GO Transit

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GO Transit
System map
click on map to enlarge
Reporting marks GOT
Locale Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) plus environs
Dates of operation 1967–present
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario

GO Transit (reporting mark GOT) is the interregional public transit system serving the conurbation in Ontario, Canada referred to by Metrolinx as the "Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area" (GTHA)[1] and extending to several communities beyond it. GO carries over 50 million passengers a year using an extensive network of train and bus services; rail service is provided by diesel locomotives pulling trains of unpowered double-deck passenger cars, while most bus service is provided by inter-city coaches.

Canada's first such new system since before World War II, GO Transit began regular passenger service on May 23, 1967 under the auspices of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Over time it has been constituted in a variety of public-sector configurations, today existing as a provincial crown agency legally known as the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA). GO is headed by a board consisting of appointees of the province and GTHA municipalities. The Greater Toronto Transportation Act, 2006 provides for the eventual transfer of responsibility for GO Transit to Metrolinx, after the applicable sections of the Act are proclaimed in force. [2]

[edit] Service area

The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) consists of the City of Toronto, the City of Hamilton, and the surrounding Regions of Halton, Peel, York, and Durham. Each of these cities or regional municipalities has representation in GO's governance structures. GO Transit also reaches beyond the GTHA into Simcoe, Dufferin, and Wellington Counties, although service to these jurisdictions is generally less extensive, and with the exception of Barrie and Bradford, bus-based only.

In total, GO trains and buses serve a population of 7 million in an 8,000 km² (3,000 sq.mi.) area radiating in places more than 100 km (60 mi) from downtown Toronto. Present extrema are Hamilton and Guelph to the west; Orangeville, Barrie, and Beaverton to the north; and Port Perry and Newcastle to the east.

Cab Control Car of a GO Train with a view of the CN Tower in the background.

The GO system map shows seven train routes, all departing from Toronto's Union Station and mostly named respectively after the outer terminus of train service. Although colours and letters, noted below, are assigned in a consistent fashion to each line in all official media, in practice lines are rarely referred to by anything other than their names.

A Lakeshore West line (to Hamilton, with buses to Stoney Creek)
B Lakeshore East line (to Oshawa, with buses to Newcastle)
C Milton line
D Georgetown line (to Georgetown, with buses to Guelph)
E Barrie line
F Richmond Hill line
G Stouffville line (to Lincolnville, with buses to Uxbridge)

The Lakeshore East and West rail lines frequently operate on an interlined basis: most off-peak and some peak-period trains provide through service between stations east and west of Toronto. With this exception, however, direct movement between the various "legs" is quite limited. While several GO buses run on orbital routes that connect multiple legs, all rail-based interchange from one line to another (with the aforementioned exception of the Lakeshore lines) requires switching trains at Union Station. (Trains on multiple routes pass through or by each of the Bloor, Danforth and Scarborough railway stations, but each station is assigned to a single corridor and only accordingly-routed trains stop there.)

Only the two Lakeshore lines operate throughout the day - the rest operate only during the morning and evening peaks, providing inbound services in the morning and outbound services in the evening.

[edit] Rail

A GO Transit train on its way out of Toronto

GO trains are easily identifiable; all rolling stock is green and white, and the carriages are double-decked and shaped like elongated octagons. These Bombardier BiLevel carriages were originally designed for GO in the 1970s, and are now used by a number of other commuter railways across the continent. GO Trains generally operate in a push-pull configuration.

Most of the GO Train route network operates only in peak rush-hour periods and then only in the primary direction of travel. For example, as of February 2006, the Milton line service consists of six trains leaving Milton each weekday between 6:25 and 7:58 a.m.[3], and six trains leaving Toronto each weekday between 4:30 and 7:00 p.m[4].

There is off-peak train service on parts of the Lakeshore and Georgetown lines. Hourly trains operate on weekdays off-peak hours and weekends between Aldershot and Oshawa. The Georgetown line has a more limited off-peak train service between Toronto and Bramalea.

Although it owns its locomotives and carriages, as well as extensive portions of the trackage on the Barrie and Stouffville lines, GO is required to work closely with commercial railways Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, who continue to own and operate most of the tracks, switches and signals. Until recently, all train crews were also employees of one of the two railways, and GO Train service has been previously disrupted by non GO Transit-related labour disputes.

A five-year contract with Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. meant 160 unionized engineers, conductors and newly coined "customer service ambassadors" replaced Canadian National crews operating the trains on six of GO's seven lines. Bombardier will continue to run trains with three-person crews, but their functions will change a bit. Traditionally, the conductor focuses on safe operation, but also does customer service. Bombardier will put two engineers on each train, each driving in just one direction. When not driving, the spare engineer will handle operations. The crew person stationed in the accessible coach, formerly the conductor, will be a customer service ambassador.[5]

On the remaining line (the Milton line), GO continues to contract out the operation of its trains to the Canadian Pacific Railway, where operations continue as before.

