Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Georgetown-Kitchener Corridor Expansion

The last Visited to the site was on December 20, 2015

Map by Metrolinx

NOTE: Due to conflicting information as well lack of it, this page will be MODIFY as these issues are resolved. The layout of the page will change overtime as new information is added.

The current rail line was built back in 1856 by Grand Trunk Western Railway Canada that ran from Toronto Union Station to Sarnia Ontario where it connected with the United States Line as a single track with passing sidings.

On April 29, 1974, GO Transit started service to Brampton and was extended to Georgetown and Guelph on October 29, 1990. Service to Guelph ended on July 03, 1993. The line was call the Georgetown Line until 2011 when it became the Kitchener line with the start of service to it.

In 1994, a study by Ministry for Transportation Ontario (MTO) and Transport Canada (TC) determined that there would be a lack of road capacity around the Pearson Airport area and to handle 35% of ridership using transit

In 1999, IBI Group Inc recommended that the best way to service the airport was by the Weston Sub. A study by KPMG commission by TC determined that a feasibility self financially rail operation could be done between Union Station and the airport.

Halcrow Group Ltd forecast that 2 million trips would be there on start up year and 6 million by 2035. Source

GO Transit was running service as far a Guelph in the 1990's until the funding of transit was cut by the Province under NDP Primer Bob Ray. To deal with the cut of subsidies to GO Transit in 1993 and poor ridership to the point of 60 riders travel to Guelph in the first place, the service was cut back to Georgetown. There were only 4 trains operating on the line at the time.

The Georgetown-Kitchener Rail Corridor expansion concise of projects that have been underway since the early 2000's with the bulk of them since 2010 as noted on the above map.

On January 29, 2000, GO added a 5th train running from/to Bramalea to Union Station.

To increase service to/from Georgetown, the single CN track on the Halton Subdivision had to be upgraded to 2 tracks with calls requiring as many as 4 tracks with GO Transit paying for that new 2nd track. The EA got underway in 2000's and was approved with the expansion of the Bramalea, Brampton and Mount Pleasant stations. The Bramalea station was built to handle 3 tracks

On September 29, 2001, a new train departed 14:50 from Union Station to Brampton and ran deadhead back to Union. April 2002 saw a revised schedule that saw 14:50 train being move to Bramalea as well service being 5:50, 10:15, 12:15 and 13:45 to Union and 9:30, 11:30 and 13:00 from Union. Bus service was added from Bramalea to Brampton and Georgetown. The station was rebuilt with a new bus loop as well a pocket track on the south side that cut off the Weston Subdivision (Sub) east of Halwest to keep out of CN way in 2003.

September 2004, a new train departed Bramalea and saw the opening of the new Mount Pleasant Station on February 07, 2005 though the station was 100% completed in 2006.

The only way GO Transit was going to be able to put more service on the Georgetown Line was to add more tracks in the corridor at their own expense considering the corridor was own and operated by CN Rail in the early 2000's.

The Weston Sub that ran from Union Station to Bramalea in Brampton for 26 km and then to Georgetown for 19.15 km on the Halton Sub was only a single track with a few passing sidings. Since the Halton Sub was CN main route to the United States it was a busy line with CN trying to put spots in for GO Transit trains peak time service. Even when A GO train was put on the line, it still had to deal with the VIA rail trains running in both direction as well dealing with the West Toronto Diamond under the control of CP Rail that cross the Weston Sub as well being a busy spots to allow to move trains to the United States on their mainline.

To deal with the problem of getting more train on lines, GO Transit paid CN rail to put in the new track in between Bramalea and Georgetown that included new bridges to support the extra track. During the Ontario Environmental Assessments Act (EA) process, we made it clear that GO Transit shouldn't be looking at adding one track to the corridor, but 2 tracks to help to keep CN out of GO way. It was further recommended that 3 tracks be built for a total of 4 tracks in the corridor, as this would allow GO Transit to run all day service as well bi-directional service at peak time down the road. The plan was approved for 1 new tracks only.

During construction of the new track, CN decided to add the 3rd track for most of the line except where it went through the downtown section of Brampton as it was a pitch point and would require moving the existing VIA Station.

With the building on the new tracks, new platforms had to be built to service GO trains depending what was on the line as a CN freight Train or a VIA Rail Train. This was for the Halton Sub only.

