GO Transit Regional Express Rail
Regional Express Rail (RER), also known as GO Expansion, is a project to improve GO Transit train service by adding all-day, two-way service to the Barrie line and the inner portions of the Kitchener line and the Stouffville line, and by increasing frequency of train service on various lines to as often as every 15 minutes on five of the corridors. This would be achieved with the full electrification of the Lakeshore East line and the Barrie line and the electrification of the inner portions of the Lakeshore West line, the Kitchener line, and the Stouffville line. RER is one of the Big Move rapid transit projects.
With RER, GO Transit will increase the number of train trips per week from 1,500 (as of 2015) to about 2,200 by 2020 and expanding to 6,000 weekly trips upon completion. Most of the extra trips will be in the off-peak hours and on weekends. The expanded services, new infrastructure and electrification is projected to roll out in phases between 2025 and 2030. The 10-year regional express rail plan will cost $13.5 billion, and will require 150 kilometres (93 mi) of new track including new bridges and tunnels.
RER goals would be achieved with the electrification of core sections of the GO Transit train system, as follows:
- the Lakeshore West line between Burlington and Union Station
- the Lakeshore East line between Oshawa and Union Station
- the Kitchener line between Bramalea and Union Station, including the Union Pearson Express service
- the Barrie line between Allandale Waterfront (Barrie) and Union Station
- the Stouffville line between Lincolnville and Union Station
RER will operate 4-car, bi-level electric multiple unit (EMU) sets which would be coupled to form 8- and 12-car trains. To reduce operating costs, smaller 4-car trains will run during periods of lighter demand, such as on weekends. GO Transit's existing fleet of unpowered bi-level cars will be used to operate many peak services, but will be pulled by electric locomotives, in a similar manner to SEPTA Regional Rail. EMUs cost less to operate than 12-car diesel trains and have faster acceleration. Journey times can be reduced significantly with electric traction depending on the route, stopping pattern and equipment.
Metrolinx proposes the following service levels along the GO train network:
Two-way, all-day 15-minute service:
- for the Lakeshore West line between Aldershot and Union Station
- for the Lakeshore East line between Oshawa and Union Station
- for the Kitchener line between Bramalea and Union Station
- for the Barrie line between Aurora and Union Station and
- for the Stouffville line between Unionville and Union Station
Two-way 60-minute service:
- for the Lakeshore West line between Hamilton GO Centre and Union Station
- for the Kitchener line between Mount Pleasant and Union Station (weekday midday periods only)
- for the Barrie line between Allandale Waterfront (Barrie) and Union Station
- for the Stouffville line between Mount Joy (Markham) and Union Station
Peak period, peak direction service on weekdays:
- every 15 minutes on the Lakeshore West line between Hamilton GO Centre and Union Station
- every 30 minutes on the Lakeshore West line between West Harbour and Union Station
- every 15 minutes on the Milton line
- every 30 minutes on the Kitchener line between Kitchener and Union Station
- every 15 minutes on the Kitchener line between Mount Pleasant and Union Station
- every 30 minutes on the Barrie line between Allandale Waterfront (Barrie) and Union Station
- every 15 minutes on the Richmond Hill line
- every 20 minutes on the Stouffville line between Lincolnville and Union Station
- In addition to the services outlined above, communities between Oakville and Hamilton on the Lakeshore West line, between Bramalea and Kitchener on the Kitchener line, and between Pickering and Oshawa on the Lakeshore East line would enjoy express services to/from Union Station.
GO Transit has historically offered two-way, all-day service along its Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines, while only providing peak rush hour service on its other lines. The Big Move outlines the building of express and regional rail service improvements across the existing GO Transit network. Other improvements included extensions to Hamilton and Bowmanville, as well as new GO Transit corridors to Bolton, Seaton and Locust Hill.
As part of the 2011 Ontario general election, Premier Dalton McGuinty also made a campaign pledge to provide two-way, all-day train service on all corridors. The vision of two-way, full-day train service on all corridors eventually included electrification of the system, and was renamed Regional Express Rail.
As part of the Phase 2 announcement, Metrolinx stated that the Kitchener and Lakeshore lines would be electrified, as well as the Union Pearson Express.
With RER, Metrolinx expects to nearly double ridership to 127 million riders per year by about 2029 from 65.7 million in 2015.
On March 31, 2017, the federal government announced it would contribute $1.9 billion of the estimated $13.5 billion cost of GO RER. The Kitchener line will receive at least $750 million of the federal funding for infrastructure upgrades including 40 kilometres (25 mi) of new track. The Barrie line, Lakeshore East line, and Lakeshore West line will share the balance of the federal funding for upgrades and 88 kilometres (55 mi) of new track.
SmartTrack is a proposed Regional Express Rail surface line to run mostly within the City of Toronto. It was proposed by John Tory during his successful mayoral campaign in 2014. The SmartTrack proposal depends on electrification of the Stouffville and Kitchener corridors where SmartTrack service would run.
- "GO Expansion". Metrolinx.com. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- Niepow, Daniel (April 2018). "Ontario invests billions in ambitious plan to boost GO Transit's commuter-rail service". Progressive Railroading. TradePress Media Group. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- "GO Expansion Full Business Case" (PDF). Metrolinx. November 2018.
- Kalinowski, Tess (April 17, 2015). "GO to add almost 50 per cent more trains in next 5 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- Moore, Oliver (March 14, 2016). "Toronto's grand transit plan (maybe, hopefully)". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
- Metrolinx (2015). "GO RER Initial Business Case Summary" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-03.
- Metrolinx (2015). "GO RER Initial Business Case - Full Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-04.
- Barrow, Keith (February 11, 2016). "Metrolinx sets Toronto RER options". Railway Age. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
- Spurr, Ben (March 31, 2017). "Ottawa to invest $1.9B in GO Transit's regional express rail project". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
- Ontario Liberal Party (2011). "The Ontario Liberal Plan 2011-2015" (PDF). OCLC 760993664. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-12.
- Metrolinx (2016). "Metrolinx Regional Express Rail". Metrolinx.
- GO Transit (2012). "Electrification Study Highlights" (PDF). GO Transit. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
- Curry, Bill (May 27, 2016). "Where have all the transit riders gone?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
- Metrolinx RER project site
- GO RER Initial Business Case:
- Full Report
- Appendices A-J
- A: Corridor Specifications
- B: Corridor and System Schematics
- C: Model Assumptions and Results
- D: Record of Assumptions – Direct Demand Model
- E: Financial Performance of RER Systems
- F: Sensitivity Analysis
- G: Wider Economic Benefits
- H: Line Speed Analysis
- I: Environmental Assessment Program
- J: Fare Structure Issues and Solutions
- Appendix K: Station Access Analysis