[edit] Bus

Founded 1970
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Service area Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and environs
Service type Intercity coach service
Fleet 305 [6]
Operator GO Transit
Web site Official Web site

Each train route has a corresponding GO Bus service for the times (and directions) when the trains are not operating. These accept the same tickets as the trains and in many cases serve the same stations. For example, buses operate from Toronto to Milton, and from Aldershot station in West Burlington to Hamilton, at all times except the weekday evening peak when trains are available. Some train routes are similarly extended by buses at all times, as noted in the list of routes, with through buses when the trains do not run. Thus buses to Guelph operate from Georgetown in the evening peak, and from Toronto at other times. Buses serving downtown Toronto operate to a terminal adjacent to Union Station.

Union Station Bus terminal

Still other GO Buses are independent of rail services. Some parts of the route network use expressways (such as the frequent Toronto–Hamilton express bus via the Queen Elizabeth Way) while others are more local in character. Toronto Pearson International Airport is served by two routes: one from Brampton to Yorkdale and York Mills subway stations, and one from Mississauga City Centre to Richmond Hill City Centre.

Most GO buses are of inter-city coach design, and carry approximately 50 passengers. Double-decker coaches debuted in April 2008, exclusively operating on GO's Highway 407 and Highway 403 corridor on the Oakville GO Station branch.[7] They feature reclining seats, 12-volt AC outlets, and other amenities.[7] Once GO receives more, it will provide service to York Region.[7] GO also operates several Orion V buses, which more closely resemble conventional urban transit buses. These vehicles are used primarily on routes that are more local in nature, such as the Yonge Street and Highway 2 (Kingston Road) corridors. When York Region Transit took over most of the service on Yonge Street, a number of these Orion Vs were sold to them. All GO Buses are diesel-powered.

[edit] Connections

GO connects with every municipal transit system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, plus Barrie Transit and Guelph Transit.

[edit] TTC connections

Thousands of passengers move between GO and TTC service at Union Station on Toronto's Front Street

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) provides the most connections with GO Trains and convenient connections can be made between the trains and TTC buses, streetcars, and subway trains.

Immediately adjacent to the GO concourse at Union Station is the Union subway station on the TTC's Yonge-University Spadina line. The Union subway station also includes the terminus for the TTC's Harbourfront (509) and Spadina (510) streetcar lines.

Four subway stations on the TTC's Bloor-Danforth line either are close to or directly connect to GO Train stations:

The Leslie subway station on the Sheppard subway line does not currently connect with the nearby Oriole GO Station on the Richmond Hill line, but there has been consideration given to building a connection to TTC Leslie Station in the future as the platform at Oriole was recently moved further north to allow for it.

Additionally, three GO bus terminals are on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line, at Finch, York Mills, and Yorkdale, and one is located on the Scarborough RT at Scarborough Centre.

All GO Train stations within the City of Toronto are adjacent to TTC bus routes, and Danforth, Exhibition, Bloor, and Long Branch stations are also on streetcar routes.

[edit] Connections elsewhere in the GTHA

Municipal transit systems outside Toronto remain purely bus-based to date. Buses operated by Durham Region Transit, York Region Transit, Brampton Transit, Mississauga Transit, Milton Transit, Oakville Transit, Burlington Transit and the Hamilton Street Railway connect with GO stations and stops in their respective jurisdictions.

York Region's Viva bus rapid transit system interchanges with the GO Train system at two stations. Viva Blue connects with Langstaff GO Station on the Richmond Hill line, and the peak-only Viva Pink connects with Unionville GO Station on the Stouffville line.

[edit] Ridership

GO runs 180 train trips and 1,430 bus trips daily, carrying about 190,000 passengers on a typical weekday — 160,000 on the trains and 30,000 by bus. GO says that their ridership growth has continually exceeded expectations. In 1967, the first year of operation, 2.5 million passengers were carried. The combined rail and bus system today handles more than 50 million riders annually[8], and GO Transit achieved its one billionth passenger mark on October 11, 2006[citation needed].

At least 96% of the train ridership is to and from Union Station in downtown Toronto, while about 70% of all bus passengers travel to and from the City of Toronto.

Inside a GO Train, upper deck with stairs leading down at the back
Number of Passenger Trips (2006) [6]
Rail lines
    Lakeshore West 13,561,100
Milton 6,049,400
Georgetown 3,821,300
Bradford 2,310,200
Richmond Hill 2,042,100
Stouffville 2,675,000
Lakeshore East 10,767,200
Subtotal - Rail lines 41,226,300
Bus routes
All GO Bus Service 7,065,700
Total - GO System 48,292,000

[edit] History

[edit] Creation of GO Transit

Oakville GO Station, the original western terminus for all-day service

GO Transit was created and funded by the provincial government in 1967 as Government of Ontario Transit (hence the acronym 'GO') and was financed entirely by the Province of Ontario until the end of 1997. The Province subsidized any operating costs that were not recovered through revenue, as well as all capital costs. Responsibility for the system was then transferred to the Toronto Area Transportation Operating Authority (TATOA) and later to the Greater Toronto Services Board as part of the province's 'downloading' initiative, before finally returning to the province as a Crown Agency under Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA).

