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London Commuter Rail Discussions

crs1026

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I would start with a few facts. Let's take population. These are mostly urban, rather than county wide.

London - 383,822

Glencoe - 5,723
Chatham - 43,550

Ingersoll - 12,757
Woodstock - 40,902
Paris - 12,310
Brantford - 92,496

Strathroy - 20,867
Sarnia - 71,594

St Thomas - 38,909

The next thing to throw on the table would be highway volumes. Not sure I will get to that today.

- Paul
 

ssiguy2

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All 3 of the counties surrounding London are fast growing.

As per the July 1/2020 estimates here is the break down:
Middlesex 511,000 including London 431,000
Oxford 122,000 including Woodstock 46,000
Elgin 96,000 including St.Thomas 43,000

Perth County with 83,000 is the outlier as it is not a fast growing country at all and has lagged the other counties in growth for several decades. There are certainly commuters from St Mary's but relatively few from Stratford. Stratford is roughly in the middle of London & KW but going to London takes 15 minutes longer due to being a less direct route and being just a regular road while half of the KW route is freeway including thru the city. I think there are more commuters in Stratford heading to KW than London.

This makes the GO route for London even more bizarre because the first trial is probably the one with the least demand. Again, this is what happens when Torontonians design a transit system for Londoners......................it's Toronto focused.
 
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EnviroTO

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Downtown London isn't a big employment hub the same way that the area around Kitchener downtown and obviously downtown Toronto are. London Life and TD have downtown offices but all the other major employers are away from the downtown area. That demand is better served by VIA's train 71 taking Toronto's office workers to London for any big meetings there might be.
 

ssiguy2

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There are 55,000 workers in downtown London so it's not inconsequential. The other 3 big ones are Western, Fanshawe, and LHSC which is the biggest hospital in SWO.

London, more than any other city in Southern Ontario has the ability to support commuter rail. London is very centrally located with excellent rail connections in every direction. What's more they all go right downtown to the VIA station making them very convenient and just a single block from the new downtown bus loop which gives them access to every downtown bus in the city including the new BRT and current express buses.

Added to this, London, unlike every other city in Ontario, doesn't have an urban freeway. Even the regular routes are overwhelmed and disconnected. Anyone who has ever tried to get a cross London in rush hour knows that it could try the patience of a saint. It m not only makes driving hell but conversely make commuter rail potentially much faster. As an example the slow, unreliable VIA train takes just 23 minutes to downtown London from Strathroy with 16,000 and a big commuter town. In rush hour it's at least 45 minutes and even at 3:00AM on a Sunday morning it would still take you at least 25.
 
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Bordercollie

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There are 55,000 workers in downtown London so it's not inconsequential. The other 3 big ones are Western, Fanshawe, and LHSC which is the biggest hospital in SWO.

London, more than any other city in Southern Ontario has the ability to support commuter rail. London is very centrally located with excellent rail connections in every direction. What's more they all go right downtown to the VIA station making them very convenient and just a single block from the new downtown bus loop which gives them access to every downtown bus in the city including the new BRT and current express buses.

Added to this, London, unlike every other city in Ontario, doesn't have an urban freeway. Even the regular routes are overwhelmed and disconnected. Anyone who has ever tried to get a cross London in rush hour knows that it could try the patience of a saint. It m not only makes driving hell but conversely make commuter rail potentially much faster. As an example the slow, unreliable VIA train takes just 23 minutes to downtown London from Strathroy with 16,000 and a big commuter town. In rush hour it's at least 45 minutes and even at 3:00AM on a Sunday morning it would still take you at least 25.
CN owns the track from London to Chatham station, so to upgrade it to 100mph running you would need to pay for those upgrades.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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Certainly as GO moves it's Toronto oriented services to an electric mu service there will be a need to repurpose or sell its stock of diesel locomotives and bi level coaches.

London may be a place that some of these pieces can be deployed in.
 

crs1026

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It's a shame that railway commuter service expansion is always hampered by CN and CP :(

This statement needs a bit of calibration if we are wanting to talk about London specifically.

The CP and CN main lines through London are vital not only to the railways but to Ontario and Canada generally. They account for a huge percent of goods sold to the US under NAFTA. They are the prime route between Atlantic Canadian ports and the US midwest. Preserving freight capacity through London is something we should not take lightly.

If anything ought to be done in London, it’s rerouting CP onto the CN corridor. The regulatory regime and the railroads’ business culture definitely is not condusive to that task…. but in the end the biggest issue is money. Unless both railroads see an advantage, they aren’t going to invest in a change that they don’t seem to require. And what level of government feels the onus to provide funding?

Take this to the next level and you see the problem with London as a rail hub. There is no room for passenger on those two main lines. It can be added….with a lot of money. (West from London station, CN runs on an embankment that would cost a pile of money to widen, for example).

Can it be done? Yes. Is it in the public interest? Definitely. Would the railways rush to do it? Probably not. But I would not cast CN and CP as the villains here. There is little in it for them, but inconvenience and distraction. And the current law is in their favour, and the legislators are fine with that. And the pols are not eager to spend the amount of money that the taxpayer needs to pony up.

So, before we assume that we can appropriate those routes for regional or commuter rail…. let’s not think it’s the railways who are in the way. Maybe we are asking for freebies, and there aren’t any.

- Paul
 

Haljackey

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I envision taking the GO train often to Kitchener. Too bad there's only one train and just weekdays. Perhaps it will expand a bit.

I want to use it to go to events like Oktoberfest for instance. That way I don't have to worry about drinking and driving. Once you're back in London you could taxi/uber or whatever to get back home from the station - or walk if you live close enough to the station.

4h to TO? Nope I'm still driving whenever I want to go DT. A full car is up to 2x faster and doesn't cost much for gas and parking if split with passengers.
 

Northern Light

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Presser this morning from Minister Mulroney and Verster et al hyping the new GO service.


The suggestion is clearly dropped that this is the first of several 'phases'.

I haven't watched the whole thing........but didn't hear any firm numbers off the bat, in terms of timing or scale of said future phases.
 

ssiguy2

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What I found interesting is how it was repeated that Metrolinx is working with VIA. Needless to say that as the London GO service expands {which is certainly implied}, it is nothing but bad news for VIA. VIA has already lost a lot of once KW riders as GO has expanded rendering VIA almost useless between Union & KW. It's not as lucrative a route as it once was and this will continually be the case with new GO London.

I think this "discussion" with VIA is more of a way for VIA to completely abandon the route altogether and put all it's resources towards strictly the southern London/Aldershot route and really improve that service to London and thru to Windsor/Sarnia.
 

Bordercollie

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What I found interesting is how it was repeated that Metrolinx is working with VIA. Needless to say that as the London GO service expands {which is certainly implied}, it is nothing but bad news for VIA. VIA has already lost a lot of once KW riders as GO has expanded rendering VIA almost useless between Union & KW. It's not as lucrative a route as it once was and this will continually be the case with new GO London.

I think this "discussion" with VIA is more of a way for VIA to completely abandon the route altogether and put all it's resources towards strictly the southern London/Aldershot route and really improve that service to London and thru to Windsor/Sarnia.
Well more Express service from Kitchener would be required to compete with VIA plus it's not competing since It serves a different market. Plus GO doesnt have any morning departures from Union.

Stop comparing the services as if they are for the same purpose. Just like the 4 hour commute time to Toronto. Its not meant for that.
 

44 North

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Still so crazy that this was put through. I remember suggesting in the fantasy thread about bringing GO Rail to Brantford, and getting so much flack. Meanwhile we're to push 100km beyond (what was argued to be 'beyond'), and it's accepted.

Don't get me wrong I love the idea of bare bones trains and infrastructure to build up ridership vs the usual lowly bus route. And I'd support such to the likes of Bolton, Orangeville, Cambridge, north Durham, maaaaybe Peterboro, etc. But London....is really dang far.
 

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