The busy CN mainline between Bramalea (Halwest) and Georgetown (Silver) has long been a bottleneck for increasing GO and VIA service to Kitchener and points further west like Stratford and London. On June 14, Ontario announced that the province has secured an agreement-in-principle with CN that will allow GO Regional Express Rail to be built along the Kitchener GO corridor. The agreement-in-principle also begins the planning and technical analysis to build a new freight corridor that will allow CN to shift most of its freight traffic from the section of the Kitchener corridor it owns – namely between Bramalea and Georgetown – to the new corridor. This will free up capacity for more GO and VIA service. The province also announced funding to help build a multimodal transportation hub in downtown Kitchener and the extension of two morning and two afternoon peak train trips that currently run between Union Station and Georgetown to also serve Kitchener, Guelph and Acton.
The Ontario-CN agreement is very interesting. It comes on the heels of the “Missing Link” study prepared by 4 municipalities in 2015 to allow increased GO service on both the Kitchener and Milton lines. (See Ontario Report, November-December, 2015.) This agreement appears to be different, but time will tell.