GO began as a three-year experiment on May 23, 1967[9] running single-deck diesel multiple units on a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline. All day GO Train service ran from Oakville to Pickering with limited rush hour train service to Hamilton. Lakeshore GO trains carried 2.5 million riders that first year and was considered to be a success. GO Bus service, which started out in 1970 as an extension of the original Lakeshore train line, has since become a full-fledged network in its own right. It feeds the rail service and serves communities that trains do not reach.

[edit] Expansion in the 1970s and 1980s

Expansion continued in the 1970s with the introduction of the Georgetown line in 1974 and the Richmond Hill line in 1978. Also in 1978 the GO Transit bi-level railcars were introduced, although many of the bi-level trains had to run with a single level cab car at first. Finally in 1979 the current GO Train concourse at Union Station was built. In 1981 the Milton GO Train line opened. In 1982 the Bradford line and Stouffville line opened.

[edit] Proposed GO ALRT System

Towards the end of 1982 Ontario Minister of Transportation and Communications, James Snow, announced the launching GO ALRT, an interregional rapid transit program.[10] This is a transit system that would have allowed computer controlled trains to run at a maximum frequency of two minutes instead of the usual twenty minutes during rush hour. One line would have replaced the Lakeshore GO Train line and would have run from Hamilton to Oshawa. The other would have connected Oakville with downtown Mississauga, Pearson Airport, downtown North York and the Scarborough Town Centre before finally terminating at Pickering. A short lived third line would have run north-south connecting Brampton with Mississauga. The rail cars (designed by The Urban Transportation Development Corporation) started out as an ICTS train similar to the Scarborough RT later evolved in 1983 to the length of roughly a Toronto subway train. Further redesign in 1984/85 indicated that greater carrying capacity was going to be required resulting in cars similar in length to VIA's LRC coach car. Meanwhile Hamilton residents were strongly opposed to the plan which caused the proposal to go under in 1985 which was also a result of long time Ontario PC premier Bill Davis being replaced by the late Ontario PC leader Frank Miller who served only a few months in office.

With the end of GO ALRT and the creation of a coalition provincial government between the Ontario NDP and Ontario Liberals, it was decided that certain parts of the GO ALRT proposal would live on, in the form of a GO Train extension of all-day GO Train service to Whitby and Burlington. The tracks between Pickering and Whitby were originally built for the GO ALRT system but were soon converted to handle conventional GO Trains. All day GO Train service was brought to Whitby in 1988.

[edit] Reduction of service in the 1990s

In the 1990s, the era of continuous growth came to end. Ridership shrank as a result of a recession in the early part of the decade. In spite of this, GO extended limited rush hour GO Train service to Barrie, Guelph, Acton and Oshawa in 1990. In the same year, GO also introduced off-peak train service on the Milton line, much of which only operated as far west as Erindale. In May, 1992, while GO Transit celebrated its 25th birthday, all-day GO Train service was extended to Burlington with the building of a new station at Aldershot. However, in 1993 former Ontario premier Bob Rae announced the Social Contract, which would see a "temporary" reduction in spending on services. Consequentially GO Train service to Barrie, Guelph and Acton was eliminated. All day GO Train service to Whitby and Burlington was reduced to rush hours only (while limited rush hour train service to Oshawa and Hamilton remained in place). All day Lakeshore train service existed only between Pickering and Oakville. In 1995 a new set of tracks and a station were built in Oshawa, allowing for frequent rush hour GO Train service to Oshawa. In 1996, off-peak service ceased on the Milton line.

With the election of former Ontario premier Mike Harris in June 1995, plans for expanding GO Transit were put on hold as part of an overall reduction in government spending.

[edit] Shifting of responsibilities

In January 1997, the province announced it would hand over funding responsibility for GO Transit to the Greater Toronto Area municipalities (which consist of the City of Toronto, and the Regions of Halton, Peel, York, and Durham) and the neighbouring Region of Hamilton-Wentworth (which became the new City of Hamilton on 1 January 2001). In exchange, the province would assume certain other funding responsibilities from municipal governments.

A year later, on 1 January 1998, the GTA municipalities and Hamilton-Wentworth (now the city of Hamilton) began to fund GO Transit, cost-sharing all of GO's capital expenses and any operating costs that are not recovered through passenger fares and other revenue. On 1 January 1999, a new municipal agency created by the province came into being: the Greater Toronto Services Board (GTSB), composed of regional chairs, municipal mayors, and local councillors from the GTSB's service area. GO Transit transferred over to the municipal sector as an arm of the GTSB (Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority) on August 7, 1999, thus completing the process that had begun with the funding change of 1998.

In 2000, all day GO Train service was restored from Burlington to Whitby and finally brought to Oshawa (although weekend & holiday Lakeshore GO Train service would still only see service between Pickering and Oakville).

On September 27, 2001, Ontario Premier Mike Harris announced that the Provincial government would be taking back responsibility for GO Transit, and putting $3 billion into public transit in Ontario. For the practically impoverished GO, it was a welcome funding commitment.

The GO Transit Act, 2001 was passed by the Ontario Legislature on December 5, 2001. As of January 1, 2002, GO Transit is no longer the responsibility of the municipalities of the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. GO has returned to provincial responsibility as a Crown Corporation, and the Greater Toronto Services Board no longer exists.

