Metrolinx is delivering on its promise for more rail service along the Kitchener GO Line with the awarding of the first in a series of construction contracts that will deliver the rail infrastructure needed to operate two-way, all-day service between Union Station and Kitchener GO Station.
The scope of the contract, recently awarded to Dagmar Construction Inc., includes a second platform at Guelph Central GO Station, a new storage track for maintenance vehicles west of Guelph and a passing track in the community of Breslau (part of Woolwich Township), to allow trains traveling in opposite directions to pass each other.
The new passing track to be built in this phase of work will be approximately 2.6 kilometers long, located between Guelph and Kitchener GO Stations. This track will be the first of three new passing tracks to be constructed along the Kitchener Line.
The Kitchener Line between Kitchener and Georgetown GO consists of a single active track, where GO trains share space with freight traffic. The addition of passing tracks at strategic locations along the line will allow for more GO Transit trips on the line, without building a costly second track along the entire route – delivering transit to the region faster and more affordably.
The next phases of work will also include a passing track at Acton GO Station, a storage track for maintenance vehicles near Rockwood, a north platform extension at Guelph GO Station, expansion of the Shantz Station Road bridge and extension of the second track in Breslau, as well as track re-alignments through the corridor.
Work to deliver two-way, all-day service from Union Station to Kitchener GO will include additional construction contracts to deliver track, signal, station and structural work on both the Metrolinx and CN Rail owned portions of the line to support future service increases.
As outlined in the GO Expansion Full Business Case, Metrolinx is electrifying and increasing service on the majority of Metrolinx-owned rail corridor, which on the Kitchener Line, will extend to just east of Bramalea GO Station. The Kitchener GO Rail Service Expansion Preliminary Design Business Case builds on the GO Expansion Full Business Case, and outlines why these investments are needed now to increase future service and meet the needs of this growing region.
Since 2018, Metrolinx has rehabilitated and optimized infrastructure on the Kitchener Line, between Guelph and Kitchener GO to cut down on journey times, resulting in an average 20-minute reduction for comparable trips.
Through its partnership with CN Rail, Metrolinx was also able to implement early service increases on the Kitchener Line, including the introduction of limited off-peak, two-way service to Kitchener in 2019.
Additional GO service will be introduced incrementally as construction advances, and as key segments of work are completed. Overall, the program will provide $1.4 billion in total economic benefits to the province. The investment will also reduce journey times between Kitchener and Union Stations from 111 minutes to 98 minutes.
These service improvements will provide walkable access to two-way, all-day rail service for a projected 54,000 residents and 33,000 jobs by 2041.
Going beyond Kitchener
GO Transit customers needing to continue their journey will find that many of the station stops along the way are served by GO buses. Transit riders – especially students – traveling on GO Transit’s Waterloo/Mississauga Bus Route 25, or Kitchener Bus Route 30 will notice the Waterloo terminus point is now at the new University of Waterloo Transit Plaza.
The Plaza, which went into operation earlier this year, was built on lands owned by the University of Waterloo, while Metrolinx contributed funding toward the build and was engaged in its design and construction. Now GO customers can easily connect to other regional transit agencies including Grand River Transit and Waterloo’s ION light rail at one convenient location.
Transit riders traveling through the plaza can enjoy new comforts including a heated shelter and benches. Customers will notice new placeholders where fare vending machines and digital signage will be installed in the future.
These investments, and GO Expansion as a whole, are critical to transforming the GO rail network into a comprehensive, all-day rapid transit network.