Lakeshore East line
GO Train approaches a level crossing at Galloway Road in Scarborough
|Locale||Greater Toronto Area|
Toronto Union Station
|Daily ridership||42,852 (2008)|
|Opening||May 23, 1967|
|Line length||50.5 kilometres (31.4 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
Lakeshore East 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 to Oshawa. Buses extend the line to Newcastle via Bowmanville and another bus line began on September 5, 2009, en route towards Peterborough & Trent University. All off-peak and some peak trains are interlined with the Lakeshore West line and continue to Aldershot.
The Lakeshore East line is the second oldest of GO's services, opening as part of the then-unified Lakeshore line on GO's first day of operations, 23 May 1967. It is ten minutes younger than its twin; although the first train from Pickering bound for Toronto left at 5:00 am that day, a 4:50 am departure from Oakville on Lakeshore West beat it into the record books.
The line initially ran along the CN Kingston Subdivision from Union to Pickering. Just prior to the opening of GO service, CN had moved much of its freight operations from downtown areas to the new MacMillan Yard north of the city. To feed freight traffic from the east into the Yard, CN built the new York Subdivision across the top of the city (in what was then farmland) and connected the Yard to the Kingston Sub just west of Pickering at Pickering Junction. This offloaded the majority of traffic from the Kingston Sub between Pickering Junction and Union, allowing ample scheduling room for GO service. Sections of the Kingston Sub to the east of Pickering Junction remained in use as the mainline to Montreal, and CN did not have capacity to allow GO traffic on these sections.
GO had originally planned to address this as part of a much larger project known as GO-Urban, and later, GO ALRT. GO ALRT would have used a new electric train car running on a dedicated right-of-way between Pickering and its terminus to the east of Harmony Road on the far eastern edge of Oshawa. ALRT was to have followed the CN lines east to Whitby, then across the 401 to follow the CP Belleville Sub, which runs in parallel on the north side of the 401. Stations would be built at Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Hopkins (west edge of Oshawa), Simcoe (downtown Oshawa), Oshawa east (at Stevenson) and finally Harmony. First proposed in 1982, ALRT lived for only a short time before it was cancelled in 1985 with a change of government.
Instead, the basic alignment planned for ALRT from Pickering to Oshawa was laid using conventional track, splitting off at Pickering Junction and running under the York Sub bridge over the 401 in a complex basket weave. It ran along the original ALRT layout to Whitby, but abandoned the 401 overpass and instead continued along the CN lines to the current Oshawa GO Station on the far western edge of town. The new lines were laid in sections, reaching Oshawa in 1995. Until 29 December 2006, weekend and holiday trains still ended in Pickering, but service is now offered along the entire route every day of the year.
Metrolinx purchased the Kingston Sub between Pickering Junction and Union on 31 March 2011. This means that GO now completely owns the Lakeshore East, Newmarket/Barrie and Stouffville corridors.
On 19 April 2013, GO Transit announced that service on the line would expand to have trains running every 30 minutes all day during non-peak hours.
Continued growth of the Oshawa area has led to renewed calls for expansion of the Lakeshore East line, this time all the way to Bowmanville. Possible station stops have been identified near Stevenson Road, Bloor Street, Courtice Road, and two locations in Bowmanville. There were plans to convert a building that used to be a Knob Hill Farms grocery store into a GO train station located near Simcoe Street, but the plans to build a station there have been scrapped due to environmental concerns and a fair purchase price with the property owner. However, negotiations for a station in downtown Oshawa could be reconsidered if both sides come to an agreement on a fair purchase price for the building.
Current plans call for a realignment to follow a path more similar to the original one chosen for the GO ALRT project, crossing the 401 to follow the Belleville Sub mainline on the north side of the highway. There are two "obvious" locations for such a crossover; one is just west of the existing Oshawa station where the CP line forms a sharp bend at Thickson Road, and the other is to follow the existing railbridge just east of the station where CP switches traffic for the GM plants. The later of these is more difficult in theory, due to the location of the Via station directly off the east end of the tracks.
The Lakeshore East line makes connections with:
- GO celebrates 40 years of success
- Significant dates in GO Transit
- "GO owner buys rail line between T.O. and Pickering". CTV Toronto (CTVGlobeMedia). 30 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Kalinowski, Tess (19 April 2013). "GO trains to run every 30 minutes all day on Lakeshore lines". Toronto Star (Toronto Star Newspapers). Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Metrolinx derails plans for Oshawa GO station
- Metrolinx would resume GO negotiations on Knob Hill Farms site for the right price