinion, LRT would be good for the city if done properly.

This is the first LRT route: We have a main crosstown artery in the lower city, Main Street and King Street. Two sets of extremely wide five-lane-wide one-way streets (a block apart). Except for the narrowed area near James St, they are wildly efficient urban expressways with Canada's best and most efficient synchronized traffic lights (From Gage to 403, I can breeze 60kph through approximately twenty sets of green lights, zero red lights, if I am not driving at peak), taking me a mere 6 minutes to go fom near Gage Park through downtown to Highway 403. Great for those trips to Aldershot GO station, too. This is not an exaggeration. These are widely loved if you are a carowner Hamiltonian, but very hated by pedestrians and non-carowners (unless you found a seat on an B-line express bus). It also depresses the businessowners along this citystreet-turned-urban-expressway.

Building an LRT means de-synchronizing the traffic lights. Separate studies made before LRT was imagined, shows a big (gentrification style, even) business boom potential on Main-King when desynchronizing the traffic lights, increasing nearby property values. But it will lengthen crosstown car commutes. Imagine Toronto streetcars being installed in the middle of a wide Toronto artery such as Eglington Crosstown becoming 100% surface (no underground), stealing lanes of traffic. Except Main-King is more efficient (faster cars) than Eglington, while lined with many storefronts only 10 feet from whooshing cars (with some storefronts shuttered) and dangerous to people who stray off the sidewalk inches away from speeding cars. Optimizing for cars versus for pedestrians/transit/businesses. That is how some Hamiltonian carowners feel. But, with lots of shuttered businesses on Main-King, a business upturn would do Main-King good in the next 15 years. But we even have businessowners concerned about being priced out of their businesses too, some having been attracted by low rents. We will have a tough debate this year, probably, on the LRT.

I would be in the pro-LRT camp. I am willing to give up my quick 6-minute commute to the 403 from the middle of urbanity near Gage Park, provided (1) two Hamilton GO stations are built as currently ongoing, and (2) business boom on Main-King is encouraged with a reasonable balance between old unexpensive Hamiltonian-targeted business (e.g. seven dollar 4-star Yelp breakfasts!) and new hipster business (e.g. five dollar espressos in Parisian cafes). We have friends that want either or both. I will even be able to bike to either GO stations, leaving my car at home when I commute to Toronto for work. There is already a barrier-separated bike lane on Cannon street. (paralell street north of Main/King "urban expressway")

To whet LRT appetites, here is our city's proposed LRT network in 25 years:
(The first line is B-line within 15 years, if greenlighted. It is along the Main/King street corridor)

image.jpg


image.jpg

Source: City of Hamilton
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLAST_network
 

Attachments

Last edited:

ehlow

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
3,496
Reaction score
143
Location
Yonge & Eglinton
So if I understand correctly: currently all day service ends at Burlington. However, when James North GO station is constructed later this year, all day service will continue on to the new station in Hamilton right?

Seems like that would be a huge boost for Hamilton.
 

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
So if I understand correctly: currently all day service ends at Burlington.
Aldershot. One stop past Burlington.
I already go there everyday for work.
Aldershot station has ~20-min peak service and 30-min offpeak service.
(including Sundays/holidays -- took the train on Xmas Eve and Boxing Day and GO was still running 30-min service).

However, when James North GO station is constructed later this year, all day service will continue on to the new station in Hamilton right?
That's the plan eventually. Probably ~2017-ish, perhaps 2016 earliest.

Not fully right away for 2015 PanAm, full version of promise was not achievable due to a few complications.
Currently Metrolinx only has dedicated right-of-way to Burlington. Beyond that, is a little bit of a CN/CP nightmare.

There are other pre-requisites:
- Lewis yard: Parking for overnight GOtrains. They need the beginnings finished by Pan Am. They are solving that by Metrolinx's new Lewis trainyard under construction, about 18km beyond JamesNorth GO. I understand it is being worked on to have parking for 4 trains, with enough expansion for 8 gotrains (should be enough to start the morning surge for 15-minute GO RER service someday).
- Metrolinx-owned rail underpass underneath CN tracks near the Bayview Junction, to get south of the CN tracks.
- Metrolinx-owned track parallel to CN tracks, I think south of CN tracks. There is plenty of room in the CN corridor to add Metrolinx-owned track.
- Capacity at the GO stations. The parking garage at James North won't be built on time for 2015.

My impression: They are going to work on all that from now through ~2017 in a variety of staged initiatives, adding more and more service until we've got 30-min all day service. From what I read, JamesNorth first phase completes in 2015, and JamesNorth second phase completes in 2017. Also the naming of Confederation Station and the upcoming sesquicentennial, suggests shovels will at least well be under way at Confederation station by 2017. Earliest all-day (hourly or half-hourly) service probably is 2016-ish when the Lewis layover is fully functional and Metrolinx has parallel trackage south of the CN tracks, but 2017-ish might be more realistic. More news will likely come when the first service increase is announced, probably springtime before JamesNorth comes online.

