Lakeshore West is one of the seven train lines of the GO Transit system in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. It extends from Union Station in Toronto to Hamilton, along the shore of Lake Ontario. Some train trips extend past Hamilton to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

Lakeshore West
A Lakeshore West line GO Transit train westbound past Exhibition in Toronto
Canadian National Railway
Canadian Pacific Kansas City
LocaleGreater Toronto and Hamilton Area,
Niagara Region
Stations15 (plus 1 under construction)
TypeCommuter rail
SystemGO Transit rail services
Operator(s)GO Transit
Daily ridership33,500 (2019)[1]
OpenedMay 23, 1967 (1967-05-23)
Line length132 km (82 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Operating speed153 km/h (95 mph)[2] (speed limit)
150 km/h (93 mph)[3] (locomotive max)
Route map

Long Branch
Port Credit
Hurontario LRT
Burlington Junction
Hamilton Junction
Hunter Street tunnel
Hamilton GO Centre
Hamilton Yard
West Harbour
Grimsby GO
Jordan Harbour
St. Catharines
Niagara Falls
Lakeshore West line

History edit

The Lakeshore West line is the oldest of GO's services, opening as part of the then-unified Lakeshore line on GO Transit's first day of operations on May 23, 1967.[4] The first train, numbered 946 left at 5:50 am from Oakville bound for Toronto, ten minutes before service began out of Pickering.[5] During the three-year experiment, all day GO Train service ran hourly from Oakville to Pickering with limited rush hour train service to Hamilton. The experiment proved to be extremely popular; GO Transit carried its first million riders during its first four months, and averaged 15,000 per day soon after.[6][7]

Service began running west from Union, stopping at Mimico, Long Branch, Port Credit, Lorne Park, Clarkson, and Oakville. Rush-hour trains ran to Bronte, Burlington and Hamilton, at the former CN railway station at James Street.

GO trains started serving the Canadian National Exhibition in August 1967 from an older platform just west of the Dufferin Street bridge over the Lakeshore West line and the Queen Elizabeth Way. For the 1968 Exhibition season, temporary booths were set up to handle passengers, which topped 24,000 on the season's busiest day. This prompted the need for a proper station with additional capacity, and by the 1968 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the current Exhibition GO Station was built and put in service.[6]

Lorne Park Station closed within the first year of the line's operation after seeing little usage.

Appleby GO Station opened on September 19, 1988, followed by Aldershot GO Station on May 25, 1992. The opening of Aldershot coincided with the extension of all day and weekend service from Oakville to Burlington, however, this was reversed due to budget cuts on July 3, 1993.[6]

On April 29, 1996, James Street station was replaced by the Hamilton GO Centre. All day service to Burlington was restored on May 1, 2000, and extended to Aldershot on September 7, 2007.[6] On June 29, 2013, all day service was increased to operate trains every 30 minutes.[8]

A third track was added between Sixteen Mile creek and the Port Credit station. Combined with additional work undertaken since the early 1990s, this gives the Lakeshore West line at least three tracks from Union Station through to Bayview Junction.

In 2009 as a pilot project, GO began operating express trains to Via Rail stations in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls on weekends and holidays during Niagara Region's busy summer tourist season. The service was provided again during the 2010 season, and was officially made permanently recurring starting in 2011.[9] In 2019, the weekend express service began operating year-round, and on May 23, 2023, year-round weekday service to Niagara Falls was enhanced, with two additional round trips per day to Niagara Falls.[10]

West Harbour GO Station opened in July 2015, serving as a second Hamilton terminus for rush-hour train service.[11] In August 2021, all-day service was extended to this station.[12]

On January 7, 2019, one weekday round-trip was extended beyond West Harbour station to Niagara Falls.[13]

On April 28, 2024 as part of a larger increase in GO Train service, Metrolinx introduced 15-minute weekend service from Oakville GO and Union Station.[14]

Service edit

On weekdays, local service operates every 30 minutes east of Aldershot and every 60 minutes at West Harbour.[15] In addition, eleven daily express trains operate during peak and off-peak periods, of which four operate between Toronto and Hamilton GO Centre,[15] two to West Harbour, two to Aldershot, and three to Niagara Falls.[16]

On weekends, local service operates every 30 minutes between Union and Aldershot, and every 60 minutes between Aldershot and West Harbour. Three express trains per day operate between Toronto and Niagara Falls.[16]

All off-peak local trains, as well as some peak trains, are through-routed with the Lakeshore East line to Oshawa.[15]

Five GO bus routes are considered to be part of the Lakeshore West corridor:

Future edit

As part of the 2008 Metrolinx regional transportation plan entitled The Big Move, the agency identified an express all-day service between Hamilton and Oshawa (via Toronto Union) as one of its top 15 priorities.[18] This project, formally dubbed GO Expansion is expected to reduce some trip times by 20%.[19][20]

GO Expansion will involve electrifying the Lakeshore West line up to Burlington GO Station, and introduce electrified rail services that will operate up to every 3.5 minutes during peak hour, as well as expanding off-peak service beyond Aldershot GO Station into Hamilton and beyond to Niagara Falls. GO Expansion also involves upgrading multiple stations to include enhanced passenger accommodations, as well as raising the platforms at all GO Stations on the line to be the same height as the coaches, removing the need to step up into the coach and making all sections of the trains accessible.

In early 2019, Niagara Falls, New York officials expressed interest in having GO Transit expand rail service over the border to the Niagara Falls station in New York.[21] Metrolinx stated that there are specific restrictions when a train leaves Ontario, or any province in Canada, that require a different set of inspection criteria and standards in order to legally enter the United States which would make a stop at the station difficult.[22]

In June 2020, Metrolinx released a business case for a proposed station near Humber Bay, named Park Lawn GO Station. The station will be integrated unit a residential development being constructed at the same time.

Niagara Region edit

Metrolinx is currently planning to expand rail service between Hamilton and Niagara Falls.[23] The project includes three new stations, two upgraded stations, and more than 25 kilometres of new track.[23] Originally planned for completion in 2023, Metrolinx halted the delivery process for the stations in the Niagara extension in November 2018 when the newly-elected 42nd Parliament of Ontario rescinded its funding for their construction. In order to be constructed, the stations would instead be dependent on private financing.[24]

In 2015, Confederation GO Station (in East Hamilton, near Stoney Creek) was announced with a completion date of 2019.[25][26] As of 2022, the rail station is under construction and is planned to open in 2025.[27][28]

In June 2016, Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca announced that regular service would be extended to Grimsby, with the Grimsby GO Station expected to open in 2021.[29] In 2023, enhanced service was then-expected to begin to the St. Catharines and Niagara Falls Via Rail stations which will be upgraded to support increased GO service.[30]

In March 2022, Metrolinx released an initial business case for a proposed Beamsville GO Station within the Town of Lincoln. It would be located on the west side of Ontario Street in Beamsville along the rail line. Metrolinx expects the proposed station would increase GO Transit ridership by 48,000 trips annually by 2041 including 7,000 to 8,000 tourists annually. The proposed station could possibly include customer parking, a pick-up and drop-off area, bicycle parking, and an area for local and regional public transit buses.[31]

Ownership edit

In order to facilitate service expansions, GO Transit's parent agency Metrolinx has gradually acquired portions of the Lakeshore West corridor from the freight railway companies Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC). Most of the Lakeshore West line operates along the Oakville subdivision, which was entirely owned by CN prior to 1998.[32]

On March 31, 2010, GO acquired its first segment of the Oakville subdivision, between Union Station and 30th Street in Etobicoke (just west of GO's Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility).[33] On March 27, 2012, GO purchased a second segment immediately to the west, extending its ownership to a point just west of Fourth Line in Oakville.[34] On March 22, 2013, Metrolinx purchased a third segment extending its ownership westward to a point just west of Burlington station, where the CN Halton Subdivision joins the line.[35]

A GO train travels along the branch line owned by CPKC towards Hamilton GO Centre.

In addition to the Union Station Rail Corridor, these three segments represent Metrolinx's current ownership of the line. CN continues to own the tracks between Burlington and the Desjardins Canal, as well as the Grimsby subdivision that carries trains into Niagara Region. CPKC owns the tracks between the Desjardins Canal and Hamilton GO Centre.[36]

Station list edit

Most off-peak local trains, as well as some peak trains, continue as part of the Lakeshore East line after stopping at Union Station, with no train change required.

Service legend
Local Operates at all times
Peak express Operates on weekday peak periods in the peak direction
Off-peak express Operates outside of peak periods
Station Municipality Services Connections Notes
Local Peak
Union Toronto   Canadian/Corridor/Maple Leaf
Through service to the Lakeshore East line
Exhibition |     TTC Future connection to Ontario Line
Mimico | |   TTC
Long Branch | |     TTC
Port Credit Mississauga |   MiWay Future connection to Hurontario LRT
Clarkson |   MiWay
  Oakville Transit
Oakville Oakville   Corridor/Maple Leaf
  Oakville Transit
Rail service every 15 minutes runs east of this station
Bronte |   Oakville Transit
Appleby Burlington |   Burlington Transit
  Oakville Transit
  Burlington Transit
Aldershot   Corridor/Maple Leaf
  Burlington Transit
  Hamilton Street Railway
Rail service every 30 minutes runs east of this station
Hamilton Hamilton    
  Hamilton Street Railway
Bus service only during off-peak, future pedestrian connection to Hamilton LRT
West Harbour |    
  Hamilton Street Railway
Rail service every 60 minutes runs east of this station
Confederation | |  
  Hamilton Street Railway
Bus service began in 2019[37]
Rail service beginning 2025
St. Catharines St. Catharines   Maple Leaf
  St. Catharines Transit
Limited rail service of three trains per day to these stations
Niagara Falls Niagara Falls   Maple Leaf
  Niagara Falls Transit
  WEGO Niagara Falls Visitor Transportation
Stopping patterns of Lakeshore West line as of November 2023

References edit

  1. ^ "Ridership Performance" (PDF). Metrolinx. September 2019. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "Railway Investigation". Transportation Safety Board of Canada. June 10, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "Quick Facts: GO Trains (Sept 2012)" (PDF). GO Transit. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 19, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  4. ^ GO celebrates 40 years of success
  5. ^ GO 50th Anniversary
  6. ^ a b c d Garcia et al.: Lakeshore corridor
  7. ^ Sergeant, Ch.4: Buying the trains.
  8. ^ Kalinowski, Tess (April 19, 2013). "GO trains to run every 30 minutes all day on Lakeshore lines". Toronto Star. Toronto Star Newspapers. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  9. ^ "Summer GO Train Permanent". Niagara This Week. April 15, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  10. ^ Staff (August 15, 2019). "Metrolinx adding 84 new weekly GO train trips in GTHA". The Canadian Press. Global News. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "First commuters ride GO from Hamilton's new West Harbour station". CBC News. April 9, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "Ontario Introduces Hourly GO Train Service Between West Harbour GO Station and Union Station". Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  13. ^ "New GO train service to Niagara". CBC News. January 6, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  14. ^ "Major GO service increases coming April 28". Retrieved May 8, 2024.
  15. ^ a b c d "Lakeshore West Timetable" (PDF). GO Transit. January 6, 2024. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  16. ^ a b c "Lakeshore West Niagara Timetable" (PDF). GO Transit. September 4, 2021. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  17. ^ "Aldershot GO". GO Transit. Retrieved October 12, 2023.
  18. ^ The Big Move Archived June 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Section 5.2: The first 15 years. Retrieved July 23, 2010
  19. ^ Lakeshore West GO line
  20. ^ Tess Kalinowski, Transportation reporter (April 17, 2015). "GO to add almost 50 per cent more trains in next 5 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  21. ^ Pfeiffer, Rick (January 27, 2019). "Falls officials want to bring Canadian commuter train across the border". Niagara Gazette. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  22. ^ "Niagara Falls, N.Y. mayor says he wants a GO Train across the border | The Star". January 30, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Metrolinx: For a Greater Region - Niagara". Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  24. ^ LaFleche, Grant; Sawchuk, Bill (November 30, 2018). "Grimsby GO station plan 'will be stopped'". The St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  25. ^ "Ontario Investing Up to $1 Billion for Light Rail Transit in Hamilton". Ontario Newsroom. May 26, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  26. ^ "Hamilton to get a new LRT and GO Train station". Toronto Star. May 26, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  27. ^ Werner, Kevin (April 1, 2020). "Confederation GO bus service hits the ground running with service to area transit loop". Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  28. ^ DeClerq, Katherine (October 6, 2022). "Construction on new GO train station in Hamilton begins". CTV News Toronto. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  29. ^ "Work begins in 2017 on GO train expansion into Niagara". The Canadian Press. June 28, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  30. ^ "Boards for St Catharines" (PDF). Metrolinx. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  31. ^ "Initial Business Case for proposed Beamsville GO Station released". Metrolinx. March 15, 2022. Archived from the original on March 15, 2022.
  32. ^ McNeil, Gary (June 27, 2013). "GO Transit President's Board Update" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2024.
  33. ^ "CN sells commuter rail line segment west of Toronto Union Station to Metrolinx for C$168 million" (Press release). CNW. March 31, 2010. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017.
  34. ^ "CN - CN sells Greater Toronto Area rail lines to Metrolinx for GO Transit services". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  35. ^ "CN - CN sells Oakville-Burlington, Ont., line segment to Metrolinx for GO Transit commuter rail service". Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  36. ^ Metrolinx Rail Corridor Ownership
  37. ^ "Stoney Creek Public Meeting Presentation Boards" (PDF). Metrolinx Engage. November 27, 2017. p. 8. Retrieved January 5, 2018.

General references edit

Bibliography edit

External links edit