Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
New rail service in works?
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 11 Jan 2006, p. 4

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Halton Hills council will learn more details, at a future meeting, about a potential commuter rail service that a consortium of municipalities are trying to put together. Wards 1 and 2 Councillor Clark Somerville requested a staff report about a new study-- to which the Town had contributed $4,200-- about the potential for an increased passenger rail service along the north mainline track from Georgetown to London. "It's something that has a lot of potential," said Somerville. Mayor Rick Bonnette said the information will be presented at a future Economic Development committee meeting. "The news is exciting," he said, "but we don't want to mislead anybody. There are a few more hoops and hurdles to go through but it could mean the possibility we could get a train commuter service back in Acton." The Northern Mainline Rail Alliance was formed about two years ago to promote better passenger rail service through the communities it represents: Halton Hills, Guelph, Waterloo, Kitchener, Stratford, St. Mary's and London. The consortium commissioned a report to see whether the idea was feasible. While the report deems the idea feasible, Bonnette cautioned it will still take both the provincial and federal governments, as well as GO Transit, to get on board. The group would also have to get agreement from VIA Rail, and from Goderich-Exeter Railway, the current longterm operator of the line. The report recommends extending the four train weekday GO service from Georgetown to a new terminus near Breslau utilizing two self-propelled passenger rail cars. A cross-platform connection will take place to the existing GO trains at the Georgetown station. The analysis shows that an 80-minute trip from Breslau to downtown Toronto is feasible, and eventually trips from London to Toronto would take two hours and 30 minutes. The initial phase, Georgetown to Breslau, would cost $19 million for infrastructure and $20 million for the new rail cars. The second stage, Breslau to Stratford, would cost $17 million and from Stratford to London, $21 million, for a total capital outlay of $78 million. First stage operating costs are estimated at $3.5 million annually. The report said there is a strong market potential for the expanded service that will grow as the population and economy centres grow. The rail service would serve both commuter and inter-city markets. Somerville said the timing may be good since the Province is pushing initiatives like this and the country is in the midst of a federal election. Bonnette said one issue that needs to be solved is that another line needs to be added between Halton Hills and Guelph to accommodate all the train traffic.

Gamble, Cynthia
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Date of Publication:
11 Jan 2006
Personal Name(s):
Somerville,Clark ; Bonnette, Rick
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Northern Mainline Rail Alliance ; GO Transit ; Exeter Railway
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New rail service in works?