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Bring GO train service to K-W/Guelph/Cambridge!

Barrie recently received GO train service, but three cities with a total population four times the size, and closer to Toronto, still lack this basic commuting tool. Our roads are full, our air is heavy, and our patience is thin. Bring GO service to Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Cambridge!

I have written about the need for it before, and my friends and I have been talking about the need for GO service amongst ourselves for a while. Now we are doing something about it.

We have province-wide municipal elections coming up in just over a month, and it is time we make mass transit an election issue.

To that end, we are launching GOKW.org, a website dedicated to the expansion of GO train service to our region. You will note the addition of the "GO K-W" button in the right navigation bar on this site. I encourage anyone who supports GO service to this area to add this button to their website, with the help of this code:

<a href="http://www.gokw.org/"><img src="http://cdlu.net/images/GOKW-04.jpg"></a>

Below is our official press release.

GOKW.org to Promote Commuter Rail Service to Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, and Acton

Grassroots community website intended to promote new commuter options, with a goal of expanding GO Transit commuter train service through to the Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Cambridge region.

GUELPH, Ontario - October 5, 2006 - GOKW.org is pleased to announce its introduction to the world. GOKW.org exists to promote alternative commuter transit options to the Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Cambridge region.

The region of Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge has a population of nearly a half million people, but to this date the region is woefully under-serviced by mass transit commuter systems, resulting in endlessly frustrating and polluting traffic gridlock as residents who commute to the GTA use the only means available -- their cars.

For our entire region of half a million people, there exists only one commuter train operated by Via Rail with a capacity of fewer than 500 passengers and a restrictive schedule and route that does not permit commuters to travel to parts of the GTA outside of Brampton, and the Toronto downtown core. Limited, slow bus service exists, fighting the same highway traffic drivers would like to avoid.

Why, as our cities continue to grow, and as GO Transit expands in every other direction, has our region been forgotten by the commuter network?

What challenges does our region face to bring the municipal and provincial governments on side to introduce proper commuter rail service?

What can you, the average citizen, do to help make this happen?

The answers to these questions and much more can be found at GOKW.org. This grassroots site is meant to be a gathering place for information, news, and discussion about the future of commuter options for the Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge region.

Why now? Municipal elections are upon us and the candidates for municipal office need to know that the people of our region are concerned about our clogged streets, filthy lungs, and endless commutes. We need to let our candidates know that we believe GO trains are the answer, and we need to let our candidates know that we must act fast, while land is still available to build the stations and infrastructure needed to bring this service to the region.

This municipal term will be four years. Our region cannot wait four more years to get started on this serious problem. The next four years will be pivotal in the evolution of GO transit and of our region.

GOKW.org will follow all the information available, including the positions of candidates, in bringing GO Transit commuter trains to our region, and GOKW.org will provide the citizens of the Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge region with a solid voice and a consolidated source of information.

ABOUT GOKW.org

GOKW.org is a grassroots community website that is not affiliated with any other organization, including GO Transit. GOKW.org exists to promote alternative commuter transit options for the Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge region, and to provide an ongoing single source of news and information on the expansion of GO service to our region.

For more information, see http://www.gokw.org/, email press@gokw.org, or call 519-836-7186.

Posted at 09:00 on October 05, 2006

This entry has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.

Policy alternatives: Strict Main Highway Traffic Laws | guelph transit | The front-runners: All could be Prime Minister, given time


shoshanaberman writes at Thu Oct 5 11:29:05 2006...

Guelph/KW did have Go train service about ten years ago. I think it would be more environmentally friend ly to encourage more freight to travel this line to the boarder and get the trucks off the 401. This also may be why it was cancelled. Train lines on the TO-Windsor corridor are regualrly used for VIA and freight service already n ways that the TO to Barrie line would not be. A better idea would simply be to offer cheaper commuter tickets on Via with perhaps two more trains added, subsidized by the government, as the trains already stop at all the stations. There really is no reason for GO to service this area. it is already serviced by VIA. Commuters just need more incentive to use it.


cdlu writes at Thu Oct 5 11:32:36 2006...

shoshana,

Yeah, there was GO service as far as Guelph from 1990 to 1993. It ran one single train a day which departed too early in the morning to be really useful, and lacked adequate parking.

