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GO to seek new train crews



GO Trains moves 165,000 passengers daily.

Feb 08, 2007 02:49 PM

Curtis Rush
Staff Reporter

CN engineers and conductor crews will likely not be staffing GO Transit trains after 2008 because CN has no current plans to bid on a new contract.

Meanwhile, the latest numbers show that the on-time performance for GO Trains was better in November and December than it was in October – the worst month in two years – but still lagged behind GO Transit’s target.

GO Transit indicated today that it will put out its train crews contract to tender – likely within the next couple of months – and CN indicated, at this time, that it will not be bidding.

GO has started the pre-qualification process for prospective bidders and submissions should be entertained soon.

This, however, would end a 40-year relationship of CN providing crews for GO Transit.

But GO will continue to have a contractual relationship to run trains over CN-owned rail lines and CN will continue providing dispatching services for the GO Trains.

“We are not ending a 40-year relationship because we will still have a contract to run trains over their lines,” GO spokesperson Stephanie Sorensen said this afternoon.

CN has been providing crews since GO was established in 1967.

The upcoming change has nothing to do with performance levels, according to GO Transit and CN spokesperson Mark Hallman.

Hallman wouldn’t comment on why CN isn’t planning to bid on the crewing contract.

Veolia Transportation, based in London, England, and Quebec’s Bombardier have previously indicated an interest in running trains for GO.

Veolia Transportation operates York Region’s Viva buses.

Currently, GO Transit is unable to penalize CN for late trains that are caused by CN issues.

That would change under a new arrangement.

CN currently provides engineers and conductors for GO Transit on six of the seven lines.

CP operates the tracks and provides crews on the Milton line.

Hallman said it’s unlikely there would be job losses because those CN employees would be reassigned to CN’s freight operations.

Meanwhile, the latest numbers are out for GO Transit’s performance for November and December 2006.

The on-time performance for trains in November was 89 per cent and 88 per cent in December.

Those figures are up slightly from October, when trains were on time only 82 per cent of the time, the worst-performing month in two years.

GO Transit’s objective is to be in the low to mid-90s for percentage on-time performance.

GO Transit blamed CN for 35 per cent of the delays in November. It also blamed Bombardier, which maintains GO’s trains, for another 13 per cent of the problems.

GO took the blame for 22 per cent of the delays in November.

In December, GO Transit blamed CN for 33 per cent of the problems and Bombardier for 19 per cent of the delays while taking responsibility for 21 per cent of the problems due to construction programs.

Up to 16 per cent of the delays in December were attributed to vandalism, weather, crossing incidents and trespasser incidents.

Hallman said that according to CN’s numbers, GO trains were on time 96 per cent of the time in 2006, when problems beyond CN’s control were factored out.

Meanwhile, GO Transit is trying to trouble-shoot its most serious problems. For instance, the Richmond Hill and Bradford lines continue to be the worst performing lines.

The Richmond Hill line was the worst performer in November with only a 75 per cent on-time showing, while the Bradford line was the worst performer in December with those trains reporting only a 76 per cent on-time rate.

In both months, the Lakeshore east was the top performer with 93 per cent on-time performance in November and 92 per cent in December.