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CN / Metrolinx agreement will result
in more GO trains to Waterloo Region

Metrolinx has secured an agreement-in-principle with Canadian National that will allow it to build regional express rail (RER) service along GO Transit’s Kitchener line.

The agreement-in-principle also starts the planning and technical analysis to build a new freight corridor that will allow CN to shift most of its freight traffic from the section of the Kitchener corridor the company owns — roughly between Georgetown and Bramalea — to the new corridor. In the long term, that will free up rail capacity through Brampton to Kitchener, eventually resulting in all-day, two-way GO train service along the line.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and other provincial and local politicians and officials visited Kitchener GO Station Tuesday, June 14 to announce the agreement. CN’s chief financial officer and executive vice-president, Luc Jobin, joined the premier and minister at the event.

“Increasing rail capacity — whether for freight or commuter traffic — is an imperative to grow the Ontario economy. Today’s announcement sets the stage for unlocking the full potential of the Toronto-Waterloo innovation corridor, which is already the second largest information and communications technology cluster in North America. We are working in collaboration with the province of Ontario to create a more efficient transportation system linking world-class universities, tech companies and an expanding workforce, while ensuring that freight rail, including intermodal, can continue to play its role as a sustainable backbone of our economy”, Jobin said.

The province will ask the Government of Canada to support building the new rail corridor.

The Premier also announced that the province is committing as much as $43 million to help fund the Region of Waterloo’s future transit hub near King and Victoria Streets in downtown Kitchener. The hub will link passengers to GO trains and buses, the ION light rail transit line, VIA Rail Canada trains, intercity buses and local Grand River Transit buses.

In the shorter-term, GO plans to operate two morning and two afternoon rush-hour trains to serve Kitchener, Guelph and Acton. (It’s extending the trips of trains that usually start and end their trips in Georgetown.) This will double the number of Monday-to-Friday train trips between Kitchener and Toronto.

Also in September, GO will expand express bus service to operate all day between Kitchener and Bramalea GO Station in Brampton. It’s arranging the bus schedules so that passengers can transfer at Bramalea and connect with GO rail and bus services to and from Toronto.