GO Transit Regional Express Rail

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GO Regional Express Rail
GO Transit logo.svg
OwnerGO Transit
LocaleGreater Golden Horseshoe, Ontario
TypeRegional Rail, S-train
SystemGO Transit
ServicesLakeshore East line, Lakeshore West line, Kitchener line, Barrie line, Stouffville Line, Union Pearson Express
Operator(s)GO Transit
Rolling stockElectric multiple units
Ridership178 million annually (projected by 2031)[1]
Planned opening2025–2030 (2025–2030)[1]
Line length262 km (163 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Electrification25 kV 60 Hz AC from overhead catenary
Operating speed145 km/h (90 mph)

Regional Express Rail (RER), also known as GO Expansion,[2] is a project to improve GO Transit train service by adding all-day, two-way service to the Barrie line and the inner portions of the Kitchener line and the Stouffville line, and by increasing frequency of train service on various lines to every 15 minutes or better on five of the corridors. The Stouffville and Kitchener Lines will be as frequent as every 7.5 minutes in the inner portions of each line.[1] This would be achieved with the full electrification of the Lakeshore East line, Stouffville line and the Barrie line and the electrification of the inner portions of the Lakeshore West line and the Kitchener line. RER is one of the Big Move rapid transit projects.

With RER, GO Transit will increase the number of train trips per week from 1,500 (as of 2015) to about 2,200 by 2020 and expanding to 6,000 weekly trips upon completion.[3] Most of the extra trips will be in the off-peak hours and on weekends. The expanded services, new infrastructure and electrification is projected to roll out in phases between 2025 and 2030.[1] The 10-year regional express rail plan will cost $13.5 billion,[4] and will require 150 kilometres (93 mi) of new track including new bridges and tunnels.[5]


RER goals would be achieved with the electrification of core sections of the GO Transit train system while also expanding the use of diesel service in others, as follows:[6]

RER will operate 4-car, bi-level electric multiple unit (EMU) sets which would be coupled to form 8- and 12-car trains. To reduce operating costs, smaller 4-car trains will run during periods of lighter demand, such as on weekends. GO Transit's existing fleet of unpowered bi-level cars will be used to operate many peak services but will be pulled by electric locomotives, in a similar manner to SEPTA Regional Rail. EMUs cost less to operate than 12-car diesel trains and have faster acceleration. Journey times can be reduced significantly with electric traction depending on the route, stopping pattern, and equipment.[7]

The electrified network will ultimately extend to 262 route-km (163 route-miles) with six traction substations and 11 traction distribution facilities (switching or paralleling stations).[8]

Proposed frequencies[edit]

Map of proposed GO Transit Regional Express Rail services

Metrolinx proposes the following service levels along with the GO train network:[6]

Two-way, all-day 15-minute or better service:

Two-way 60-minute service:

Peak period, peak direction service on weekdays:

Express service:

  • In addition to the services outlined above, communities between Oakville and Hamilton on the Lakeshore West line, between Bramalea and Kitchener on the Kitchener line, and between Pickering and Oshawa on the Lakeshore East line would enjoy express services to/from Union Station.

New stations[edit]

Metrolinx plans to build several new stations as part of service expansion including:[9][10]

The following five stations will be SmartTrack stations built in agreement with the City of Toronto. These stations are expected to open by 2026.[11]


GO Transit has historically offered two-way, all-day service along its Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines, while only providing peak rush hour service on its other lines. The Big Move outlines the building of express and regional rail service improvements across the existing GO Transit network. Other improvements included extensions to Hamilton and Bowmanville, as well as new GO Transit corridors to Bolton, Seaton and Locust Hill.

As part of the 2011 Ontario general election, Premier Dalton McGuinty also made a campaign pledge to provide two-way, all-day train service on all corridors.[12] The vision of two-way, full-day train service on all corridors eventually included electrification of the system, and was renamed Regional Express Rail.[13]

As part of the Phase 2 announcement, Metrolinx stated that the Kitchener and Lakeshore lines would be electrified, as well as the Union Pearson Express.[14]

With RER, Metrolinx expects to nearly triple ridership to 175 million riders per year by about 2031 from 65.7 million in 2015.[1]


On March 31, 2017, the federal government announced it would contribute $1.9 billion of the estimated $13.5 billion cost of GO RER. The Kitchener line will receive at least $750 million of the federal funding for infrastructure upgrades including 40 kilometres (25 mi) of new track. The Barrie line, Lakeshore East line, and Lakeshore West line will share the balance of the federal funding for upgrades and 88 kilometres (55 mi) of new track.[9]


SmartTrack is a proposed Regional Express Rail surface line to run mostly within the City of Toronto. It was proposed by John Tory during his successful mayoral campaign in 2014. The SmartTrack proposal depends on electrification of the Stouffville and Kitchener corridors where SmartTrack service would run.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "GO Expansion Full Business Case" (PDF). Metrolinx (2018). Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  2. ^ "GO Expansion". Metrolinx.com. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Niepow, Daniel (April 2018). "Ontario invests billions in ambitious plan to boost GO Transit's commuter-rail service". Progressive Railroading. TradePress Media Group. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b Kalinowski, Tess (April 17, 2015). "GO to add almost 50 per cent more trains in next 5 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  5. ^ Moore, Oliver (March 14, 2016). "Toronto's grand transit plan (maybe, hopefully)". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  6. ^ a b Metrolinx (2015). "GO RER Initial Business Case Summary" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  7. ^ Metrolinx (2015). "GO RER Initial Business Case - Full Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  8. ^ Barrow, Keith (February 11, 2016). "Metrolinx sets Toronto RER options". Railway Age. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  9. ^ a b Spurr, Ben (March 31, 2017). "Ottawa to invest $1.9B in GO Transit's regional express rail project". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  10. ^ Metrolinx (2018). "GO Expansion Moves Ahead" (PDF). Metrolinx.
  11. ^ "New agreement with City of Toronto helps bring new SmartTrack stations closer to reality". Metrolinx. August 17, 2021. Archived from the original on August 18, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  12. ^ Ontario Liberal Party (2011). "The Ontario Liberal Plan 2011-2015" (PDF). OCLC 760993664. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-12.
  13. ^ Metrolinx (2016). "Metrolinx Regional Express Rail". Metrolinx.
  14. ^ GO Transit (2012). "Electrification Study Highlights" (PDF). GO Transit. Retrieved 2012-11-30.

External links[edit]