Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca was on hand for today’s $32.4M federal transit funding announcement for Brampton and responded to our question about enhanced All Day Two Way (AD2W)GO Train service that was announced in Kitchener last June.
We asked the Minister for an update on the agreement with CN to provide a freight bypass line between the Bramalea and Milton GO Stations to allow AD2W GO service on the Kitchener line.
Currently, GO passenger rail service between the Bramalea and Georgetown GO Stations is provided on a CN owned freight line. The Minister announced last June that an agreement in principle was in place that would entail building a new bypass line for CN freight traffic that would run parallel to the 407 ETR highway. This would allow GO to electrify the entire passenger corridor from Union Station to Kitchener and provide AD2W service at 15 minute intervals, seven days a week. The Premier referred to this corridor as the “Innovation Supercorridor” for its connection between high tech business along the line.
Minister Del Duca’s Response: The Premier and I were in Kitchener where we announced that we had an agreement in principle with CN. I think many here will know that just beyond Brampton there’s a chunk of what we call the Kitchener corridor that’s owned by CN. As a result, because CN uses that for a critical freight moving link for itself, until we liberate that section of the corridor, we won’t be in a position to deliver two way all day GO service that’s electrified, that runs at 15 minute intervals. So achieving the agreement in principle was great news.
I know that Metrolinx and MTO and CN continue to negotiate a finalized agreement. I expect we’ll have an update hopefully sooner rather than later and that will require the building of a bypass that will take CN freight almost exclusively off the existing Kitchener corridor. Liberating that corridor and providing us with the opportunity to finish the work around two way all day GO. For now, regardless of what’s happening with the bypass, we know that we can deliver and we are going to deliver two way all day electrified GO service from Union Station to Bramalea Station with trains running at 15 minute intervals in both directions, seven days a week. We made that commitment in 2014 and said that it would take us 10 years. We are on track to deliver on that commitment by 2024 in keeping with the original time frame.
I will also mention a number of months ago I was here in Brampton to announce as an example of how we are making incremental progress, that we are running midday, off peak trains in both directions now from Mt. Pleasant station down to Union Station.
We’ll have a finalized agreement and updates on that final agreement in the coming weeks and months.