GO Train service to improve with new Don Yard midday storage facility



    TORONTO, Aug. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's New Government, the Government
of Ontario and GO Transit today announced the completion of construction on a
midday train storage facility just east of Union Station.
    "This project is significant because it will ease traffic congestion and
reduce commute times for the people of southern Ontario," said Mike Wallace,
MP for Burlington, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "More importantly, this building's
wayside power equipment will help GO Transit reduce greenhouse gas emissions
and improve the air for Canadians."
    "Being able to store more trains near Union Station during the day means
we're better prepared to serve commuters during the afternoon rush hour," said
Ontario Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield. "I'm very proud that since
2003 the McGuinty government has invested $4.9 billion in Ontario public
transit, including over $1.8 billion in GO Transit."
    The Don Yard is part of the GO Transit Rail Improvement Program (GO
TRIP), a billion-dollar expansion initiative funded by the governments of
Canada and Ontario, and the municipalities, through the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund (CSIF). The CSIF provides federal funding for major
national and regional infrastructure projects.
    The existing Bathurst North Yard allows GO Transit to hold seven trains
downtown, just west of Union Station. The new Don Yard will allow GO to hold
10 more trains downtown. Holding these additional trains in the downtown area
will eliminate 160 km/day or 40,000 km/year of train travel. Storing them near
Union Station will also reduce the number of trains that have to be handled on
the busier west end tracks.
    Formerly a freight handling yard, the Don Yard was rebuilt to accommodate
the longer GO trains and allows access for light cleaning and maintenance on
board the parked trains during the day. This work is essential for future GO
improvements, provides additional train storage capacity and will improve
service reliability in the afternoon peak period, as the trains can be brought
into Union Station more easily and serve commuters more quickly.
    "We appreciate this investment for tomorrow by all levels of government,"
said GO Transit Chairman Peter Smith. "Having this additional capacity in the
downtown core will make for a more reliable afternoon commute and allow us to
operate more efficiently."
    The Don Yard facility cost approximately $15 million, with the federal
government contributing $5 million, the provincial government contributing
$5 million and the balance coming from municipalities.

    For more information and updates on this project, call 647-258-2073, or
visit GO Transit's website at www.gotransit.com/unionstationrenewal.

    A backgrounder with information on the Canada Strategic Infrastructure
Fund, MoveOntario and the GO TRIP projects 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 the next seven years.
Municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area will also provide funding.
    In Budget 2007, an investment of more than $16 billion in federal
infrastructure funding was announced, bringing support over the next
seven years to a total of $33 billion, including the funding provided in
Budget 2006. The $33-billion Building Canada Plan includes the extension of
the Gas Tax Fund to 2014 and $8.8 billion over the next seven years for the
Building Canada Fund.
    Under MoveOntario, announced in the 2006 Ontario Budget, the Ontario
government is investing $1.2 billion in public transit and municipal roads and
bridges to help move people and goods faster, create jobs, and build a
stronger economy. Other initiatives to improve transit and ease congestion
include:

    - investing $838 million this year to expand and modernize public transit
      in the Greater Toronto Area;
    - establishing a Greater Toronto Transportation Authority to take an
      inter-regional approach to creating seamless and integrated transit and
      transportation; and
    - providing new streetcars, buses and routes by delivering more than
      $1.4 billion in provincial gas tax revenues for transit across Ontario.

    The Government of Ontario's MoveOntario commitments are in addition to
ReNew Ontario, a five-year, $30-billion investment in Ontario's public
infrastructure. ReNew Ontario includes investments of $11.4 billion for public
transit, highways, borders and other transportation infrastructure.

    GO Transit Improvements

    GO Transit carries over 165,000 riders an average of 32 kilometres
per passenger trip every day on its rail system. During rush hour, almost
every seat on all GO trains is filled. The improvements to the GO network
funded through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund 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 2012. Below is an update
for each project:

    Stouffville corridor

    Construction began in May 2006 on a GO train rail underpass that will
allow GO Transit to avoid delays caused by freight train traffic. The project
is expected to be complete by mid 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.
    - Burlington Station to Bayview Junction (Hamilton): Construction of the
      third track is almost complete. All-day service to Aldershot Station
      will begin in September 2007. Completion of all construction on the
      corridor is expected later this fall.

    Milton corridor

    Construction was completed on a new train storage site to accommodate
longer 12-car trains near Milton Station. Trains will be stored just off the
corridor on which they run to minimize delays and reduce unnecessary train
trips. The new storage site has been operational since January 2007.
    Construction to accommodate the longer trains at the Milton corridor
stations is also underway. The new, 12-car trains will increase carrying
capacity by 20 per cent and construction at all seven stations is expected to
be complete by December 2007.

    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. Construction at the West Toronto Diamond began
in November 2006 with a pile demonstration project and was completed in
January 2007. The utility relocation project is currently underway and is
expected to be complete in September 2007. Once the utility relocation project
is completed, construction of the grade separation of the railways will begin.
Work on the grade separation is scheduled to start in November 2007, and will
be complete by early 2010.

    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, as well as an
alternative transportation link to the airport. The Terms of Reference for
this study were submitted to the Ministry of Environment on Friday,
October 27, 2006, and are now awaiting 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.

    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 will extend service along the Bradford corridor to the City of
Barrie. The project will include upgrading the rail corridor and building a
new station and train layover facility. Construction on the rail corridor
began in February 2007, and service is expected to begin by late 2007.

    Lakeshore East corridor

    Improvements to accommodate three-track operations at the Danforth,
Scarborough and Eglinton stations, as well as the expansion of three bridge
overpasses, are underway. Completion of these projects is anticipated in
mid-2008.

    Union Station Rail Corridor Program

    GO Transit is anticipating that a contractor will be hired by
October 2007, to begin work on the signal design project. The work on this
project will include a complete replacement of the 70-year-old track signal
system at Union Station over the next eight years.
    The Don Yard has also been purchased by GO Transit and is being
redeveloped for GO Transit's daytime train storage needs. Construction at
Don Yard is nearly complete, and the facility is currently fully operational.
Minor works will be completed by October 2007.

    Other service areas

    GO Transit is studying the feasibility of providing new and additional GO
bus service extensions to support Peterborough, Niagara Falls and
Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph region. Results of the study were tabled
at the September 2006 GO Transit Board meeting.

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

    1. One route will begin at the University of Guelph, pass 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 will
       then return in the opposite direction to the University of Guelph.
    2. The second route will begin at the University of Guelph, pass through
       the Aberfoyle Park-and-Ride lot before ending at the Meadowvale GO
       Station. It will then return in the opposite direction to the
       University of Guelph.

    These services will begin on September 3, 2007.
    

    August 2007




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa, (613)
991-0700; Jamie Rilett, Minister's Office - MTO, Toronto, (416) 327-9134;
Nicole McNeely, Communications, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Bob
Nichols, MTO Communications Branch, Toronto, (416) 327-1158; David Hopper,
HDI/GO TRIP, Toronto, (647) 258-2073; 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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