Lakeshore East line
GO Train approaches a level crossing at Galloway Road in Scarborough
|Locale||Greater Toronto Area|
|Daily ridership||52,000 (2014)|
|Opened||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 a commuter rail line operated by GO Transit, spanning east Toronto and the Regional Municipality of Durham in Ontario, Canada. It extends from Union Station in Toronto to Oshawa. Buses from Oshawa station connect to communities further east in Newcastle, Bowmanville and Peterborough.
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.
In December 1993, GO Transit initiated a program for the eastward expansion of the Lakeshore East line, for which it received approval in 1994. GO Transit undertook a study to determine whether to use the tracks of Canadian Pacific Railway or Canadian National Railway.
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.
In 2008, Metrolinx published its regional transportation entitled The Big Move. As part of this, the agency identified an express all-day service between Hamilton and Oshawa (via Toronto Union) as one of its top 15 priorities. Metrolinx has also committed to eventually providing service every 15 minutes on the line, as well as electrifying railways. This project, dubbed Regional Express Rail, is expected to reduce some trip times by 20%.
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 the challenge of reaching a fair purchase price with the property owner. However, negotiations for a station in downtown Oshawa could be reconsidered if both sides could come to an agreement on a fair purchase price for the building. On June 20, 2016, it was announced that the line will be extended to Bowmanville. The extension is expected to open in 2024.
Current plans call for a realignment to follow a path 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; the other is to follow the existing railbridge just east of the station where CP switches traffic for the GM plants. The latter is more difficult in theory, because of the location of the Via station directly off the east end of the tracks.
The current proposed expansion route follows the CNR rail corridor south of Highway 401 eastward to Thickson Road in Whitby, where a new split would cross north of the highway to connect to the CPR corridor.
The Lakeshore East line makes connections with:
- "Regional Express Rail" (PDF). Metrolinx. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
- GO celebrates 40 years of success
- Significant dates in GO Transit
- http://www.durhamregion.com/dr/regions/top_stories/story/3768945p-4359031c.html. Missing or empty
- Cole, Lindsay. "GO Train expansion - Will all be 'all aboard?'". The Oshawa Express. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- "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.
- The Big Move, Section 5.2: The first 15 years. Retrieved July 23, 2010
- Lakeshore West GO line
- Tess Kalinowski, Transportation reporter (17 April 2015). "GO to add almost 50 per cent more trains in next 5 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
- Metrolinx derails plans for Oshawa GO station
- Metrolinx would resume GO negotiations on Knob Hill Farms site for the right price
- "Lakeshore East GO train service expanding 20 km to Bowmanville by 2024". CBC. The Canadian Press. June 20, 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Intrinsik Environmental Sciences, AECOM Canada (January 2011). "Screening level human health risk assessment (SLHHRA) of air quality impacts" (PDF). GO Transit rail service expansion from Oshawa to Bowmnaville. GO Trqansit. Retrieved 14 September 2014.