GO Transit extends rail service to the City of Barrie



    BARRIE, ON, Dec. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada, the Province
of Ontario, GO Transit and the City of Barrie today celebrated the completion
of construction on GO Transit's Bradford rail corridor to extend GO Transit
rail service to the City of Barrie. With construction completed, GO Transit
rail service between the new Barrie South Station and Union Station in
downtown Toronto will officially begin at 5:43 a.m. on Monday, December 17,
2007.
    "Projects such as the extension of GO Transit rail service to the City of
Barrie demonstrate this government's commitment to improving Canadians'
quality of life and promoting environmentally-sound transportation
alternatives such as commuter rail," said Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament
for Barrie, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "This government is also working
hard to make transit more accessible for all Canadians and help ease traffic
congestion in urban areas."
    "GO train service to Barrie will mean that commuters can sit back, enjoy
their morning coffee, get a head start on work, or simply relax," said Ontario
Transportation Minister Jim Bradley. "Restoring GO train service to Barrie is
a concrete example of the McGuinty government's commitment to making public
transit a convenient reality."
    "This new service will provide people living in Barrie and throughout the
Greater Toronto Area with a new transit option that will cut commute times and
reduce traffic congestion," said the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of
Finance. "Public transit investments, such as the GO Barrie extension, also
help drive the economy and demonstrate the federal government's commitment to
investing in transportation infrastructure."
    "GO Transit is a real boost for Barrie and will make a genuine impact on
our quality of life," said the member of the Provincial Parliament for Barrie,
Aileen Carroll. "I'm proud to be a member of the government that brought the
GO back to Barrie."
    Construction on the project began in February 2007, and was completed
earlier this month. The project included:

    
       - extending GO Transit's Bradford rail corridor to the City of Barrie,
         including upgrades to rails, ties, signals and crossings;
       - the construction of a new GO Transit station in the City of Barrie
         at Mapleview Drive, known as Barrie South Station, with 480 parking
         spaces, a bus loop and GO Transit ticket vendor machines;
       - the construction of a new overnight train storage facility at
         Minet's Point Road in the City of Barrie; and
       - upgrades to GO Transit's existing Bradford Station.

    Four trains will leave Barrie South Station in the morning for Union
Station between 5:43 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. Four trains will return from Union
Station to the Barrie South Station between 4:10 p.m. and 7:35 p.m.
    "We're excited to be going back to Barrie," said GO Chairman Peter Smith.
"The GO Trains will give Barrie area residents another convenient commuting
option."
    "City staff has been working with GO Transit and MTO for several years on
this project, and on behalf of Council, I thank the staff involved in this
project for working so diligently on seeing this through to completion." said
Barrie Mayor Dave Aspden. "Hopefully, in the future, residents of both the
Greater Barrie Area and GTA would be able to take advantage of weekend service
to enjoy cultural, shopping and sporting activities."
    Construction on the project is valued at $25 million, with the federal
government, the province and the City of Barrie each contributing one third of
the project costs.
    This expansion is part of the GO Transit Rail Improvement Program
(GO TRIP), a $1 billion-dollar expansion initiative funded by the federal and
provincial governments and local municipalities, through the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund.
    The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund provides federal funding to
large-scale transportation infrastructure projects of major national and
regional significance.
    For more information and/or updates on this project, call 416-869-3600,
extension 5199, or visit GO Transit's website at www.gotransit.com/gotrip.
    For more information on the train and bus schedules and fares regarding GO
Transit service to the city of Barrie, visit www.gotransit.com.
    A backgrounder with further information on the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund is attached.


                                 Backgrounder
                                 ------------
                                 ------------

                     CANADA STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
                     ------------------------------------

    The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund supports large-scale projects of
major national and regional significance. Through this fund, the federal and
provincial governments agreed to provide up to $385 million each to support
major GO Transit rail infrastructure improvements over seven years.
Municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Hamilton will also
provide funding.

    On November 6, 2007, the Government of Canada unveiled the details of its
historic $33-billion infrastructure plan. Called Building Canada, this
infrastructure plan is building a stronger, safer and better Canada, providing
more funding, over a longer period of time - from 2007 to 2014 - than any
previous federal infrastructure initiative. Building Canada is focused on
delivering results that matter to Canadians - cleaner air and water, safer
roads, shorter commutes, and prosperous, liveable communities.

    Under FLOW, the federal government's long-term transportation action plan
for the GTA, which was announced March 6, 2007, federal funding will help
reduce congestion, improve the environment and increase economic growth in one
of the fastest growing areas in Canada. The GTA will be receiving investments
of almost $1 billion, reimbursed after the projects start and as work is
undertaken.
    The Ontario government's commitments to strengthen Ontario's public
transit include:

       - MoveOntario 2020, a $17.5-billion public transit investment - the
         largest build of its kind in Canadian history. This 12-year plan
         will help replace 300 million car trips per year;

       - an additional $830 million provided for strategic transit projects
         in the GTA and Hamilton through the 2006 MoveOntario initiative.
         This investment will help ease congestion, improve air quality and
         create jobs across the province;

       - Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, operating as Metrolinx -
         created to develop a seamless and sustainable regional
         transportation system for residents and businesses within the GTA
         and Hamilton;

       - the Presto card - an integrated fare collection system that will
         eventually enable commuters to travel on public transit from Durham
         to Hamilton using a single transit card;

       - the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Network Plan - a 25-year project to
         add HOV and commuter bus lanes to the 400-series highways and the
         Greater Golden Horseshoe that will ease congestion and offer faster,
         more reliable commute times to carpoolers and transit users; and

       - ReNew Ontario - the government's infrastructure investment plan. In
         ReNew Ontario's first five years, the government will have invested
         $11.4 billion in public transit, highways, borders and other
         transportation.


