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GO Transit: Corridor Studies

kalis0490

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Inspired by @Willybru21 's maps of yesteryear GO's proposals, and @dowlingm's post earlier today, I have created a thread to discuss GO Projects which have formally been studied or are listed in long term Metrolinx planning documents but haven't been funded. Examples of these projects include potential Cambridge, Bolton and Midtown lines.
 
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LOL That thread scope would be “best described as “all of them”.

In the Pre-Metrolinx years, GO Transit was an emergiing agency with an eye on growth. They studied just about every rail line in the GTA with an eye to how it might be utilized in a bigger transportation network.

Those studies were done by serious professionals and made aome interesting observations, but they did not have the benefit of knowing what higher order transit might be built, or where the sprawl of the 905 was about to be built. So some have become irrelevant while other parts have indeed been implemented.

More recently, Metrolinx as a bureaucratic political growth industry of its own has p*ssed away millions on consultants studying things (sometimes over and over) to meet the whims of a long line of politicians.

So in the end, absolutely everything has had a “serious” study done. Even the GECO spur. The problem is finding all those old studies - one has to find a good pack rat, er, amateur archivist for the old stuff…. And good luck getting anything from ML. But they may have lots of stuff in their files that will turn up some day.

Without funding, it’s all fantasy, with politicians feeding the thought process..

- Paul



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LOL That would be “best described as “all of them”.

In the Pre-Metrolinx years, GO Transit was an emergiing agency with an eye on growth. They studied just about every rail line in the GTA with an eye to how it might be utilized in a bigger transportation network.

Those studies were done by serious professionals and made aome interesting observations, but they did not have the benefit of knowing what higher order transit might be built, or where the sprawl of the 905 was about to be built. So some have become irrelevant while other parts have indeed been implemented.

More recently, Metrolinx as a bureaucratic political growth industry of its own has p*ssed away millions on consultants studying things (sometimes over and over).

So in the end, absolutely everything has had a “serious” study done. Even the GECO spur. The problem is finding all those old studies - one has to find a good pack rat, er, amateur archivist for the old stuff…. And good luck getting anything from ML. But they may have lots of stuff in their files that will turn up some day.

Without funding, it’s all fantasy, with politicians feeding the thought process..

- Paul



View attachment 529561
Prior to the advent of Metrolinx, GO kept its own library in its head office. I was very fortunate to get an opportunity to visit for several hours and go through a number of different reports. While it wasn't a large place, they were pretty successful at stuffing it full of reams of paper going back what was then 30+ years.

I have no idea if they've maintained such a facility since - Paul, you and I should start asking around our various contacts to see what they might be able to sniff out. If it still exists, it may still be accessible if you the right people are asked.

Of course, as you correctly note, some of those reports have ended up in the hands of the public. It would really serve all of us well to get them scanned and digitized.

Dan
 
LOL That thread scope would be “best described as “all of them”.

In the Pre-Metrolinx years, GO Transit was an emergiing agency with an eye on growth. They studied just about every rail line in the GTA with an eye to how it might be utilized in a bigger transportation network.

Those studies were done by serious professionals and made aome interesting observations, but they did not have the benefit of knowing what higher order transit might be built, or where the sprawl of the 905 was about to be built. So some have become irrelevant while other parts have indeed been implemented.

More recently, Metrolinx as a bureaucratic political growth industry of its own has p*ssed away millions on consultants studying things (sometimes over and over) to meet the whims of a long line of politicians.

So in the end, absolutely everything has had a “serious” study done. Even the GECO spur. The problem is finding all those old studies - one has to find a good pack rat, er, amateur archivist for the old stuff…. And good luck getting anything from ML. But they may have lots of stuff in their files that will turn up some day.

Without funding, it’s all fantasy, with politicians feeding the thought process..

- Paul



View attachment 529561
As Dan said above it would be wonderful for stuff like this to get scanned and released to the public, if you have the time one day I would love to see what’s inside this report!
 
There have dozens upon dozens of studies on potential GO lines since the late 1960’s, some done by GO, some done by the city or provincial government, and some done by local municipalities/developers.
Paul isn’t joking when he says that practically every rail line in the GTHA has been studied, I’ve been mapping them all out over the past year and these have been the most interesting ones to me:
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the thing about the studies is that the GTA is a moving target, both in population but also in development. Delay in progressing projects can mean a mothballed or underused spur previously bounded by green or brown fields may suddenly be hemmed in by towers, with consequences for safely constructing and operating fast services. The people in the towers then look down on the rust and weeds and, not unreasonably, ask if there is not an opportunity to provide a recreational trail or other use instead.

