Category Archives for "Intercity Rail and Bus"

GO Train at Bloor station. Photo by Sally Hewson.
May 03

Improving and Expanding Service on Kitchener GO Line

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Uncategorized

One of the prime transportation objectives of the Ontario government is to establish 2-way all-day GO service from Toronto to Kitchener along the so-called Innovation Corridor. The recent Provincial budget explicitly discussed progress on a second tunnel under Highways 401/409 and progress on procurement this year of additional tracks and new platforms.

The current operation provides limited service to Kitchener.  Metrolinx has now released the Preliminary Design Business Case (PDBC) defining the infrastructure requirements, costs and benefits of reaching the provincial objective.  For the inner portion of the line (Weston Sub), the approved GO Expansion project will provide adequate infrastructure.  However, on the Bramalea – Georgetown portion (Halton Sub), additional track and potentially a rail-rail grade separation will be needed to allow shared use with CN Rail. On the Georgetown – Kitchener portion (Guelph Sub), passing tracks will need to be added on this single track line.  Capital cost is estimated at $1.3B – 1.7B PV, roughly within the provincial funding envelope.  It is also encouraging to note the apparent cooperation between CN and Metrolinx on this project.

The PDBC also mentions other potential future enhancements, such as a direct connection to Pearson Airport, electrification beyond Bramalea and service extension to Southwestern Ontario. Transport Action will continue to monitor this strategic project closely.

The full report is available online: Kitchener GO Rail Service Expansion – Preliminary Design Business Case

Photo of GO Kitchener Line train at Bloor station by Sally Hewson.

Apr 26

Briefing Paper on US-Canada Passenger Rail Connections

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Southwestern Ontario

There is increasing recognition on both sides of our border about the need for low or zero-carbon public transportation. This opens up opportunities for the growth of same-train passenger rail services between Canada and USA.  Canadian Minister of Transportation  Alghabra and US Transportation Secretary Buttigieg talk frequently, and Amtrak has recently proposed a new Chicago-Detroit – Toronto service. Non government organizations on both sides of the border are developing ideas to bring forward. 

Transport Action Ontario has issued a briefing paper on our ideas on advancing US-Canada passenger rail connections. The paper covers:

  • Reasons to Improve Passenger Rail Service
  • Corridors of Opportunity
  • Service Concepts 
  • Existing Canada/Ontario Initiatives to Build Upon
  • Making it Happen

The paper can be viewed below:

Feb 03

Where is the Funding for the “Northlander” Passenger Train?

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario

Our affiliate, the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) has issued a release about funding for the “Northlander”. It demonstrates that there MUST be approval and funding of the Ontario Northland/Metrolinx business plan in the upcoming March 2021 Ontario Budget, in order to implement the plan an reinstate the train service prior to the next election.

We’ve launched a joint letter writing campaign to remind the provincial government of the importance of keeping this promise.

The NEORN release can be viewed here.

Funding for the Northlander was also highlighted in our 2021 pre-budget submission.

Jan 31

Input to Ontario 2021 Budget Consultation

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario , Southwestern Ontario , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario was invited to provide a short verbal presentation on recommendations for the 2021 Ontario Budget to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy on January 29. We also submitted the same remarks plus supplemental information to the Ministry of Finance.

We proposed a list of 9 items. These are described in the supplemental material, and can be boiled down into 4 overarching themes:

  • Fulfill promises on intercity public transport
  • Continue to invest wisely in GTHA transit
  • Cancel the GTA West expressway (Highway 413)
  • Support Short Line Railways

Our submission can be viewed here:

Jan 23

High Speed Rail in Ontario – Opposition, not NIMBYism

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News

Transport Action Ontario (TAO) recently became aware of a student project at Western University from March, 2020 that addressed NIMBYism. One of the case studies was “High Speed Rail in Ontario and the 2014-2018 Opposition Movement”. The study alleged that groups like TAO and InterCity Rail were engaged in NIMBYism.

We have taken the opportunity to write back to the university, indicating we are strongly pro-rail and that our opposition was due to the total absence of technical, financial and suitability evidence. Our concerns were:

  • Costs understated
  • Ridership overstated
  • Road closure social and economic issues not considered
  • Urban tunneling not considered
  • Travel time improvements overstated
  • No preliminary studies
  • Scope exclusion, in that alternatives like High Performance Rail not considered
  • Hidden energy costs

We concluded by offering further engagement and dialogue. Our letter can be viewed below: