BiLevel car at Barrie South
|Locale||Greater Toronto Area|
|Daily ridership||8,952 (2007, before extension to Barrie)|
|Opening||September 7, 1982|
|Line length||63.0 miles (101.4 km)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
Barrie is one of the seven train lines of the GO Transit system in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. It extends from Union Station in Toronto in a generally northward direction to Barrie, and includes ten stations along its 63 miles (101.4 km) route. From 1982 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 2007, it was known as the Bradford line, as that community then constituted the line's terminus. With the opening of the Barrie South station on December 17, 2007, the Barrie nomenclature was restored.
The line runs on the tracks of the Northern Railway of Canada, along the original route of the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railway before that was extended far to the north in later years. The Northern was purchased by the Grand Trunk Railway, and thus became part of the Canadian National Railway (CNR) in the early 1900s. CNR referred to the line as the CN Newmarket Subdivision, or Newmarket Sub for short. Metrolinx purchased the entire line from CNR in 2009.
As of January 2012, the Barrie line serves about 7,500 passengers a day (approximately 2 million per year).
In 1852, construction began on the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railway, which would run from Toronto to Collingwood. The line opened on May 16, 1853, when passenger train service began operating between Toronto and Aurora (then Machell's Corners). On October 11, 1853, service was extended to Barrie.
On April 1, 1972, CN introduced commuter service from Barrie to Toronto, as required by the Canadian Transport Commission. The service was transferred to Via Rail in 1978. As a result of federal government financial cutbacks to Via Rail, the service was transferred to the provincial government and integrated into the GO Transit network on September 7, 1982, but service only extended to Bradford. On September 17, 1990, the line was extended to Barrie, but was again cut back to Bradford on July 5, 1993.
On September 8, 1998, GO Transit added a second train to the line. In the early 2000s, GO Transit opened four new stations on the line: Rutherford on January 7, 2001; York University on September 6, 2002; and East Gwillimbury on November 1, 2004. On December 17, 2007, GO Train service was restored to Barrie after fourteen years with the opening of the Barrie South station.
On October 5, 2005, GO Transit issued a press release stating that the number of trains on the line would be expanded to four for the morning southbound trip, and four for the afternoon return. This also affected all connecting bus lines with links to the train line, especially GO bus service from Barrie and Keswick.
On April 10, 2006, GO Transit announced the construction of a bridge at the Snider diamond, which is the junction of the north-south line used primarily by GO transit for passenger service, and the east-west CN York Subdivision line used primarily by Canadian National Railway (CN) for freight service. Since CN controlled both corridors, the passage of passenger trains over the diamond was often delayed by freight trains passing through the intersection. Constructing the bridge and associated trackage resulted in a grade separation of the two lines, eliminating such delays. Construction of the bridge began in February 2006, and the bridge was completed and opened on December 2006. The entire project was completed on June 2007.
GO Transit received some federal and provincial funding to extend the Bradford rail line to Barrie. The new station, named Barrie South GO Station, is located at the southern end of the city. Construction of the station began in June 2007, and it opened on December 17, 2007. The project entailed "upgrading rails, ties, signals, and crossings" on the already existing rail line between the Bradford and Barrie South GO train stations", as well as building 20 kilometres (12 mi) of new track and a layover facility. Overall, the project cost $25 million, of which one third was covered by the municipal government of Barrie. Project construction began February 2, 2007.
On December 15, 2009, Metrolinx purchased the lower part of the Newmarket subdivision in central-north Toronto from CN for $68 million. The Barrie line trackage, from Union Station to Barrie, is now all owned by Metrolinx. As part of the agreement, CN rail will continue to serve five freight customers located on the Newmarket subdivision between Highway 401 and CN's main east-west York Sub.
There are ten stations on the Barrie line, excluding the terminus at Union Station in Toronto. Two station buildings on the Barrie line are federally-designated heritage railway stations protected by the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act as are two former stations and Union Station.
