“You no longer have to drive or take a bus to Aldershot GO Station just to get on a train,” Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said in an announcement at West Harbor station. “This region is booming and we have to meet demand. Trains will begin shortly after 5 a.m., with the last return trip from Toronto leaving at 11:45 p.m., said Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster. “Before COVID, we were on 40 trains per week. We are now going to 250 trains per week. “
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins later confirmed to CBC Hamilton that the service would be hourly.
“It’s long overdue,” says local resident
Local resident Brandon Archer, who attended the event with a bespoke GO Transit mask, said the community was eager to have all-day train service.
“It’s long overdue,” Archer, 23, told CBC Hamilton. “It’s good to have an option in North Hamilton… Now I can just get on a train, pay for my ticket and I’m practically in Toronto.
The new service will not affect existing routes from Hamilton’s GO Center on Hunter Street, which operates two trains each way per day and the express bus all day, Mulroney said.
There are also plans to increase the TGV bus service on the section of Line A that connects West Harbor station, Mayor Fred Eisenberger said.
The expanded schedule will also help pave the way for more frequent service to Niagara and to the planned Centennial Parkway North station, Verster said. “Confederation (the train station) is… the next step in our expansion. “
The impact of all-day service on Hamilton is significant, said Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook. Currently, Hamilton residents “have to drive up to half an hour to get to nearby Aldershot GO Station as Hamilton stations do not have access to an all-day rail system. “.
Skelly cited data from 2019 which shows 62% of customers who came to Aldershot station were from Hamilton. “On weekends, 70 percent of the GO bus passengers who transferred to Aldershot were from Hamilton,” she said.
All day service first promised in 2011
Then-Premier Dalton McGuinty pledged all-day GO service to Hamilton in 2011, saying it would be up and running in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
West Harbor Station, located on the CN rail line at the north end of James Street North, was announced in 2013, touted as the way to bring all-day train service to Hamilton. This is a level of service that would not be an option at the Hunter Street station, where the tracks are owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
“Having the second station will open up additional access to additional rail lines,” then Transport Minister Glen Murray said. CN Rail controls much of the rail lines leading to Hamilton and the corridor between downtown and the new Stoney Creek station.
By 2015, the station was largely completed, but frequent service had yet to materialize.
At the time of the 2018 election campaign, there were only four one-way trains per day from Hamilton, which is still the case today.
Ancaster MP Ted McMeekin said at the time that negotiations with CN Rail for more frequent service “were going well.”
But the following year, a report from Metrolinx described the full implementation of the all-day service in 2031.
“After years of promising all-day GO service was imminent, we are now finding out that Metrolinx identifies all-day GO service for Hamilton for the year 2031,” Eisenberger told CBC News in an email at the time. . ” This is unacceptable. “
Hamilton East-Stoney Creek Liberal MP Bob Bratina was mayor of Hamilton in 2013 when West Harbor station was announced. He posted a video on Facebook on Sunday confirming that all-day service was finally coming.
“In 2011, McGuinty approved construction of the station, but all-day service could not be provided due to infrastructure shortages,” he said, noting that the federal government helped fund additional tracks allowing for the addition of GO trains.
“The Building Canada Fund… invested $ 196 million to build new rail lines between Burlington and Hamilton West Harbor stations, bridge upgrades and the Lewis Road stopover facility, all of which are essential to rail service. all day.