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GO proposes new rail station for east Hamilton

by Daniel Nolan

A new commuter rail station will be built in east Hamilton if GO Transit ever gets its Niagara expansion plans off the drawing board.

GO is looking at building a station on the CN Rail line at Centennial Parkway and calling it Confederation Station. It would replace a station proposed for Fruitland Road in Stoney Creek.

GO would also shift all-day rail service between the Hamilton area and Union Station in Toronto — 20 trains a day — to Confederation from Aldershot. The agency had originally wanted to make the terminus at a new station at James Street North. That station would still get all-day rail service under the revised plan.

GO spokesperson Vanessa Thomas said Tuesday the change in station locations is a result of comments the agency received from the public during the summer at information forums in Hamilton and other communities.

“We really listened to the input,” Thomas said. “We were listening and we have made these adjustments.”

Go Transit had originally rejected Centennial Parkway because it could not be accommodated by a developer near the rail-road junction, east of Centennial Parkway. It then looked at a piece of vacant land the City of Hamilton owns just west of Centennial Parkway, off Goderich Road and north of the rail line. GO said Hamilton was consulted about the new site and it was “deemed a potential future station.”

GO Transit is fine-tuning an environmental assessment and design study on Niagara rail expansion for Ontario Environment Minister John Wilkinson. It launched the study at the start of 2010.

GO Transit also made alterations to stations proposed for Fifty Road near Winona and Casablanca Boulevard in Grimsby. It relocated the Fifty Road station to the east side of the road from the west side due to an impact on proposed residential development and added a buffer area between the Grimsby station and residential areas. It also proposed to create a larger parking lot in Grimsby as demand warrants.

The public can comment on the revisions before Jan. 14, 2011. Thomas said the study will be presented to the minister in the coming months — after another period of public consultations — and he could either accept it or seek more information from GO. If it is accepted, it would then wait for funding from the province. That could take up to five years.

GO Transit has four revised options for service expansion into Niagara:

  • Option 1 would be to Confederation station and see a train layover facility at Lewis Road in Stoney Creek.
  • Option 2 would see expansion to Casablanca Boulevard and have the Fifty Road station only be built as ridership warrants.
  • Option 3 would extend service to the St. Catharines VIA station and create a train layover facility at Glendale Avenue. Stations at Fifty Road and Beamsville would only be built as ridership warrants.
  • Option 4 would see service extended to the Niagara Falls VIA station, but this would require a tunnel or a bridge at the Welland Canal. Cost has been estimated at $1 billion and GO has acknowledged the province faces challenging fiscal times. Stations at Confederation, Fifty Road and Beamsville would only be developed as ridership warrants.