[edit] Recent developments

On December 30, 2006, the GO Train service was fully restored along the Lakeshore East line to Oshawa, having service include weekends and holidays.

On September 4, 2007, much of the weekday train service on the Lakeshore West line was extended to Aldershot station, although many rush hour trains continue to originate and terminate at Burlington for the time being.

On October 28, 2007, GO Train service was fully restored along the Lakeshore West line to Aldershot, having service include weekends and holidays.

In the Fall of 2007, GO Transit added a new Bus service between the University of Guelph and Cooksville, with additional stops at Aberfoyle and Square One. Additionally, the Highway 407 express route servicing the Meadowvale and Bramalea GO stations and York University was extended to the University of Guelph. A new park and ride facility was also built in Aberfoyle at Brock and McLean roads near the 401, which doubles as a storage facility for GO Buses in the Guelph area.

On December 17, 2007, the Bradford line was extended to Barrie South GO Station, restoring GO Train service to Barrie for the first time in 15 years.

On April 8, 2008, Run 151 on the Milton line saw the first revenue service for 12 car trains. Cab car 248 was in the lead with 605 pushing it by itself. Only two of six trips in both directions are scheduled to be operated with 12 car trains at this time.

On May 2, 2008, all trips on the Milton line were served with 12 car trains for the first time, and this is now permanent.

On June 28, 2008, train-meet service was added between Burlington and Stoney Creek, and between Bronte and Milton GO Stations.

On September 2, 2008, train service on the Stouffville line was extended to Lincolnville GO Station. All train-meet service now connects at Lincolnville (rather than at Mount Joy for northbound trips and Stouffville for southbound trips).

[edit] Future expansion

The majority of GO Transit expansion projects presently underway fall under the funding umbrella of the GO Transit Rail Improvement Plan, or GO TRIP. This initiative, though seen as substantial at the time of its initial proposition in the mid-2000s, has since been dwarfed by a further slate of new GO infrastructure proposed in MoveOntario 2020, the provincial transit plan announced in 2007.

[edit] GO TRIP

GO TRIP is a jointly-funded plan, with the federal, provincial, and municipal governments contributing to the costs on a one-third/one-third/one-third cost-sharing basis. Federal funding was committed by the then-Liberal federal government through their Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund; since the election of Stephen Harper's Conservatives, there have been no further federal funding commitments for new infrastructure. Detailed information on these expansion projects can be found on the GO TRIP website.

GO TRIP's priority was augmenting the capacity and reliability of the existing GO rail network, but not substantively expanding the catchment area or adding new corridors. The majority of spending was allocated to reducing the interface between GO Trains and growing volumes of CP and CN freight traffic. This included rail-to-rail grade separations where GO's north-south lines cross east-west freight lines: the Snider Diamond, where the Barrie/Bradford line crosses the CN York Subdivision, saw an overpass completed in Fall 2007; work on the Hagerman Diamond (the Stouffville line's CN crossing) began in July 2006 and work at the West Toronto Diamond (to take the CN tracks on the Georgetown line under the CP's midtown Toronto tracks) began in November 2006.

A GO Train Delays board in the Long Branch Train Station

Other capital projects included adding increased track capacity on the CN and CP-owned railway lines so that more GO Train trips would be possible. A third track from Burlington to Bayview Junction (between Aldershot and Hamilton) on the Lakeshore West line, and one from downtown Cherry Street to Scarborough on the Lakeshore East, were built to facilitate improved schedule reliability and increased service. New track is under construction on the Georgetown line's busy section between Brampton and northwest Toronto to allow more frequent train movements as well. Track upgrades on the Milton line to run more peak and off-peak trains were planned, but remain uninitiated. GO TRIP also attempted to curtail GO's need to move deadheaded trains back to its main Willowdale Yard in the evening and then out to the suburbs in the early morning by constructing train layover facilities at the periphery of its rail network. New train layover facilities were built in Milton, Barrie and near Mount Pleasant station, while one in Hamilton is under construction.

GO TRIP's one substantial extension of rail service involved restoring train trips to the Barrie, Ontario area, using trackage beyond the then-terminus of Bradford owned by the City of Barrie (who acquired the right of way following CN's abandonment.) A somewhat shorter extension of rail service was made possible by pushing the Stouffville line's passenger terminus several kilometres further northeast of Stouffville proper to the new Lincolnville GO Station, at 10th Line and Bethesda Road in Whitchurch-Stouffville, where the current layover facility is located. Two new infill stations were built as well: Lisgar Station on the Milton line opened in 2007, and though construction of the Mount Pleasant Station on the Georgetown line (Bovaird Drive and Creditview Road) continues, the station has been open for service since February 2005. Current work is to make the station wheelchair accessible and to add an extra track, allowing more service.

[edit] Other expansion initiatives

Improvements to Union Station's platforms, train shed and signalling system, has been an ongoing process for GO Transit. A major redevelopment plan involving the station's owner, the City of Toronto, has been developed but awaits private capital. Fleet expansion is also ongoing, including buses and Bombardier Bi-Level Rail Cars, and the replacement of old locomotives with more reliable and powerful models. GO will be a key user of the Presto Card, a unified smartcard-based payment system for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area similar to the Oyster Card used by Transport for London in the United Kingdom.