The Allandale GTR station buildings were constructed between 1890 and 1905, consisting of three Italianate structures, two of which were designed by Spier & Rohns and demonstrate Prairie School design influence. It was designated as a heritage railway station in 1990.
The Aurora GO Station building was also designated a heritage railway station in 1990. It was built to a standard plan design by the Grand Trunk Railway with an attractive porte-cochère and low profile, with "materials and craftsmanship...high in quality".
The wood-clad timber frame structure of the Maple GO Station building was built in 1903 by the Grand Trunk Railway in the Queen Anne style architecture. It was designated a heritage railway station in 1992.
The exterior of the Newmarket GTR station has board and batten siding associated with the Carpenter Gothic style. The west side has a projecting bay window flanked by waiting rooms, originally the south room for women and the north room for men, and overlooks the tracks. The station building was designated a heritage railway station in 1992.
|Allandale Waterfront||January 28, 2012||120||Federally-designated heritage railway station|
|Barrie South||December 17, 2007||628|
|Bradford||September 7, 1982||93|
|East Gwillimbury||November 1, 2004||637|
|Newmarket||September 7, 1982||265||Federally-designated heritage railway station|
|Aurora||September 7, 1982||1,725||Federally-designated heritage railway station|
|King City||September 7, 1982||375|
|Maple||September 7, 1982||1,146||Federally-designated heritage railway station|
|Rutherford||January 7, 2001||983|
|York University||September 6, 2002||0|
The Barrie line has weekday service consisting of five trains southbound from Allandale Waterfront GO Station in Barrie to Union Station in Toronto in the morning, and five trains northbound from Union Station in the afternoon.
In the summer of 2012, a pilot train service was offered on weekends and holidays starting 23 June and ending 3 September. Two trains in each direction completed the entire route, while an additional four trains ran between Union Station and East Gwillimbury GO station. The summer service cost CA$520,000 to operate, including train crews, safety and enforcement, station staffing and fuel. Bidirectional weekend service was offered again in summer 2013, with four trains in each direction covering the entire route from Toronto to Barrie, making all stops and having a bus connection at Rutherford GO Station for service to Canada's Wonderland. It cost CA$400,000 to operate. For the 2014 summer service, bus connections for Canada's Wonderland will be made at Maple GO Station using the York Region Transit bus service.
The maximum speed on the line is achieved between Bradford and Barrie South, about 128 kilometres per hour (80 mph). Trains are limited to 24 kilometres per hour (15 mph) in some parts, but can sustain speeds of at least 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) over most of the line.
The Barrie line makes connections with:
The government of Ontario announced funding to Metrolinx for network expansion on December 13, 2007, which included $20 million to build a second track between Union Station and Bradford to enable all-day two-way service. This is expected to consist of peak service between Bradford GO Station and Union Station of one train every 15–20 minutes, with some trains continuing to Barrie; and off-peak service between Bradford GO Station and Union Station of one train every 30 minutes, with bus connections to Barrie.
As part of the Yonge–University–Spadina line subway extension, a new GO station will be built to interchange with the Downsview Park subway station. It will be located at the 17.1 kilometres (10.6 mi) track marker. The York University station will be abandoned when the new station opens, which is expected to be in 2015.
To provide an interchange with Viva, York Region's bus rapid transit service, a new station will be built at Highway 7. The station is to be called Concord Station, after the community of Concord in which it will be located.
A potential GO station could be placed at the Caledonia station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT; that station's design includes a pedestrian bridge above the Barrie line, and the ability to build elevator access to a future GO platform will be incorporated.
By 2008, the annual number of riders on the Barrie line was almost 3.1 million, an increase of 18% from 2007 and 167% from 2001. About 2,300 of the 3,000 daily peak passengers to Union Station boarded at Aurora (about 1,000), Rutherford (about 800), and Newmarket (about 500) that year.
The weekend summer service had 105 daily riders in 2012 (32,000 total for six trains per day), and 220 daily riders in 2013 (41,000 total for four trains per day).
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