To be successful, GO service has to be more frequent and go all the way to Kitchener.

Also, the line through Guelph is operated by Goderich-Exeter Railway, a shortline that is doing quite well in expanding its rail business on the line. But getting trucks off the road and onto trains is a very difficult proposition as roads are public and maintained by the taxpayer, and rails are private and maintained by the company. The companies therefore have to charge more to pay for their maintenance.

The Via service is fairly limited, providing only one train a day for commuters. It also goes directly downtown, so all the Mississauga, Weston, etc. area commuters can't make good use of it.


JB writes at Thu Oct 5 11:52:55 2006...

When they bring the Penguins to KW, GO-trains will follow.


sberman writes at Thu Oct 5 14:52:44 2006...

The via train stops at the same stations the go train stops at, exactly so I'm not sure what you are talking about and CN owns the lines through Guelph. You are probably thinking about the Guelph junction railway which is a completely different line. There is no need for Go train service to Guelph.


cdlu writes at Thu Oct 5 15:11:27 2006...

Shoshana,

Guelph is serviced by two shortlines. Neither CN nor CP operate in Guelph. The GEXR operates the Guelph subdivision, which it rents from Canadian National on a 21 year lease starting in 1998, from CN Silver Junction at Georgetown to CN London Junction, a span of around 90 miles.

Ontario Southland Railway operates on the Guelph Junction Railway from CP Guelph Junction in Campbellville to the junction with the Guelph North Spur behind the ABB plant in North Guelph. GEXR and OSR share the industrial trackage in North Guelph.

Via train number #86 originates at London and stops in St. Mary's, Stratford, Kitchener, Guelph, Georgetown, Brampton, and Union Station. It stops at Guelph at 07:05 and arrives at Union at 08:20.

Via train number #87 departs Union at 17:40 and operates the same route in reverse, but continues on all the way to Sarnia.

GO service operates four trains out of Georgetown and another out of Bramalea. GO bus connections exist from Guelph to Georgetown and are being added to Kitchener and Cambridge.

GO trains would originate at Breslau, just East of Kitchener, and stop at Guelph, Acton, Georgetown, Mount Pleasant, Brampton, Bramalea, Malton, Etobicoke North, Weston, Bloor, and Union Station. It would operate at multiple times, not limited to a 07:05, nor to a Union station termination. They would also operate on the CP Galt subdivision from Cambridge to connect to the Milton line's six existing GO trains. There is currently no useful commuter service to Cambridge.

Via Rail's mandate is as an inter-regional passenger carrier. GO Transit's mandate is as a commuter service for the Toronto region. It is not within Via's mandate to provide commuter service to Toronto, nor is the service they provide useful for anyone but people who work in downtown Toronto on a 9-5 schedule.

Guelph was not the city it is today when GO service was cancelled to the city in 1993, and a properly equipped and scheduled GO train on our line would be a huge economical and ecological asset to our whole region. Guelph's Via station has parking for barely 50 cars, while GO stations normally have between 250 and well over a thousand free parking spots. GO trains can also seat 1500 passengers per, while Via #86 cannot even seat 500.

Part of this is also about planning for the future. Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Cambridge are all expanding very rapidly. In another generation I expect the three cities to be only one city, and having an established useful commuter rail network will be imperative for our entire region to be able to transition to this state smoothly.

We need to plan for the future of our region. We are not doing that right now.


SBender writes at Thu Oct 5 15:41:03 2006...

I would definatly use a GO train from Guelph. I live about an hour north of Guelph and hate having to drive into the core myself. This would be great!


Russ writes at Mon Nov 6 13:18:03 2006...

Two things.

#1. I definately agree with the fact that we need GO train service here in the Guelph/KW area.

#2. A reminder, the next provincial election is less than a year away (Oct. 4/07), who are you supporting? (FYI, i'm supporting Liz Sandals, MPP)

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