Improved GO Train service to Hamilton, Stoney Creek is on track

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Published March 1, 2023 at 4:27 pm

west_harbour_go_station

There is a timeline for the track work that will allow more GO Trains to come in and out of Hamilton and Stoney Creek, which has been promised for more than a decade.

Metrolinx, earlier this week, announced a construction schedule for building a roughly half-kilometre stretch east of the West Harbour station on Bay St. in downtown Hamilton. That connection has been the missing link for service to the future Confederation GO Station in the East Hamilton/Stoney Creek area to Niagara Falls.

“As part of this work, crews are relocating underground utilities to make room for new track that will be joined to the main line track just past the Mary Street bridge,” Metrolinx says in an infographic. “This project also includes work to strengthen the footings on the James Street Bridge over the rail corridor.

“The work (is) expected to be complete early in 2024.”

The West Harbour GO Station opened in 2015. Incoming and outcoming trips were infrequent until half-hour service was added in the summer of 2021. But Metrolinx is touting an expansion plan that will move GO rail beyond its historical role as a commuter service.

“Across the entire network, our goal is to deliver over 10,000 train trips a week — so you won’t need a schedule because you know the next train will be coming soon,” Metrolinx says. “(The) GO Expansion will transform the GO rail network from a commuter service into an all-day, rapid system.”

A complicating matter is a bottleneck at the Aldershot GO Station, which is the closest stop on the Lakeshore West line to the West Harbour. Canadian National (CN) Rail owns the tracks, and there is also a VIA Rail station there, which means Metrolinx has had to add a dedicated line for GO Trains.

Premier Doug Ford and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announced last October that the Confederation GO Station will be operational by 2025.

Former premier Kathleen Wynne and transportation minister Steven Del Duca had previously made a similar announcement in 2015, three years before a change in the provincial government. The work was tendered in 2020.

‘Noise impacts’

The prep work has required the removal of trees near Strachan St. E. in the north end. The notice from Metrolinx indicates that disruptions for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists are not expected to be major. There will be some din when the fortifying on the James St. bridge takes place.

“Noise impacts are expected during the bridge work,” Metrolinx says.

The same construction notice is being sent to nearby residents, Ward 2 Coun. Cameron Kroetsch said in a social media post on Tuesday. The removal of the trees was a sensitive topic since Ward 2 has relatively little tree canopy and a high proportion of paved surface, which is a contributor to an urban heat island effect.

“I will be meeting with Metrolinx this week to discuss the removal and replacement of the trees along Strachan Street East and will write here when I have more information to share,” Kroetsch noted.

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