GO Transit Lakeshore West line

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Lakeshore West line

Distance 63.2 kilometres
Service periods 7 days a week
Ridership 60,000 (2014)
Bus connections 11, 12, 15, 16, 18

The Lakeshore West line (internally: 18 Lakeshore West) is a GO Transit commuter train line operating in the Greater Toronto Area. The line runs from Toronto Union Station in the east to its western terminus of West Harbour GO Station in Hamilton. Service on the Lakeshore Wast line is augmented by a bus service traveling further west to the Niagara Region. GO Transit also offers a seasonal excursion train that terminates at Niagara Falls VIA Rail Station.

The very first trip in this corridor is actually done by a bus, a branch of route 18. It departs Hamilton GO Centre at 04:15 making select stops along the way. A connection is made at Oakville GO Station to another branch for other stations. The first train leaves Aldershot GO Station at 05:03 bound for Union. The first train outbound from Union departs at 06:13. During rush hour, trains can run up to 10 minutes apart and certain trains skip some stops, therefore running an express service. During off-peak hours trains run every half-hour with the last train departing Union at 00:43. The last two trips are done by route 18 at 01:30 and 02:30.

History

Towards the end of the 1950s, provincial and municipal governments recognized that the growth in what is now the Greater Toronto Area could not be sustained around highways and the private automobile. The Metropolitan Toronto and Region Transportation Study (MTARTS) was commissioned in 1962. This series of reports looked at the possibility of commuter rail playing a larger role in serving and facilitating regional development.[1] Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) had existing commuter services at the time. One of these services, operated by CN, connected Toronto with Hamilton along the lakeshore. These tracks also led further east.

In 1965, Premier John Robarts announced plans for a commuter line on an established CN corridor between Oakville and Dunbarton (part of Pickering) on an experimental basis. The service was called Government of Ontario Transit (GO Transit) and was inaugurated on May 23, 1967. The first train left Oakville GO Station at 05:50 bound for Toronto Union Station. At 06:00 at train departed Pickering GO Station in the opposite direction.[1]

Coincident with the launch of GO Transit's Lakeshore line, CN ended their Lakeshore commuter service. The bulk of GO's service was between Oakville and Pickering, however the limited connection to Hamilton and points west of Oakville was maintained. These included: Bronte GO Station and Burlington GO Station.[1]

The Lakeshore line was an immediate success. Weekend service was introduced a few months later on July 1, 1967, and mid-day service eventually became hourly. Appleby GO Station, located between Bronte and Burlington, opened on September 19, 1988. Trains continued to operate only as far as Oakville GO Station during off-peak. On May 25, 1992, this was extended to a new station west of Burlington GO Station, Aldershot.[2] However, due to budget cuts in 1993, off-peak service resumed to going as far as Oakville.

In order to better connect GO Transit service to Hamilton's downtown, GO Transit re-routed trains from the Canadian National Railway station at James Street North to the former Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway. It was renovated and opened as the Hamilton GO Centre on April 30, 1996.[3] Train and bus service were consolidated at the new facility. Buses used to serve the Hamilton Bus Terminal on Rebecca Street prior.

Off-peak service to Burlington GO Station resumed in 2000. As part of the GO Transit Rail Improvement Program (GO TRIP), off-peak service was again extended to Aldershot on September 4, 2007. A third track was added to the rail corridor from just west of Burlington GO Station to Bayview Junction.[4]

By 2008, GO Transit began to seriously look at serving the Niagara Region. In May 2009, limited weekend and holiday train service stopping at St. Catharines VIA Station and Niagara Falls VIA during the summer was announced. The service, which runs from Union and stops at Port Credit GO Station, Oakville GO Station, Burlington GO Station along the way, began on June 27, 2009. GO Transit offered four train trips per day until October 12.[5]

GO Transit began examining locations for new GO Stations along the Hamilton—Niagara corridor to meet their goal of offering full seven-day-a-week service. Hamilton city council selected the former Canadian National station on James Street North as a preferred location. The design of the new station, called West Harbour, was announced in 2013 and would be open in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Service began on July 9, 2015 with four trains per day.

