BOWMANVILLE, Ont. — Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a major expansion of GO Transit train service into Durham Region on Monday, but no one was saying how much the huge project will cost.
GO will extend its Lakeshore East train line by nearly 20 kilometres from Oshawa to Bowmanville, and build four new stations, with service scheduled to start in 2024.
“To realize the region’s true potential and to do everything we can to position Durham and the surrounding economy to continue to be part of the GTHA’s growth, the GO train cannot keep turning around at Oshawa,” said Wynne.
“We’ve heard that. We understand that.”
The plan is to have four GO trains each morning and four each afternoon in and out of Bowmanville when the service starts in eight years, mainly running along existing tracks owned by Canadian Pacific Railway.
“It means an easier commute for people who are going in and out of the city, but it also means the possibility of more people coming to the region to live and having that convenient transit,” said Wynne. “It’s a transformational opportunity for the region.”
Two new GO stations will be built in Oshawa (on Thornton Road and on Ritson Road), one in Courtice (on Courtice Road) and one in Bowmanville (on Martin Road).
Progressive Conservative transport critic Michael Harris said it’s typical of the Liberal government to make a major spending commitment without knowing it’s actual cost.
“This is just another example of the Wynne government’s game plan to make big infrastructure announcements for the next decade with no concept of costs,” he said.
“I find it hard to believe that they could make an announcement for a transit expansion as large as this one and not have any idea how much it’s going to cost the taxpayer.”
One of the biggest parts of the GO expansion in Durham Region will be construction of a new train bridge over Highway 401, said Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca.
“Building an overpass over a 400-series highway is not an insignificant undertaking between the design, procurement and actual construction,” he said.
“We’re not in a position to confirm the start date of the construction because we’re still finalizing the details with CP (Rail).”
GO will use existing CP lines north of Highway 401 to extend its passenger rail service to Bowmanville, but the province said it couldn’t put a price on the full project until it completes negotiations with the railway. The provincial transit agency Metrolinx is leading the negotiations with CP.
“Metrolinx is in discussions with the corridor owner, CP Rail, related to the planned extension of GO rail service between Oshawa and Bowmanville,” said Transportation Ministry spokesman Bob Nichols.
“Subsequent to the results of the negotiations, further analysis of the estimated capital and operating costs will be required.”
There was no estimate on the cost of the new highway overpass, but new GO stations cost an average of $50 million to $75 million each, not counting operating, maintenance and energy costs, said Nichols.
“It is too early to speculate on the cost of new stations along the CP Rail corridor as negotiations are still underway, and there are other significant variables, for example realty considerations,” he said.
© 2016 The Canadian Press