GO has stated that it views the primary obstacle to further ridership growth has been a limited supply of park-and-ride spaces at its suburban stations, along with an existing train trips travelling at or above their maximum passenger capacity. Plans for decked parking at Ajax, Aurora, Burlington, Centennial, Clarkson, Erindale, Oakville, and Unionville stations have been drafted, with construction currently underway in Whitby (completion is scheduled for later in 2009). GO's first ever decked parking garage opened in Burlington in September of 2008. Platforms at most Lakeshore and Milton corridor stations have been lengthened to permit 12-car train sets; construction is underway at Appleby, Clarkson, Streetsville and Hamilton stations to lengthen the platforms, with Mimico being the last station requiring this work.

GO is also developing a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that will provide extensive east-to-west express service across the GTA, using transit priority measures and park-and-ride stations with links to local transit. GO's already popular Highway 407 express buses, launched in the fall of 2000, are the BRT's precursor, showing that demand for such service is already there. It has grown and flourished, with greatly improved services and new park & ride lots. The GO 407 corridors are now among GO Transit's fastest growing services, yielding 12,000 rides on a typical day. As part of this service, GO Transit is collaborating with the City of Mississauga to build new, exclusive bus lanes along Highway 403. Mississauga's BRT website has more information on this new project.

[edit] MoveOntario 2020

MoveOntario 2020 was announced by Dalton McGuinty in the leadup to the 2007 provincial election as a provincially-initiated transit plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Unlike previous plans, there is to be no expectations of municipal contributions for capital costs, with a two-thirds/one-third funding arrangement between the province and the federal government foreseen. As of the 2008 federal budget, however, there have been no federal monies committed to MoveOntario 2020 project.

Of the estimated $17.5 billion worth of projects, a significant portion are to involve GO expansion. These include a number of new train corridors.

[edit] Proposed train routes

[edit] Bolton line

This line would follow a CP rail line from Union Station through western Toronto and Woodbridge to the suburban community of Bolton, replacing a bus service that currently encompasses two inbound and two outbound trips. Because of a rapidly growing population in the area and stronger transit connections that have been developed in last few years between Brampton and Vaughan, it is quite likely that train service on this route will be introduced within the next few years.

[edit] Seaton line

This line would use CP's Belleville subdivision to run from Toronto through northern Scarborough and east to Brock Road in Pickering. The line would likely be introduced after further development of the Seaton new town in Pickering. GO Trains originating at Union might reach the Belleville subdivision by potentially using disused CP Trackage in the lower Don Valley or by following the existing Stouffville line then shifting onto Belleville subdivision trackage via a new connection structure near Kennedy and Sheppard. Alternately, trains might originate along the Midtown Corridor (see below).

[edit] North Pickering line

This line, like the Seaton line, would use CP's Belleville subdivision, then branch at the Agincourt yard onto CP's Havelock subdivision and continue northeast to Brock Road in the small community of Claremont, within the city of Pickering. This line would serve the growing community of Cornell in Markham, as well as the established Morningside Heights subdivision in Toronto; a potential primary purpose of the line would be to serve the proposed Pickering International Airport.

Although it was not been proposed in MoveOntario 2020, it is possible that trains on this line may eventually run to Peterborough, as the growing city has previously stated that it only wants GO service if it is by train.

[edit] Midtown Corridor

MoveOntario 2020 also proposes adding passenger service on the CP freight mainline that cuts through Toronto to the north of the downtown area. The midtown corridor runs from the Junction (intersection of many CN and CP lines, as well as the GO Georgetown and Milton routes) to the Don Valley. Service could involve an extension of the Seaton and North Pickering routes westward, or a combination of trains from the Georgetown and Milton lines. Passenger service would need to be restored to the former North Toronto Station on Yonge Street, or a new station would likely be built adjacent to the Dupont TTC Station at Spadina Road.

While this proposal would take pressure off of Union Station, it faces many roadblocks. Canadian Pacific has not been very willing to operate GO trains on its tracks, and this line would use its most congested route, the mainline. Also, the proposed transfer points to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway are disadvantageous. Passengers transferring at Union Station are moving "counterflow" and take advantage of some rare rush-hour spare capacity on the line, whereas the new station would only add to the growing congestion on the Yonge and University segments.

[edit] Pearson rail connection

MoveOntario 2020 re-proposes to provide train service between the Pearson Airport and Union Station via the Georgetown line. Because the Airport is located some 5 km from the line, a proposed spur line would need to be constructed to connect the trains to Terminal 1. It is uncertain how this service would be coordinated with GO Transit, which uses the same Georgetown line. Extensive track upgrades along this line would be required.

A controversial proposal to provide a high-speed rail link on this corridor was announced as a transportation priority by the previous federal Liberal government in 2000. The project was opposed by residents in places like Weston and its future is currently the subject of an environmental assessment; the Ontario government has indicated that it wants to start construction in Fall 2009.