A pipeline of projects, with defined trigger points for proceeding, would provide some certainty. But that would require more openness than we usually see at both provincial and federal level, and what if the next project in line can’t possibility swing even one seat along it to the government side?

within the GTHA, the reality as I see it is that we need it all and we need it yesterday. Our cities are choking from congestion and is taking a new hit from the expanse of door to door same day shopping. We have huge projects ongoing in Crosstown central and west, OnCorr, Scarborough subway, Ontario line etc. and guess what, there is never going to be time to sit on our laurels. Given the lead times we are seeing in planning, procurement, testing and rollout, and similarly with TOD planning changes, projects like GO Bolton are almost certainly viable now because they are a decade or more from ribbon cutting.

At the same time as I said in the other thread, this is about transporting people. Even a GO L6 can carry about a thousand passengers. If the goal (as mine is) is to reduce congestion then opportunities to move tens or hundreds have to be on buses if the opportunity to move thousands elsewhere will wait on account of it. I don’t subscribe to ”only one taxpayer/budget government like a household” - this is work for which borrowing will be repaid by growth - but there are construction capacity issues which can‘t be wished away, and conversely, the best way for us to have a robust transit construction industry to chew away at our backlogs is to have a pipeline of work which encourages investment - an end to successive governments upending the plans and consultations of the last.
 
LOL That thread scope would be “best described as “all of them”.

In the Pre-Metrolinx years, GO Transit was an emergiing agency with an eye on growth. They studied just about every rail line in the GTA with an eye to how it might be utilized in a bigger transportation network.

Those studies were done by serious professionals and made aome interesting observations, but they did not have the benefit of knowing what higher order transit might be built, or where the sprawl of the 905 was about to be built. So some have become irrelevant while other parts have indeed been implemented.

More recently, Metrolinx as a bureaucratic political growth industry of its own has p*ssed away millions on consultants studying things (sometimes over and over) to meet the whims of a long line of politicians.

So in the end, absolutely everything has had a “serious” study done. Even the GECO spur. The problem is finding all those old studies - one has to find a good pack rat, er, amateur archivist for the old stuff…. And good luck getting anything from ML. But they may have lots of stuff in their files that will turn up some day.

Without funding, it’s all fantasy, with politicians feeding the thought process..

- Paul



View attachment 529561
Definitely, there are a lot of "serious" proposals. As you said they are poorly documented in the public domain. For example, Some of the older Cambridge GO studies are located here: https://www.cambridge.ca/en/learn-about/cambridge-on-the-go.aspx and the old Bolton docs are here https://transittoronto.ca/archives/reports/Bolton_Commuter_Rail_Feasibility_Study_2010_EN.pdf.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to create a nice centralized Google drive folder with all of these digitized proposals - Especially since Metrolinx's website updates tend to permanently delete its old reports
 
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The Cambridge links you really want to not lose track of are the main Stage 2 report and it's appendices. TBH I'd suggest saving those if you're intersted in them, because I found the link by way of google and can't find reference on any website... I rather suspect they only continue to exist by virtue of having been an agenda item at a Council/Committee meeting at some point. I'll add that that map linked above irritates me with its inaccurate depiction of the Fergus / Guelph Junction Railway connection, but every time I see it I do get to thinking that the best approach to Fergus with or without passenger service really probably is Regional acquisition, re-opening south of Eagle to reconnect to CPKC and then arranging operating contracts to consolidate operations with GJR.

As far as Metrolinx deletions go, the inability to find a full set of EA level design plates for Hurontario is particularly galling to me.

Suffice to say that I'm totally on board for helping to set up an archive of this stuff, though I'd suggest it should be a little broader in scope than GO only.
 
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Well, hold on here. We're veering dangerously close to "fantasy" territory.

I would argue that any report done by the entity involve - in this case GO, and later Metrolinx - can be considered a serious proposal, as they had a vested interest in seeing it though (regardless of the result) and had the capability to enact its recommendations.

Any report or proposal done by an outside party - like many of the "North Pickering" proposals, or many of the reports done by Metro Toronto - should not be considered serious as the entity trusted with creating/commissioning them did/does not capability to act on it, but only to pass it along for further reference.