Future

GO had been looking at eventually operating regular service to the Niagara Region. From 2014 to 2016, the rail bridge spanning Centennial Parkway was rebuilt to accommodate four tracks and part of a planned station in Stoney Creek. As part of their 2015 budget, the province committed funds to extend service past West Harbour GO Station into Stoney Creek. The new station at Centennial Parkway in eastern Hamilton will be called Confederation—named for the nearby park. Construction is expected to begin in 2017, with completion in 2019.[6] However, as of 2021, major construction of the station had not started.

In June 2016, the province announced it will be pursuing the extension of the line to Niagara Falls. Service to Grimsby was expected to commence in 2021, while service to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls was expected to commence in 2023. A new station was to be built at Casablanca Boulevard in Grimsby, now served by a GO Bus park-and-ride. Trains would then serve the existing VIA Rail stations in Grimsby, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls.[7] However, a new government in 2018 meant a change in the delivery process. Metrolinx would require a third-party agreement for the design and construction of the new Grimsby station which, as of 2021, has yet be made.

Stations

Station name Date opened Notes
Toronto Union Station August 6, 1927
Exhibition GO Station 1968
Mimico GO Station May 23, 1967
Long Branch GO Station May 23, 1967
Port Credit GO Station May 1967 Replaced Lorne Park GO Station shortly after service began.
Clarkson GO Station May 23, 1967
Oakville GO Station May 23, 1967
Bronte GO Station November 1967 Relocated shortly after service began and was originally named Oakville West.
Appleby GO Station September 19, 1988
Burlington GO Station March 1980 Relocated east of original location 13 years after service began.
Aldershot GO Station May 25, 1992
Hamilton GO Centre April 29, 1996
West Harbour GO Station July 9, 2015
St. Catharines VIA Rail Station June 27, 2009
Niagara Falls VIA Rail Station June 27, 2009

Route Maps

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sergeant, Wilfred. Building GO-Transit: The rail commuter initiative of The Government of Ontario & Canadian National Railways. HTA Press: 2004, Starkville. Web.
  2. "GO Transit Extending Train Service to Burlington, Cutting Bus Service." Toronto Star: A4. May 09 1992. ProQuest. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
  3. Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto S. "Train Station Gets New Life Depot Restored for GO Transit." Toronto Star". Jul 13 1996. ProQuest. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
  4. "Governments and GO Transit Announce Extended Rail Service to Aldershot GO Station." Canada NewsWire: 1. Aug 29 2007. ProQuest. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
  5. "GO Trains Set to Roll into Niagara Falls this Summer - New Service Starts June 27." Canada NewsWireJun 09 2009. ProQuest. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.
  6. Ontario Investing Up to $1 Billion for Light Rail Transit in Hamilton. Press release.
  7. GO expansion: commuter trains set to connect Hamilton to Niagara within five years


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Routes & Stations
Barrie Union - Downsview Park - Rutherford - Maple - King City - Aurora - Newmarket - East Gwillimbury - Bradford - Barrie South - Allandale Waterfront
Kitchener Union - Bloor - Weston - Etobicoke North - Malton - Bramalea - Brampton - Mount Pleasant - Georgetown - Acton - Guelph Central - Kitchener - Stratford - St. Marys - London
Lakeshore East Union - Danforth - Scarborough - Eglinton - Guildwood - Rouge Hill - Pickering - Ajax - Whitby - Oshawa - Thornton Corners - Oshawa Central - Courtice - Bowmanville
Lakeshore West Union - Exhibition - Mimico - Long Branch - Port Credit - Clarkson - Oakville - Bronte - Appleby - Burlington - Aldershot - Hamilton - West Harbour - Confederation - Casablanca - St. Catharines - Niagara Falls
Milton Union - Kipling - Dixie - Cooksville - Erindale - Streetsville - Meadowvale - Lisgar - Milton
Niagara Falls Union - Port Credit - Oakville - Burlington - St. Catharines - Niagara Falls
Richmond Hill Union - Oriole - Old Cummer - Langstaff - Richmond Hill - Gormley - Bloomington
Stouffville Union - Kennedy - Agincourt - Milliken - Unionville - Centennial - Markham - Mount Joy - Stouffville - Old Elm