Despite the absence of train service, GO has expanded its bus routes to the Airport, adding a GO bus service on April 26, 2008. This bus operates at 1/2 hour intervals, 21 hours a day from Pearson on a route that goes between its Square One Bus Terminal in Mississauga and the Richmond Hill Centre Terminal at Hwy. 7 & Yonge St. with connections there to the Viva (bus rapid transit) network, which operates in York Region north of Toronto.

[edit] Expansions beyond GO's present service area

Although not provided for in MoveOntario 2020, previous government announcements and proposals have foreseen expanding GO's service area by introducing commuter bus services to Niagara Region, and to Waterloo Region to build the market for train service. Both Waterloo and Niagara regional governments are strongly in favour of GO Trains service being brought to these areas. Service expansion to Peterborough has also been proposed, but GO has expressed no interest in providing it. The City of Peterborough is also strongly in favour of having GO service there, but only by rail. The federal government announced funding for a commuter train route to Peterborough in its 2008 budget, but it is uncertain who will operate it. Neither GO Transit nor VIA Rail, which is owned by the federal government, have expressed any interest. It is expected that GO will offer a compromise with a train-meet bus service between Peterborough and Oshawa, or to the future Newcastle train station when it is opened.

Theoretically, GO Transit can serve any region in Ontario and set up service in other areas as well, as it is a provincial agency; however, approval from the Provincial government is required. The only region in which any interest has been expressed is Eastern Ontario, centring on possible services to communities around the National Capital Region). However, as some of the proposed services would include lines into Quebec, a separate, federally-incorporated agency is likely to be created.

[edit] Recent service disruptions

In recent years, since initiating a major infrastructure renewal program in 2005, GO Transit has been plagued with frequent service disruptions, often leading to trip cancellations, modifications and delays. GO has blamed many of the disruptions on long-delayed construction projects it has recently undertaken and the host railways. It also cites underfunding by previous Ontario governments for delaying critical infrastructure improvements necessary to handle GO's growing passenger volumes. Passengers though, are more likely to fault GO directly, alleging that the agency shows little concern for their schedules, and fails to provide accurate information when major delays occur and be accountable for frequently delayed and cancelled train rides, however there is little proof to substantiate their claims.

On Monday February 11 2008, rider Patricia Eales launched an online petition demanding better service and rebates to compensate riders for delays and cancellations. The petition was presented to the Board of Directors at their monthly meeting on Friday, March 14, 2008; while Eales' request for rebates was declined, her deputation did lead to the creation of a Customer Service Committee, which was started shortly after by GO Transit. While Ms. Eales was invited to join the Committee and initially accepted, she has since stepped down.

[edit] Vehicles

Vehicles: 328 buses, 71 locomotives, 470 coaches, of which 52 are cabcars (December 2008)

[edit] Locomotives

[edit] Retired engines

Year Manufacturer Model Numbers Notes
General Motors Diesel Division EMD FP7A & F7B locomotives 900-911; 9858-9862 16 FP7A ex-ONR / - used as power cars
1966 General Motors Diesel Division GP40TC locomotive 500-507
1973, 1975 General Motors Diesel Division GP40-2L locomotive 700-710 11 purchase; 10 sold to CNR (9668-9677) and 1 sold to Tri-Rail in 1991
1978 General Motors Division F40PH locomotive 510-515 sold to Amtrak 1990
1967 General Motors Diesel Division GP40U locomotive 720-726 bought from Chrome Crankshaft in 1982. Upgraded to GP40-2M by Chrome Crankshaft/CRI&P; traded to GMDD for F59PHs 561-568 in 1994
1988 EMD F59PH I 520-535 No longer actively used. 7 to be sold via tender.
1990 EMD F59PH IV 565-568 Sold to Trinity Railway Express in Irving, Texas, USA.

[edit] Active engines

All F59PH locomotives operated by GO Transit have been manufactured by EMD in London, Ontario.
All MP40PH-3C locomotives operated by GO Transit have been manufactured by Wabtec MotivePower Industries in Boise, Idaho.

F59PH the standard power on GO Transit's rail lines
GO 602 MP40PH-3C preparing for turn around service for morning Rush Hour.
Year Manufacturer Model Numbers Notes
1989-1990 EMD F59PH II 536-547
1990 EMD F59PH III 548-561
1990 EMD F59PH IV 562-564
2007-2008 MPI MP40PH-3C 600-626
2010 (est.) 627-646 On order, delivery between May-November 2010


  • The first 27 engines received by Motive Power will be used on the Milton line, and in Express Service on the Lakeshore lines. (Source on page 3)

[edit] Multiple units

Year Manufacturer Model Numbers Notes
1967 Hawker Siddeley Canada RTC-85SP/D (Single-level self-propelled unit) Built as D700-D701, D702-D708
Renumbered to 9825-9826, 9827-9833
Cars built on original 1967 car order by HSC in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Converted to cab cars by 1975. Some cars leased to MARC. Cars sold to ONR and AMT.

