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GO studies Bolton rail service

Saturday April 19 2008
By Adam Martin-Robbins, Staff Writer

The plan to bring GO train service to Bolton is chugging along, says the Town’s key transportation staffer.

“According to what I’ve heard, an RFP (request for proposals) for the feasibility study will be issued next week,” said Haiqing Xu, Caledon’s senior transportation planner. “GO has already set aside $80 million for this project over the next ten years, this is very encouraging.”

The feasibility study, which is expected to be completed by October, will look at a number of short-term and long-term rail service scenarios, a Town staff report says.

Those scenarios include a train shuttle between Bolton and the Weston GO train station in northwest Etobicoke and ‘direct rail service’ between Bolton and Union Station in downtown Toronto through York Region.

The study will also look at the level of service required for Bolton, including how many trains are needed and at what time of day.

The three scenarios to be considered include limited service consisting of one to six trains heading south during the morning rush and north during the evening rush hours; limited service with trains running in both directions in off-peak times every hour; and full service including six or more trains running every 15 minutes, during the morning and evening rush, express trains during peak times, off-peak trains running both directions every 30 to 60 minutes and ‘counter peak revenue service,’ which means trains running north to Bolton during the morning rush hour and south to Toronto during the evening rush.

Bolton commuters are currently served by GO buses travelling south during the morning rush hour and north in the evening.

“It’s nice to see GO has set aside $80 million because it’s long overdue,” said Regional Councillor Annette Groves. “I know the community of Bolton has been quite interested.”

According to Xu, that money will cover the cost of building a train station and a parking lot in Bolton, but not adding another set of tracks, which might be necessary if the number of cargo trains using the existing tracks is too high.

“Everything is covered except the twinning of tracks,” he said. “If twinning is necessary, additional funding will be required.”

Councillor Nick deBoer said it’s unlikely GO trains will be able to roll into town unless a second set of tracks are installed since the railway line is likely at full capacity now with freight trains.

“If you’re going to say you can run trains there without twinning the tracks, you might as well say you’re going to run them up Highway 50.”