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First public meeting for GO train expansion to Guelph and Waterloo region

There are three public information centres scheduled for the "Georgetown to Kitchener Rail Expansion Feasibility Study and Class Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Design" by GO Transit. These will take place on:

Tuesday Sept. 23rd, 2008
Italian Canadian Club
135 Ferguson St.

Thursday Sept. 25th, 2008
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
54 Queen St. North

Wednesday Oct 1, 2008
Halton Hills Cultural Centre
9 Church St.
Halton Hills

Needless to say, I will be at the Guelph one.

I consider the expansion of GO Transit to Guelph and Kitchener (and Cambridge, but that is not covered by this environmental assessment) to be years over due, and will be actively encouraging this project.

As I have mentioned many times before, Guelph has a perfect location for an excellent multi-modal transit station with a lot of parking, and space for high density residential targeted to commuters. It is in immediate danger as an application to turn this perfect property into a Costco is currently winding its way through the Ontario Municipal Board.

The study area is much larger than just Guelph and, interestingly, stretches from the relatively new Mount Pleasant GO station, built about 3 years ago, to Baden, almost 10 miles West of the Kitchener VIA station, and quite a bit further than I anticipated this study area to cover. While the announcement from GO does not say so, I expect that the stretch from Kitchener to Baden will be without passengers to park the trains at night, but I may be wrong about that. This study area represents nearly 50 miles of main line tracks, 43 miles of which GO trains do not currently service.

The vision I have for this line may be somewhat more ambitious than the current plans being studied by GO, but what I would like to see is 4 GO trains continuing to originate at their current home at the Georgetown station, with only 1 or 2 more starting at Baden. I would like to see the ones at Georgetown commence their journeys by travelling west to Kitchener before heading back east to Toronto, and continuing all the way to Kitchener before returning to Georgetown at the end of the day. This would, for minimal extra cost to GO, allow Guelph and Kitchener to have meaningful inter-city rail commuter service of its own.

I hope for the placement of the initial GO stations to be at, approximately:

Actonpark-and-ridemile 36
Guelph Via stationcity bus connectionmile 48
Guelph former Lafarge propertypark-and-ridemile 50
Breslaupark-and-ridemile 57
Kitchener Via stationcity bus connectionmile 64
Badenpark-and-ridemile 73

There is no reason for the train's night parking to not also handle passenger boarding. Guelph Junction's GO terminal, which was in service for some 27 years, never allowed passenger boarding even though 5 commuter trains parked there every night. Had that been the case, Cambridge and Guelph residents would have had easy access to Milton-line GO train service with no substantial difference in cost for GO, except the addition of a parking lot at Guelph Junction (near Campbellville).

I look forward to the results of the Public Information Centre next week and hope that you all come out to show your support for rekindled rail service in this region.

Posted at 10:52 on September 18, 2008

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Day 50 of the Guelph campaign | transit | GO trains to run to Guelph and Kitchener by 2011

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