[edit] Coaches

All GO Trains consist of bi-level railway cars
Manufacturer Model Year Numbers Handicapped/disabled access Notes
HSC Bi-Level I coach 1976-1978 2000-2079 No 10 sold to TRE, 1997.
HSC Bi-Level II coach 1983-1984 2100-2155, 200-214 No
UTDC Bi-Level III coach 1988-1989 2200-2253, 215-222 No
UTDC Bi-Level IV coach 1989-1990 2300-2341, 225-241 No
Bombardier Transportation Bi-Level V coach 1990-1991 2400-2455, 2499 No
Bombardier Transportation Bi-Level VI coach 2002 2500-2521 Yes
Bombardier Transportation Bi-Level VII coach 2004-Present 2522-2546, 2600-2661, 2700-2729, 242-253 2522-2546
Bombardier Transportation Bi-Level coach 1987 No leased from Tri-Rail, 2002.
Bombardier Transportation Bi-Level coach 1995 No leased from West Coast Express, 2002.
Canadian Vickers Gallery coach/cab car No leased from CPR Montréal-area commuter service, 1974.
Pullman-Standard Gallery coach/cab car No leased from C&NW, 1976.

[edit] Buses

GM buses were manufactured at the Diesel Division in London, Ontario and Orion/Ontario Bus buses in Mississauga, Ontario:

[edit] Retired

Year Make Model Length Handicapped/disabled access Engine Numbers
1970 GMDD T8H-5305A 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1000-1019
1973 GMDD T8H-5307A 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1020-1029
1974 GMDD T8H-5307A 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1030-1039, 1120-1123
1975 GMDD T8H-5307A 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1045-1056
1976 GMDD S8H-5304A 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1060-1099
1977 GMDD T8H-5307A 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1100-1119
1985 Ontario Bus Orion I 01.508 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1125-1129
1987 Ontario Bus Orion I 01.508 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1130-1141
2000 Orion Bus Orion V 05.501 40 ft (12.2 m) Yes Detroit Diesel S50 1150-1163
2002 Orion Bus Orion V 05.501 40 ft (12.2 m) Yes Detroit Diesel S50 1164-1173
1975 MCI MC-8 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1250-1262
1978 MCI MC-8 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1270-1281
1980 MCI MC-9 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1290-1294
1981 MCI MC-9 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 8V71 1300-1324
1986 MCI 102A2 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1400-1416
1987 MCI 102A2 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1417-1425
1988 MCI 102A2 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1426-1435
1989 MCI 102A2 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1436-1445
1990 MCI 102A2 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1446-1458
1991 MCI 102A2 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1459-1468
1990 MCI 102A3 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1500-1514
1993 MCI 102C3 40 ft (12.2 m) No Cummins L10 1520-1531
1991 New Flyer D40S 40 ft (12.2 m) No Detroit Diesel 6V92TA 1900-1950

[edit] Active

Year Make Model Length Handicapped/disabled access Engine Numbers
1999 Prevost LeMirage XL 40 ft (12.2 m) Yes Detroit Diesel Series 60 1600-1619
2000 Orion V 05.501 40.71 ft (12.41 m)[11] Yes Detroit Diesel Series 50 2000-2007
2001 Orion V 05.501 40.71 ft (12.41 m) Yes Detroit Diesel Series 50 2008-2017
2001 MCI D4500 45.42 ft (13.84 m)[12] Yes Detroit Diesel Series 60 2100-2113
2002 MCI D4500 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Detroit Diesel Series 60 2114-2148
2003 MCI D4500 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Detroit Diesel Series 60 2149-2184
2004 MCI D4500 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Detroit Diesel Series 60 2185-2215
2004 Orion V 05.501 40.71 ft (12.41 m) Yes Detroit Diesel Series 50 2018-2029
2004 MCI D4500 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Caterpillar ADEM 3 C13 2216-2266
2005 MCI D4500CT 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Caterpillar ADEM III 2267-2286
2006 MCI D4500CT 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Caterpillar ADEM 3 III 2287-2317
2007 MCI D4500CT 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Caterpillar ADEM III 2318-2353
2008 Alexander Dennis Enviro500 42 ft (12.8 m) Yes Cummins ISM EPA 2007 8000-8011
2008 MCI D4500CT 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Caterpillar ADEM III 2354-2419
2009 MCI D4500CTH (Hybrid) 45.42 ft (13.84 m) Yes Cummins ISL 330HP EPA 2007[13] 3000-3001 (on order)
2009 Alexander Dennis Enviro500 42 ft (12.8 m) Yes Cummins ISM EPA 2007 8012-8021 (on order)

[edit] Support Vehicles

Year Make Model Notes
Ford Ranger Support
Ford E-150 Station Operations
Ford F-250 Station Operations

[edit] Staff

GO has a workforce of 1,447 (2007).[14]

In its earlier years, much of GO Transit's staff were actually employed by private companies and worked for GO under contract. As GO has expanded, many positions have gradually been brought in-house, such as its bus drivers, and GO has consolidated its contractual arrangements primarily with Bombardier Transportation.