Dan
 
Any report or proposal done by an outside party - like many of the "North Pickering" proposals, or many of the reports done by Metro Toronto - should not be considered serious as the entity trusted with creating/commissioning them did/does not capability to act on it, but only to pass it along for further reference.
The Cambridge / Fergus option is a perfect example of why that isn't a perfect delineation. The work was done as an outside comment with the presumption of Metrolinx implementation, largely from the original Milton extension concept, and the region has no particular ability to move forward on that basis... but is also looking at a project they'd have every ability to move forward on independently if there were any appetite to do so.

Things commissioned by Toronto often have similar issues.
 
The Cambridge links you really want to not lose track of are the main Stage 2 report and it's appendices. TBH I'd suggest saving those if you're intersted in them, because I found the link by way of google and can't find reference on any website... I rather suspect they only continue to exist by virtue of having been an agenda item at a Council/Committee meeting at some point. I'll add that that map linked above irritates me with its inaccurate depiction of the Fergus / Guelph Junction Railway connection, but every time I see it I do get to thinking that the best approach to Fergus with or without passenger service really probably is Regional acquisition, re-opening south of Eagle to reconnect to CPKC and then arranging operating contracts to consolidate operations with GJR.

As far as Metrolinx deletions go, the inability to find a full set of EA level design plates for Hurontario is particularly galling to me.

Suffice to say that I'm totally on board for helping to set up an archive of this stuff, though I'd suggest it should be a little broader in scope than GO only.
Definitely- I do think there is a real value in archiving these studies, even beyond the scope of Metrolinx . I would say that there are a lot of project documents outside of the GTA in Ottawa, London or Waterloo which ought to be saved. You cant find many of the ION engineering documents online that were available even last year!

I can start an UrbanToronto conversation for those who would be interested in putting together such a drive. Exporting the (rather limited) set of studies on Metrolinx's website would be a good start
The Cambridge / Fergus option is a perfect example of why that isn't a perfect delineation. The work was done as an outside comment with the presumption of Metrolinx implementation, largely from the original Milton extension concept, and the region has no particular ability to move forward on that basis... but is also looking at a project they'd have every ability to move forward on independently if there were any appetite to do so.

Things commissioned by Toronto often have similar issues.
I would say the main barrier is not political will/public support/or the benefit/cost ratio of the project - rather it is finding the funding for it. The Region/Metrolinx have several stalled projects: Kitchener Central/Breslau GO/Stage 2 iON due to lack of funding/post covid construction inflation. There is hope that upper levels of government may be interested in a cash top-up as 1) the region shouldered 1/3 of the cost for iON (Most Metrolinx projects were free rides for regional municipalities) 2) Cambridge ridings are bell-weathers/swing ridings and we do see goodies like the Cambridge 401 expansion)
 
Definitely, there are the lot of "serious" proposals. As you said they are poorly documented in the public domain. For example, Some of the older Cambridge GO studies are located here: https://www.cambridge.ca/en/learn-about/cambridge-on-the-go.aspx and the old Bolton docs are here https://transittoronto.ca/archives/reports/Bolton_Commuter_Rail_Feasibility_Study_2010_EN.pdf.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to create a nice centralized Google drive folder with all of these digitized proposals - Especially since Metrolinx's website updates tend to permanently delete its old reports
To cover absolutely everything someone may be looking for in a archive, the Google drive should be separated into 4 categories if possible:

1: Proposed by GO/Metrolinx/Provincial Government
2: Proposed by municipality
3: Proposed by politician/election promise
4: Proposed by developer/3rd party

Separating them like this makes it easy to understand what was more seriously considered (I.e., GO RER in the Metrolinx folder means it was probably considered and studied more seriously than the Cambridge service study, which would go in the municipality folder).
 
To cover absolutely everything someone may be looking for in a archive, the Google drive should be separated into 4 categories if possible:

1: Proposed by GO/Metrolinx/Provincial Government
2: Proposed by municipality
3: Proposed by politician/election promise
4: Proposed by developer/3rd party

Separating them like this makes it easy to understand what was more seriously considered (I.e., GO RER in the Metrolinx folder means it was probably considered and studied more seriously than the Cambridge service study, which would go in the municipality folder).
If we're going to go with a google drive I'd suggest a naming convention that encapsulates that information on a per folder basis, with a folder for each study... above that level organization can probably be a bit more ad hoc, but in the long run something more wiki like is probably desirable to capture the meta information on studies a bit more comprehensively (and introduce the ability to index stuff that hasn't actually been digitized).
 

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