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GO Transit Trivia Answers Archive

Q. What is the southernmost stop on the GO system?

A. Many realized that the shoreline of Lake Ontario runs southwest from Toronto, so that the Hamilton GO station at Hunter and James Streets was significantly further south than Toronto's Union station.

Tom Box answered this question correctly.

Q. What services did GO inherit from VIA Rail?

A. Although the GO Lakeshore line runs over the same tracks as numerous CN and VIA Rail runs, only two were directly inherited from VIA Rail: Stouffville and Bradford. VIA was running commuter trains to Barrie, Stouffville and Peterborough/Havelock when it was forced to cut these trains due to cutbacks by the (Liberal) government of the day (1981, although the cuts did not take effect until the Labour Day weekend of 1982). The government of Ontario decided to take over the Barrie run (shortening it to Bradford) and Stouffville. Peterborough/Havelock, unfortunately, was dropped. Despite being reinstated and dropped again by VIA, GO still hasn't made any serious attempt to serve this city to the northeast of Toronto.

Ian Campbell answered this question correctly. Ian Campbell also works for GO Transit, I just found out, so of course he has an unfair advantage.

Q. Where and when do the longest GO Trains operate?

A. The longest GO Trains to operate in regular service were twelve car monsters between Hamilton and Toronto and east to Oshawa on the Lakeshore line. This was meant to address overcrowding along the route, but posed a number of problems. For one thing, outside of Union Station, few stations had the platform length to handle all twelve cars. To address this, the two extra cars were designated 'expresses', which would open their doors only at Union, Hamilton, Pickering, Ajax and Whitby, whose platforms were long enough for the extra cars. The cars designated 'express' sometimes varied from station to station. For instance, here's a description from the GO/CN General Operating Information Book, Number 14A, January 1995:

For train 958: "At Burlington, Appleby, Bronte and Oakville this train is to spot as a 10 car consist with the two West end cars isolated and off the platform ... At Clarkson the two front cars {East end} are to be isolated and off the platform."

For train 973: "Passengers for Clarkson, Oakville, Bronte, Appleby and Burlington should occupy the rear ten (East end) cars.... Passengers for Aldershot and Hamilton are to occupy the front ten cars only (west end of train)..."

For train 951: "At Danforth ... to spot as a normal 10 car consist with the two EAST end cars isolated and off the platform..."

The twelve car train required an additional locomotive to pull the load. When it was discovered how much more fuel this consumed and how this compared to the number of extra passengers carried, it was decided to ditch this arrangement and go with ten car trains at higher frequencies.

Ian Campbell answered this question correctly. He also noted that "a twelve car employee special was run from Willowbrook yard to the top of Dundas hill about five years ago in conjunction with CN's Family days".

Q. What cities in Ontario have GO Trains taken passengers where they don't stop now?

A. The answer we were looking for covers the portions of the GO Train network lost during cutbacks in the early 1990s. At around the same time service to Burlington and Whitby was cut back to rush-hours only, GO Trains pulled back from Guelph (and Acton) to Georgetown and from Barrie to Bradford. Daniel Garcia also noted (and we didn't know about this one) that one of the original stops on the Lakeshore line was some place called Lorne Park, located at mile 15.0 on the Oakville Sub, between Port Credit and Clarkson. Only a very few trains stopped there.

Anyway, the above answer was easy. It was the bonus points we were interested in.

GO Trains have also been spotted in other cities and on other lines, but these runs were not official GO Transit runs. For instance, a number mentioned the Casino Rama express running from Union to Orillia. However, this was a CN operation using leased equipment, paid for by Casino Rama. Likewise, GO Trains have headed to St. Kitts for a special Ontario Government charter service, Niagara Falls, NY, for the APTA conference. GO cars have also been spotted throughout the Quebec-Windsor corridor (with the exception of Montreal, as bi-levels can't fit in Central Station) when VIA has called upon the equipment to make up for shortages. GO equipment has also been to Los Angeles and currently operates north of Miami. The equipment has also found its way to Fort Worth, Texas, but as a static display only for a convention.

Matthew Grupp was the first to answer this question correctly, although Pat Lavallee had the most bonus points.

Q. At what GO Transit stations do VIA Trains stop?

A. More than people think, apparently. Here's the complete list:

On the Lakeshore GO Line, VIA Trains stop at Aldershot, Union (of course) and Guildwood. Oshawa has separate platforms for GO and VIA trains but the companies share the same building. Conversely, at Oakville, they use different buildings but share the same platforms. Although GO and VIA used to stop at the old Hamilton Station, that hasn't been in effect for years (VIA left in 1992 and GO departed in 1996). VIA also shared Burlington station from 1988 to 1992. GO and VIA shared Burlington West station until 1980 at which point GO moved to the current Burlington site. VIA followed in 1988.

There are no shared stops on the Milton GO Train, but on the Georgetown line, GO and VIA trains share Georgetown and Brampton Stations. VIA train 85 now stops at Malton. Should GO ever return to Guelph, they'd share Guelph Station as well. On the Bradford line, VIA stopped at Newmarket until 1996. GO and VIA shared Barrie station from 1990 to 1993. There are no shared stations with VIA on the Richmond Hill (Ontario Northland is not VIA) and Stouffville lines although VIA's overnight train to Kapuskasing stopped at Richmond Hill until 1986.

Most responders got the Lakeshore lines, but seemed to forget of GO's other trains. Mind you, one or two people guessed six of the seven stations, but forgot Union. I guess Union was a little too obvious...

Daniel Garcia was the closest to getting all the stations listed.

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