Greater Toronto Area celebrates completion of commuter rail project



    Improvements shorten commute of GO Transit users

    TORONTO, Dec. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Construction on the separation of the
Hagerman Diamond rail-to-rail crossing along GO Transit's Stouffville line is
now complete. An underpass was created so GO trains no longer have to wait to
pass across CN's freight line, allowing more frequent and reliable GO train
service during peak travel periods.
    "This transit upgrade will shorten the commute for users of the GO
Transit Stouffville rail corridor and give passengers more time to spend with
their families," said Canada's Transport and Infrastructure Minister, John
Baird. "This project shows how our government is working with our provincial
and municipal partners to deliver infrastructure that stimulates our economy,
that creates more jobs and takes cars off the road."
    Prior to the $54-million grade separation, GO Transit's north-south
Stouffville line intersected with the busy east-west CN freight corridor north
of Steeles Avenue in Markham. Congestion at this intersection was causing
delays and prevented GO from expanding service on this line.
    "GO Transit riders now have better service," said Ontario Transportation
Minister Jim Bradley. "Our continued investments in Ontario's infrastructure
are creating jobs that support the economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
through increased transit use."
    This new infrastructure is moving approximately 12,000 people in and out
of Toronto's downtown core on the Stouffville corridor each weekday.
    "Where these two tracks crossed at grade has always been a problem for us
to increase service or maintain schedules," said Gary McNeil, managing
director for GO Transit. "The new interchange will now allow us to do both."
    The Hagerman Diamond rail-to-rail grade separation is just one project in
the $1-billion GO Transit Rail Improvement Program funded by the Government of
Canada, the Province of Ontario and municipal governments in the Greater
Toronto Area through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

    A backgrounder with further information on the Canada Strategic
Infrastructure Fund and GO TRIP projects is attached.


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

                       GO TRANSIT IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
                       -------------------------------

    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 and Hamilton Area will also provide
funding.
    GO Transit carries more than 170,000 passengers an average of 32
kilometres every day on its rail system. During rush hour, almost every seat
on all GO trains is occupied. The expansion will enable GO to accommodate 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. Most of
these projects are underway, with completion expected in 2012. Below is an
update for each project.

    Lakeshore West corridor

    A third track is being added on two sections of the Lakeshore West
corridor to allow more GO Train service and reduce delays:

    - Port Credit Station (Mississauga) to Kerr Street (Oakville):
      Construction began in April 2007 and is expected to be complete by
      November 2009.
    - Burlington Station to Bayview Junction (Hamilton): Construction on this
      portion of the corridor was completed in April 2008. All-day service to
      Aldershot Station began in September 2007.

    In April 2008, GO Transit implemented 12-car trains along the Lakeshore
West corridors. The addition of the two rail cars has enabled each 12-car
train to accommodate 300 new riders per train - an increase of 20 per cent.
    Prior to the introduction of the new, longer trains, station platform
extensions were constructed at Port Credit, Clarkson, Oakville and Aldershot
on the Lakeshore West corridor.

    Lakeshore East corridor

    Improvements to accommodate three-track operation between Union Station
and Scarborough Station were completed in April 2008. Further work was done to
extend the station platforms at Scarborough, Eglinton and Danforth stations to
accommodate 12-car train service.

    Milton corridor

    In April 2008, GO Transit implemented 12-car trains along the Milton rail
corridors. The addition of the two rail cars has enabled each 12-car train to
accommodate 300 new riders per train - an increase of 20 per cent.
    Prior to the introduction of the new, longer trains, station platform
extensions were constructed at Milton, Meadowvale, Cooksville, Erindale,
Kipling and Dixie on the Milton corridor. The platform extension at
Streetsville Station is currently underway.
    A new storage site was built near Milton Station to accommodate longer
12-car trains and improve operational efficiencies. 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 since January
2007.

    Stouffville corridor

    Construction on a GO rail underpass that will help decrease delays caused
by freight train traffic on the Stouffville corridor began in May 2006.
    While most of the work related to the underpass was completed this past
summer and the first GO Train passed through the new depressed corridor in
July, all project improvements were finalized at the end of November 2008. As
a result, GO Train service along this corridor is more efficient and
passengers are experiencing fewer delays.

    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 caused by
conflicts with freight trains. Preliminary works are complete, and the
construction of the grade separation is expected to begin in December 2008,
with a forecast completion date of spring 2011.

    Georgetown South (Weston corridor)

    An environmental assessment is underway to identify improvements required
to accommodate increased GO Train frequency and options for a transportation
link between Union Station and Pearson International Airport.

    Georgetown North corridor

    Construction began in fall 2006 to increase track capacity along the
corridor, 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 complete by July 2009.

    Bradford corridor

    The Snider rail-to-rail grade separation at the CN York subdivision
freight line has been operational since December 2006. This GO Train rail
overpass allows GO Transit to avoid delays caused by conflicts with freight
trains.
    Improvements along the Bradford corridor to accommodate rail service to
Barrie are also complete and service has been operational since December 17,
2007. During the week, four morning trains depart from the new GO Transit
Barrie South Station to Union Station, and four afternoon trains depart from
Union Station to the City of Barrie.

    Union Station Rail Corridor Program

    GO Transit awarded the contract for the signal improvements in 2007.
Design work began 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 underway, 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 its daytime train
storage needs and is fully operational.

    Other service areas

    On September 4, 2007, two new GO Bus routes to Guelph were implemented as
part of the GO TRIP program. In addition, on June 30, 2008, GO Transit bus
service was extended to Stoney Creek.

                                                                December 2008
    




For further information:

For further information: Chris Day, Press Secretary, Office of Transport
and Infrastructure, Minister John Baird, Ottawa, (613) 991-0700; Nicole
Lippa-Gasparro, Ontario Transportation, Minister's Office, (416) 327-1815;
Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055; Bob Nichols, MTO
Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158; Trina Melatti, GO Transit Rail
Improvement Program, (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/e-news
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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