    GO Transit Improvements

    GO Transit carries over 165,000 passengers an average of 32 kilometres
every day on its rail system. During rush hour, almost every seat on all GO
trains is filled. The new expansion will enable GO to accommodate the more
than 40,000 additional passengers forecast to use the system during peak
periods by 2011.
    The GO Transit Rail Improvement Program (GO TRIP) includes 12 GO rail
projects across the system and an expansion of the GO Bus network. These
projects are underway, with completion expected in 2010. Below is an update
for each project:

    Stouffville corridor

    Construction began in May 2006 on a GO train rail underpass, which will
allow GO Transit to avoid delays caused by freight train traffic. The project
is expected to be completed by December 2008.

    Lakeshore West corridor

    A third track is being added on two sections to allow more GO train
service and reduce delays:

       - Port Credit Station (Mississauga) to Kerr Street (Oakville). The
         environmental assessment has been completed and approved.
         Construction began in April 2007 and is expected to be completed by
         November 2009.
       - Burlington Station to Bayview Junction (Hamilton). Construction on
         the corridor is substantially done, and will be finalized by March
         2008. All-day service to Aldershot Station began in September 2007.

    Milton corridor

    A new train storage site was built to accommodate longer 12-car trains
near Milton Station. This allows trains to be stored closer to where they
start and finish in order to minimize delays and reduce unnecessary train
trips. The site has been operational as of January 2007.

    Construction to accommodate the longer trains on the Milton corridor
stations is also complete, which will enable GO Transit to operate 12-car
trains. Twelve-car trains will increase the carrying capacity by 20 per cent.

    Georgetown corridor - West Toronto Diamond

    Construction is underway on the West Toronto Diamond rail-to-rail grade
separation. This rail underpass will allow GO trains to avoid delays and
conflicts with freight trains. The enabling works are complete, and the
construction of the grade separation is anticipated to begin in spring 2008.

    Georgetown South (Weston corridor)

    An Individual Environmental Assessment is underway to identify
improvements required to accommodate increased GO train frequency and options
for an airport transportation link between Union Station and Pearson
International Airport, including the proposed Air Rail Link project. This
study will address the associated environmental impacts and the need for
improved infrastructure for increased GO Transit service and for an airport
transportation link to the airport. The Terms of Reference for this study was
submitted to the Ministry of Environment on Friday, October 27, 2006 for
approval.

    Georgetown North corridor

    Construction began in Fall 2006 to improve track capacity along the
corridor, to accommodate two new rush hour trains and provide limited off-peak
service to the Mount Pleasant GO Station in North Brampton. Construction is
expected to be completed by July 2009.

    Bradford corridor

    Construction of the Snider rail-to-rail grade separation at the CN York
subdivision freight line started in February 2006, and was completed in
December 2006. This GO train rail overpass allows GO Transit to avoid delays
caused by conflicts with freight trains.
    GO Transit rail service along the Bradford corridor to the City of Barrie
will be operational on December 17, 2007. The City of Barrie will see four
trains departing from a new GO Transit Barrie South Station to Union Station
in the mornings during the week, and four trains departing from Union Station
to the City of Barrie in the afternoons during the week.

    Lakeshore East corridor

    Improvements to accommodate three-track operation at the Danforth,
Scarborough and Eglinton stations, as well as the expansion of three bridge
overpasses, are underway. Completion of this project is anticipated for 
mid-2008.

    Union Station Rail Corridor Program

    GO Transit awarded the contract for the signal improvements to Siemens.
Design work will begin in December 2007, with overall completion expected in
2014. The work on this project will include a complete replacement of the 
70-year-old-track signal system at Union Station.
    Additional improvements to Union Station are also ongoing, including new
tracks and platforms. This will help improve the efficiency of the train
network, and increase operational capacity.
    The Don Yard has been redeveloped by GO Transit for their daytime train
storage needs. The Don Yard is currently fully operational.

    Other service areas

    On March 20, 2007, the GO Transit Board approved two new bus routes:

      1. One route begins at the University of Guelph, passes through the
         Aberfoyle Park-and-Ride lot, and then on to Square One Shopping
         centre in Mississauga, before ending at the Cooksville GO Station.
         It then returns in the opposite direction to the University of
         Guelph.
      2. The second route begins at the University of Guelph, passes through
         the Aberfoyle-and-Ride lot before ending at the Meadowvale GO
         Station. It then returns in the opposite direction to the University
         of Guelph.

    These services began on September 4, 2007.
                                                               December 2007
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700;
Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Bob Nichols, MTO
Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158; Cheri Harris, Communications Officer,
City of Barrie, (705) 739-4220 ext. 4529; Vasie Papadopoulos, GO TRIP, (416)
869-3600 ext. 5175; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to
news releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/listserv/and keep up to date on the
latest from Transport Canada; This news release may be made available in
alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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