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Ford government says tunnel excavations complete for GO Transit’s Kitchener line

A GO Transit train travels along the Lakeshore line. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

Two-way, all-day GO train service along the Kitchener line is getting closer to reality, according to the Ontario government.

It says the excavation of a second tunnel under highways 401 and 409 has been completed, describing the news as a “significant achievement in Ontario’s GO Expansion program.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Cutback in GO trains on Kitchener line starts Wednesday

The first tunnel was completed last August with a total 70,000 cubic metres of material being removed to complete the pair.

The province says that each rail tunnel is about 180 metres in length, with an excavation that is 11 metres high by nine metres wide.

“This tunnel project will help increase capacity on the Kitchener corridor and, where possible, support all-day trips, in both directions to reduce congestion,” Transportation minister Caroline Mulroney said.

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“Our goal is to establish a more reliable rail transit system in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which will drive significant economic growth and job creation that will benefit the entire province.”

Read more: Province announces funding for 166 new child care spaces in Kitchener, Cambridge

The tunnel project is expected to be completed in the second half of this year at a cost of around $116.9 million.

Once finished, it will allow for two additional tracks in the future, if necessary.

Prior to the pandemic, trains ran fives times daily toward Toronto in the morning and then toward Kitchener in the evening with no weekend service.

In 2019, the Ford government pulled the plug on a proposed high-speed rail project that would have run between Windsor and Toronto. It said it would take the more economical route of enhancing current train speeds and service levels.