Lakeshore East line

Lakeshore East is one of the seven commuter rail lines of the GO Transit system in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. It extends from Union Station in Toronto to Oshawa GO in Durham Region. Buses from Oshawa connect to communities further east in Newcastle, Bowmanville and Peterborough.

Lakeshore East
GO Lakeshore East logo.svg
GO 558 Pulling East from Guildwood.jpg
GO Train approaches a level crossing at Galloway Road in Scarborough
TypeCommuter rail
SystemGO Transit rail services
LocaleToronto; Pickering; Ajax; Whitby;
Daily ridership52,000 (2014)[1]
OpenedMay 23, 1967 (1967-05-23)
Operator(s)GO Transit
Line length50.5 km (31.4 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Route map

GO Transit logo.svg GO Lakeshore West logo.svg GO Milton logo.svg GO Kitchener logo.svg GO Barrie logo.svg UP Express logo.svg
Union Station
VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg BSicon SUBWAY.svg TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg BSicon CLRV.svg
Don Yard
BSicon SUBWAY.svg TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg GO Transit logo.svg GO Stouffville logo.svg
GO Transit logo.svg GO Stouffville logo.svg
VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg
Rouge Hill
Highway 401
Extension to Bowmanville
VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg
Thornton's Corners
Oshawa Central

Most off-peak and some peak trains are interlined with the Lakeshore West line, continuing to Aldershot or Niagara Falls.


The Lakeshore East line is the second oldest of GO's services, opening as part of the then-unified Lakeshore line on GO's first day of operations, 23 May 1967.[2] It is ten minutes younger than its twin; although the first train from Pickering bound for Toronto left at 5:00 am that day, a 4:50 am departure from Oakville on Lakeshore West beat it into the record books.

The line initially ran along the CN Kingston Subdivision from Union to Pickering. Just prior to the opening of GO service, CN had moved much of its freight operations from downtown areas to the new MacMillan Yard north of the city. To feed freight traffic from the east into the Yard, CN built the new York Subdivision across the top of the city (in what was then farmland) and connected the Yard to the Kingston Sub just west of Pickering at Pickering Junction. This offloaded the majority of traffic from the Kingston Sub between Pickering Junction and Union, allowing ample scheduling room for GO service. Sections of the Kingston Sub to the east of Pickering Junction remained in use as the mainline to Montreal, and CN did not have capacity to allow GO traffic on these sections.

GO had originally planned to address this as part of a much larger project known as GO-Urban, and later, GO ALRT. GO ALRT would have used a new electric train car running on a dedicated right-of-way between Pickering and its terminus to the east of Harmony Road on the far eastern edge of Oshawa. ALRT was to have followed the CN lines east to Whitby, then across the 401 to follow the CP Belleville Sub, which runs in parallel on the north side of the 401. Stations would be built at Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Hopkins (west edge of Oshawa), Simcoe (downtown Oshawa), Oshawa east (at Stevenson) and finally Harmony. First proposed in 1982, ALRT lived for only a short time before it was cancelled in 1985 with a change of government.

Instead, the basic alignment planned for ALRT from Pickering to Oshawa was laid using conventional track, splitting off at Pickering Junction and running under the York Sub bridge over the 401 in a complex basket weave. It ran along the original ALRT layout to Whitby, but abandoned the 401 overpass and instead continued along the CN lines to the current Oshawa GO Station on the far western edge of town. The new lines were laid in sections, reaching Oshawa in 1995.[3] Until 29 December 2006, weekend and holiday trains still ended in Pickering,[4] but service is now offered along the entire route every day of the year.

In December 1993, GO Transit initiated a program for the eastward expansion of the Lakeshore East line, for which it received approval in 1994.[5] GO Transit undertook a study to determine whether to use the tracks of Canadian Pacific Railway or Canadian National Railway.[5]

Metrolinx purchased the Kingston Sub between Pickering Junction and Union on 31 March 2011.[6] This means that GO now completely owns the Lakeshore East, Newmarket/Barrie and Stouffville corridors.

On 29 June 2013, off-peak service was improved to every 30 minutes.[7] On 24 September 2018, weekday mid-day service frequency was improved again, now operating every 15 minutes. [8]


As of September 2018, local service operates every 15 minutes on weekdays mid-day, and every 30 minutes during other periods. In addition to local service, there are up to 4 express trains per hour during weekday peak periods.[9]

Station listEdit

Most off-peak trains, as well as some peak trains, continue as part of the Lakeshore West corridor after stopping at Union. With few exceptions, it is possible to travel from Oshawa to Aldershot or Niagara Falls without changing trains in Toronto.

