unveils all-day trains plan
January 27th 2010 | Source: The Hamilton Spectator |
Hamilton will see 20 additional commuter
trains a day, and Niagara eight trains, if a proposal to bring
expanded rail service to Niagara becomes reality.
Transit unveiled a plan last night at the Sheraton Hotel in
which it aims to extend all-day train service -- that now goes
to Aldershot -- to a proposed station on the Canadian National
Rail line at James Street North.
That would involve 10 trains each way between the proposed new
Hamilton station and Union Station in Toronto. Niagara would see
four trains each way between Union Station and Niagara Falls.
Hamilton would keep its eight trains -- four each way -- that
now run between Union Station and the former Toronto, Hamilton
and Buffalo Railway station on Hunter Street.
The proposal is part of the GO Niagara Rail Service Expansion
study that GO hopes to complete by the end of the year. If
approved, and funded by the province, the new services could be
on track within five years. Cost has not been determined.
GO officials showed off their proposal at a public open house.
GO is looking at expanded rail service in line with Ontario
projection's that the Hamilton-Niagara area will have a
population of two million by 2031.
GO did study potential passenger rail service for the Canadian
Pacific Railway line between Hamilton, Welland and Niagara
Falls, but it had a lower evaluation compared with the CN line,
considering travel time, state of the line and closeness to
The CN line is 72 kilometres between Aldershot and Niagara
Falls, compared with 111 kilometres between Aldershot and
Niagara Falls through Welland.
GO manager Greg Ashbee called the CN option "a slam dunk," but
he said the CP line might be considered again one day.
"Never say never," he said.
The CP option was something explored by Ward 2 Councillor Bob
Bratina and the City of Welland in 2008.
GO is proposing to have new stations on the CN line at James
Street North and Centennial Parkway in Hamilton; Fruitland Road
and Fifty Road in Stoney Creek; Casablanca Boulevard and
Bartlett Avenue in Grimsby; and Ontario Street and Vineland
Avenue in Lincoln. It is aiming to use the existing VIA stations
in Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.
Layovers for trains are proposed for First Avenue, Vansickle
Road and Glendale Avenue in St. Catharines. A layover is also
being looked at for Centennial Parkway.
Ashbee stressed the site selections are just proposals and will
likely get pared down as the process moves towards the end of
2010, including a second public meeting.
"We've recommended a route," he said. "We haven't selected
stations and layovers."
Brothers Matt, 28, and Dan Thompson, 26, were among the people
who came out to look over the plans. They liked what they saw,
although they had their own ideas about station locations. Both
believed GO should look at establishing a station near Ottawa
Street North or the Centre Mall in east Hamilton.
"There's a ton of people who live in that area who might want to
take the train to Toronto," said Dan Thompson, an environmental
science student at McMaster.