In 2003, a another EA got underway for the Weston Sub to add a new 2nd track and add new platforms until The Federal Government announced the building of the Airport Rail Line that would be under the control of SNC Lavalin using Budd Rail Diesel Car known as RDC or Buddliner refurbished from the 50's. With this announcement, the people in the old Village of Weston opposed this Airport Line plan that would be known as Blue22 as well most people as there would be a train every 7.5 minutes going in opposite direction bypassing all existing GO Stations.

In fact the idea of the airport line goes back as far as the 1980's, but more so to April 2001 when Transport Canada requested a P3 (Public-private partnership) proposal to built and operate the line. In 2003, the list of prequalify bidders were reduced to 4 bidders to prepare a business case for the airport line. On November 13, 2003, SNC Lavalin group known as the Union Pearson AirLink Group was awarded the contract.

To deal with this new service, GO Transit took the point lead on it since it would have an impact to their plan to the point they try spiting the EA into 3 areas to get around having to use the Federal EA act in place of the Ontario one that had more requirement and more rigged.

When construction got underway, new bridges were built as well widening the roadbed for not the 2 tracks as plan, but 3 tracks. The only area not to see 3 tracks was the pinch point in Downtown Brampton. This remains a bottle neck today that there are plans to upgrade this area to 3 tracks as well relocating the existing VIA Station to the north as well having 4 tracks in the Halton Sub Corridor.

In 2005, a joint EA between GO Transit and SNC Lavalin group for upgrading the Weston Sub own by CN that ran from Union Station to Bramalea where it joint the Halton Sub and it was met with strong opposition to this expansion by the Old Village of Weston because of the Blue22 plan and still remain so as of 2014.

By having the Blue22 running in this corridor would now require a 3rd track as well having a major impact on the West Toronto Diamond to the point that the proposed plan had to be redesign.

In September 2008, GO Transit started an EA to expand service west of Georgetown to Kitchener and the EA was completed in July 2009.

On April 8, 2009, Metrolinx bought the CN Weston Subdivision from CN Rail for $160 million running from Strachan Avenue to CN York Subdivision at Steeles Avenue for a distance of 26km. CN would still obtain running rights on this Subdivision to service online industries as well transferring between CP Lambton Yards and their other yards. This purchase allows Metrolinx to have full control over the corridor as well removing CN as a middle man for any expansion in the coming years at a reduce cost.

With Metrolinx now owing this corridor, it started on a long list of projects and they are broken down as noted by Metrolinx map, but not all are being follow on a regular based and may have very little information on them. They can be found under the drop down list at the top of the page.

On December 15, 2009, Metrolinx bought lower portion of the Newmarket rail subdivision from CN rail for $68 million and this gives Metrolinx full control over the 96 kilometre long Barrie Bradford Line from Toronto now. This line will be upgraded to 2 tracks over time as well being brought up to GO Transit standards. CN will retain running rights as needed.

Construction got underway in 2011 with rebuilding the Black Creek Bridge from a single track to 4 tracks and reusing the existing bridge as part of the expansion.

In the fall of 2011, work got underway on the grade separation for Strachan Ave and a new overpass.

On December 19, 2011, the first 2 GO trains started service from Kitchener and stopping at Guelph before starting the original run from Georgetown. Service for Acton stated January 7, 2013. 2 of the current trains store at Georgetown were relocated to a new yard west of the Kitchener Station and were increase to 12 cars long since the Georgetown yard could not support them in the first place.

Construction got underway in 2012 for building the Toronto West Diamond Grade Separation

In 2012, GO cancel the midday service to Bramalea to allow for better control over the construction in the corridor.

A major Mile Stone took place for the corridor on September 1, 2013 when the first of 4 bridges was move into postion for the Toronto West Diamond Grade Separation for the CP line. More on that move as well the others can found on the West Toronto Diamond pages.

October 2013 saw another mile stone take place when the Barrie GO line went into service in the first of 2 4 track tunnels for the Strachan Ave Grade Separation and was follow a few weeks later by the Georgetown-Kitchener Line. On November 1st, 2013 was the last day for the grade crossing after 158 years as the last of the Milton GO line trains cross it as that line was being relocated to the new tunnel. This would allow work to get underway for the 2nd 4 track tunnel and expected to be in service early 2015. The overpass over the 8 track tunnel expected to open in late May 2014 or early June.