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GO aims to double service, ridership


GO Transit officials are looking today for a $35 million cheque to begin an ambitious plan they hope will double both service and ridership.

They want GO’s board to approve construction of a new set of tracks between Burlington and Hamilton as part of a $1 billion expansion program to draw 45 million more riders.

The money has been promised to GO for infrastructure renewal, with the costs shared by Ottawa, Queen’s Park and the GTA municipalities.

“We’re ready to get a shovel in the ground,” said GO managing director Gary McNeil, eager to get going on the two-year project that will bring day-long service as far as Aldershot station. The project is the first of about a dozen to have received environmental assessment approval.

A third Lakeshore line would allow almost subway-like frequency in rush hour and trains every 20 minutes or so in the afternoons and nights, instead of the current hourly service. The north-south lines to places like Georgetown, Stouffville and Richmond Hill operate on a single set of tracks. GO would like to add a second track to allow trains to go all day.

Other environmental assessments are nearing completion for:

  • Third tracks for the last stretch into Hamilton’s downtown, and a stretch between Oakville and Port Credit that would complete the Lakeshore West corridor.

  • New mainline tracks, including Lakeshore East and some of the north-south lines.

But some plans are getting bogged down, including expansions to Barrie because of haggling over who pays for what, and to Georgetown as Weston residents object to changes to their neighbourhood to make way for a Pearson airport-Union Station rail link.