Today, all staff are employees of GO Transit, with the exception of train maintenance personnel, who are contracted from Bombardier Transportation, and conductors and engineers on trains, who are employees of the Canadian Pacific Railway on the Milton line and employees of Bombardier Transportation elsewhere. Bombardier conductors and engineers are all trained per Transport Canada on Railway Operating Rules, allowing them to operate GO Trains on mainline railway tracks.

Unionized staff are part of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1587, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 235, and generally based in Toronto.

[edit] Special Constables

GO Transit has Special Constables patrolling the transit agencies' properties and vehicles, as well as enforcing the Criminal Code and related violations of GO Transit by-law # 2. They are also known as Transit Enforcement Officers. The GO Transit Special Constables are appointed by the Ontario Provincial Police and have police authority for a variety of federal and provincial acts. These officers patrol the GO system and can arrest and enforce a variety of laws. Their authority is essentially no different than that of a police officer during certain situations. Jurisdictional police are actively involved in the safety and security of the GO system and work together with GO Special Constables. GO Transit also employs Provincial Offences Officers (internally known as Customer Attendants) to enforce and assist with the proof of payment system. They are not to be confused with a GO Special Constable. GO Transit Special Constables are outfitted in blue shirts with blue striped cargo pants and blue forge peaked police caps. The GO Special Constables are trained and equipped with batons, pepper spray, handcuffs and body armour. All front-line GO staff are trained in CPR. GO Transit Enforcement operates a 24-hour emergency call dispatch centre that is able to dispatch Police and Special Constables to all areas served by GO. Customers are also encouraged to report any crimes on GO property to the enforcement dispatch number 905-803-0642, as well as contacting the local crime stoppers. GO Transit Special Constables travel in marked vehicles. They use Crown Victoria, Dodge Dakota, and Chevrolet Uplander. These vehicles are equipped with two-way radios and red emergency lighting as well as prisoner cages. GO Transit enforcement staff are obligated to produce proof of appointment ID under the GO Transit Act 2001 when requested. For this reason, officers are given wallet badges, warrant cards and appointment card for provincial offences:


Appointment of officers

(6) GO Transit may appoint in writing one or more of its employees as an officer or officers for the purposes of carrying out the by-laws passed under subsection (1), and any person so appointed is a constable for that purpose and for the purposes of section 33 of the Highway Traffic Act. 2001, c. 23, Sched. A, s. 11 (6).

Certificate of appointment

(7) A person appointed under subsection (6) shall, while carrying out his or her duties under the appointment, have in his or her possession a certificate of the appointment and shall produce the certificate upon request. 2001, c. 23, Sched. A, s. 11 (7).

[edit] Contractors

[edit] Terminals

GO Transit Orion V 2000 at Finch Bus Terminal bound for Newmarket.
Since the introduction of York Region Transit's VIVA Blue line, the GO Newmarket "B" route only operates during rush hour periods.

GO Bus service uses 15 bus terminals, with numerous intermediate stops and ticket agencies, in addition to providing off-peak and express services to GO Train stations. [6] The terminals have a wide range of owner/operator/user relationships; GO owned facility with exclusive use or shared with local service; municipal transit operation shared by GO; intercity terminal shared with Greyhound, Coach Canada, etc. During the school year there are also thousands of rides a day to the York University Bus Loop, one of the biggest transit hubs in the GTA. [15]

[edit] Facilities

North Bathurst Yard office
Layover at Don Yard
GO Transit Facilities (currently incomplete)
 Facility   Year opened   Operating Details   Notes 
GO Transit Willowbrook Yard 1970s 125 Judson St., Toronto, covering 17 hectares of land and 13,000 m² of workshops. Formerly CNR repair facilities
Don Yard 2007 Layover facility for 10 trains during the day Formerly, CNR Don Sorting Yard west of the Don River and north of the Gardiner Expressway
North Bathurst Yard 1987 Layover facility for trains between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street south of Front Street. Currently closed for renovation until 2010. Tracks are formerly used by CNR yard
Georgetown GO Station 1990s Layover facility for trains overnight and weekends for trains on Georgetown line; backup battery supply Shared VIA Rail - train stop
Lincolnville GO Station 2008 Layover facility and for trains and terminus for Stouffville line
Milton GO Station layover yard 2006-2007 For overnight storage and temp storage for trains on Milton line storage for 6 12-car train sets
Steeprock Bus Garage 1979 200 Steeprock Drive; Storage for 130 buses, 70 bus staging areas, 20 repair bays. For buses in the GTA
GO Transit West Region Office 3500 Wolfedale Rd., Mississauga, Ontario
GO Transit East Region Office 81 Middlefield Rd., Scarborough, Ontario; offices northeast of CPR Agincourt Yard
Hamilton GO Centre Outdoor bus terminal and rail station
Milton GO Station Outdoor bus storage in parking lot
Newmarket Bus Terminal Outdoor bus terminal with commuter parking lot
Newmarket Bus Garage 18110 Yonge St., Newmarket, ON. Indoor bus storage and repair bays.

GO buses are also stored and serviced in Aberfoyle, Ajax, Barrie, Beaverton, Bowmanville, Bramalea, Caledon, Hamilton, Oakville (until February 27), and Oshawa .

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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