The Bayview Junction issue: I think the hardest "shovels-not-yet-in-ground" factor is currently the crossing the CN tracks near of Canada's most critical railway junctions -- and Metrolinx will need to build a rail underpass, to allow frequent train service. Forum members have long complained that Hamilton GOTrains are sometimes painfully slow because of Bayview Junction. Bypassing the CP tracks, simply by going to JamesNorth instead of downtown, already massively speeds things up (actually enough to make up for the extra walk north for some). But further service speedup can still be done by bypassing both CN/CP tracks altogether. Once such a rail underpass is built, there's no CN/CP rail crossings between Aldershot and Confederation GO, in theory. When this happens, trains can easily breeze to Confederation station from Aldershot (two stops) faster than going to Hamilton downtown (one stop). Then the stretch between JamesNorth and Confederation is a straight-arrow that can easily sustain >100kph. GO Trains from Confederation will very easily beat rush-hour Skyway traffic, despite having to go a much longer route. Once CN/CP interference is untangled, express trains from Confederation could probably reach downtown Toronto in only an hour (they already take only ~55 minutes from Aldershot). GO RER expresses could reduce this to 45-50 minutes, if electricified all the way to Lewis in 10-15 years. Seeing GO's long term plans -- and desired expansion to Niagara -- making Confederation station (or even Grimsby) the new terminus for 30-min service would be a no-brainer due to the commitment Metrolinx made to the Lewis yard.

References:
- http://www.gotransit.com/public/en/improve/Niagara docs/Niagara_Rail_Expansion_ESR.pdf (Lewis train layover)
- http://www.610cktb.com/blog/2014/04/27/go-trains-to-niagara-but-only-to-grimsby-for-now (Lewis layover)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederation_GO_Station (see links at bottom)
 
Last edited:

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
5,963
Reaction score
7,010
I'm still having trouble believing that this flyover is really needed. The main routing needed by CN is from the Halton Sub at Burlinton West onto the Dundas Sub at Bayview. This is entirely on the north side. The traffic in and out of Hamilton proper is only 4-6 trains per day.
Extending all day GO service beyond Aldershot might require addiitional trackage on the south side, but only a little.
It boils down to the old chestnut that (public sector) commuter agencies have little leverage when their needs collide with (private sector) freight railways. Instead, everyone seems to be happy to spend oodles of taxpayer money to build new infrastructure so the two never need to coexist.

I suspect that if GO offered CN a lump sum cash payment equal to half the cost of a flyover, CN could find a way to shuffle the trackage cheaply and pocket the rest of the payment as profit.....with an enforceable performance guarantee for GO. Better all round.

- Paul
 

ehlow

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
3,496
Reaction score
143
Location
Yonge & Eglinton
From what I've seen from photo tours online, Hamilton seems to have a lot of character & history and some really nice architecture, houses and hoods. I also like that, unlike many other Ontario cities, it's near the Lake and therefore warmer in the winter and has beaches. I could imagine it being really popular for Toronto commuters when GO service improves.

I haven't been personally other than driving by and the waterfalls north/west of it, but I'll correct that mistake when it gets warmer. Too bad they never got a hockey team.
 

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
I suspect that if GO offered CN a lump sum cash payment equal to half the cost of a flyover, CN could find a way to shuffle the trackage cheaply and pocket the rest of the payment as profit.....with an enforceable performance guarantee for GO. Better all round.
And payment penalties on delays. I'd be happy with that if they can get the trains moving 80kph around the lake curve at all times, even when the train is late (Reasonable GO priority at all times). Spend the savings on accelerating station construction for now. Whaterver needs to be done to get the same Aldershot frequency at both Hamilton stations.

If you see the photos of the JamesNorth station, the GO trackage has not yet been added to the station. Probably will be station sidings initially for 2015, the south GO tracks for the two directions will probably eventually extend in both directions all the way to Aldershot and Confederation, even if not initially.
 
Last edited:

mdrejhon

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
4,001
Reaction score
2,703
Location
Hamilton
I haven't been personally other than driving by and the waterfalls north/west of it, but I'll correct that mistake when it gets warmer. Too bad they never got a hockey team.
If you like big events, book some PanAm soccer tickets, or come during James Street Supercrawl (over 100,000 people). If you love lots of exercise, rent a bike and do the escarpment trails, and also go up the long stairs (hundreds of steps) up the escarpement at the south of Dundurn Street in lower city, and enjoy the rewarding mountain view right after the climb. Or just drive up the jolley cut and park at one of the parks up top. Hipster places if you're into it: Locke St shops/cafes/restaurants, new super fancy Sarcoa waterfront restaurant, new Aquarius theatre. The waterfront trolleytrain tour is a good quick sightsee of the better waterfront, too. And favorite Museums: Hamilton flying warplane museum (try going during airshow time), Dundurn Castle (get the tour). Oh, and if you like nightlife, there is Hess Street (dance, disco lights, outdoor bars, popular with McMaster students) and Augusta Street area (classic restaurant-pubs with patios), and if you blend into mixed LGBT+straight-metrosexuals atmosphere, the new Steel Lounge across from Aquarius theater. Also, non-hipster locals-targeted cheap restaurants with simple decor but high 4+ star online food rating: Big Top family restaurant (brunch), Good Times deli (brunch), Owl of Minerava (best korean I've had, better than their Toronto restaurants), all in non-touristy neighborhoods though. Good full sitdown meals for near prices of mcdonalds combos. This is all an incomplete tourist list, mind you.

Now back on topic, if you do it by public transit, don't forget to consider the new Metrolinx-sponsored SoBi bike sharing system we are now getting in 2015, which covers a bigger area than Toronto's Bixi and even lets you park bike away from designated bike racks. A bit expensive for tourists, though, and mostly good in the lower city only. Also, all of HSR's buses are presto-ified, unlike TTC. Be prepared, it is confusing to tourists as some routes only run during peak, so check schedule apps or Google Transit directions (not always optimal, since it does not always suggest instead walking to an express bus stop if it is nearby or one stop away.)
 
Last edited:

Top