Year-round weekend GO Train service from Toronto to Niagara Falls set to resume

Click to play video: 'Year-round weekend GO Train service from Toronto to Niagara Falls set to resume, Ford announces'
Year-round weekend GO Train service from Toronto to Niagara Falls set to resume, Ford announces
WATCH ABOVE: After running in summer only for two years, Metrolinx is bringing back year-round weekend GO service between Toronto's Union Station and Niagara Falls as ridership has jumped – Aug 26, 2022

Metrolinx is set to resume year-round weekend GO rail service between Union Station in Toronto and Niagara Falls that was halted by the COVID pandemic two years ago.

In an announcement at the Niagara Falls Go Station Friday, Premier Doug Ford said the service will kick in Oct. 15 and include two round trips each day, offering “a faster, more direct” trip between downtown Toronto and Canada’s top tourist destination.

“Bringing the service back will be a huge boost for the people and businesses of Niagara, bringing thousands of new and returning visitors to the region every year,” Ford said.

Read more: Ontario NDP reintroduce bill aimed at ending car insurance ‘postal-code discrimination’

“More GO trains mean fewer cars on the QEW that’s less traffic and less gridlock on a major highway.”

Story continues below advertisement

Originally introduced in 2019, the weekend service was suspended due to unprecedented drops in ridership during the pandemic.

The direct rail service on weekends was restored for the spring and summer of 2022.

GO Transit already provides weekend hourly bus service from Burlington to Niagara, as well as one peak rail trip on weekdays from Niagara to Union year-round.

President and CEO of Metrolinx Phil Verster said the schedule change is due to weekend ridership to Niagara being “phenomenally up” in 2022.

He went on to reveal the agency has an agreement “on the table” to build a station in Beamsville and that they’ve engaged with potential partners in Niagara Region for a similar construction project in Grimsby.

“We have a similarly transit-oriented community development strategy there,” Verster said. “The station can be built imminently when the design is at 30 per cent and completed.”

Story continues below advertisement

Verster also touched on the Confederation GO station project, at the QEW and Centennial Parkway North, which he said was underway with a center platform, tunnel, pedestrian tunnel and park and ride fixtures that will soon open at the east harbour.

Read more: COVID-19 safety, labour deal priorities for Ontario’s education minister ahead of return to class

Negotiations are also underway to build a fourth track between Aldershot and Burlington to enhance connections between Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara.

“We spent around $160 million at West Harbour as well as at Bayview, so we’ve created all of the essential infrastructure that allow us for capacity increases as we go on,” Verster said.

Niagara Falls mayor Jim Diodati sees the potential economic benefits for local residents being opportunities to take up employment along the Golden Horseshoe closer to Toronto.

“Part of the problem is they can’t afford to live where they work,” Diodati said.

“So this is a way that they can hopefully have homeownership, at the very least affordable housing, and then from there they’ll take the jobs that will help them pay their bills.”

Sponsored content