Station Municipality Connections Notes
Bowmanville Durham Clarington TBD Proposed station
Darlington TBD Proposed station
Oshawa Central Oshawa TBD Proposed station
Thornton's Corners TBD Proposed station
Whitby Whitby    
Ajax Ajax    
Pickering Pickering    
Rouge Hill Toronto   TTC, DRT
Eglinton   TTC
Scarborough   TTC
East Harbour TBD Proposed station
Through service to Lakeshore West line


In 2008, Metrolinx published its regional transportation entitled The Big Move. As part of this, the agency identified an express all-day service between Hamilton and Oshawa (via Toronto Union) as one of its top 15 priorities.[10] Metrolinx has also committed to eventually providing service every 15 minutes on the line, as well as electrifying railways. This project, dubbed Regional Express Rail, is expected to reduce some trip times by 20%.[11][12] Continued growth of the Oshawa area has led to renewed calls for expansion of the Lakeshore East line, this time all the way to Bowmanville. Possible station stops have been identified near Stevenson Road, Bloor Street, Courtice Road, and two locations in Bowmanville. There were plans to convert a building that used to be a Knob Hill Farms grocery store into a GO train station located near Simcoe Street, but the plans to build a station there have been scrapped due to environmental concerns and the challenge of reaching a fair purchase price with the property owner.[13] However, negotiations for a station in downtown Oshawa could be reconsidered if both sides could come to an agreement on a fair purchase price for the building.[14] On June 20, 2016, it was announced that the line will be extended to Bowmanville. The extension is expected to open in 2024.[15]

Current plans call for a realignment to follow a path similar to the original one chosen for the GO ALRT project, crossing the 401 to follow the Belleville Sub mainline on the north side of the highway. There are two "obvious" locations for such a crossover: one is just west of the existing Oshawa station where the CP line forms a sharp bend at Thickson Road; the other is to follow the existing railbridge just east of the station where CP switches traffic for the GM plants. The latter is more difficult in theory, because of the location of the Via station directly off the east end of the tracks.

The current proposed expansion route follows the CNR rail corridor south of Highway 401 eastward to Thickson Road in Whitby, where a new split would cross north of the highway to connect to the CPR corridor.[16]


  1. ^ "Regional Express Rail" (PDF). Metrolinx. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  2. ^ "GO celebrates 40 years of success".
  3. ^ "Significant dates in GO Transit". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  4. ^ Daniel Garcia; James Bow. "GO Transit's Lakeshore Line". Transit Toronto. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Cole, Lindsay. "GO Train expansion - Will all be 'all aboard?'". The Oshawa Express. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  6. ^ "GO owner buys rail line between T.O. and Pickering". CTV Toronto (CTVGlobeMedia). 30 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  7. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (19 April 2013). "GO trains to run every 30 minutes all day on Lakeshore lines". Toronto Star. Toronto Star Newspapers. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  8. ^ "GO trains on Lakeshore lines to run more often". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  9. ^ "Lakeshore East Line 2020" (PDF). GO Transit. 11 January 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  10. ^ The Big Move Archived 2010-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, Section 5.2: The first 15 years. Retrieved July 23, 2010
  11. ^ "Metrolinx Regional Express Rail – Lakeshore West GO line".
  12. ^ Tess Kalinowski, Transportation reporter (17 April 2015). "GO to add almost 50 per cent more trains in next 5 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  13. ^ Follert, Jillian (November 14, 2011). "Metrolinx derails plans for Oshawa GO station". Archived from the original on May 23, 2012.
  14. ^ Follert, Jillian (November 18, 2011). "Metrolinx would resume GO negotiations on Knob Hill Farms site for the right price". Archived from the original on November 22, 2011.
  15. ^ "Lakeshore East GO train service expanding 20 km to Bowmanville by 2024". CBC. The Canadian Press. June 20, 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  16. ^ Intrinsik Environmental Sciences, AECOM Canada (January 2011). "Screening level human health risk assessment (SLHHRA) of air quality impacts" (PDF). GO Transit rail service expansion from Oshawa to Bowmnaville. GO Trqansit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-15. Retrieved 14 September 2014.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

External linksEdit