Real Community Conversations

Getting on track with the facts about GO train service to Milton

Derailed by misinformation and confusion, Metrolinx sets the record straight

A GO train at Exhibition Station stop. Photo credit: Stacey Newman

March 14, 2017: As one of Canada’s fastest-growing municipalities, commuters in Milton have been the recipients of information and misinformation. Most recently, reports suggested that all-day service would not be available in Milton until 2041, reports that Metrolinx responded to as unsubstantiated. We have asked Metrolinx to resolve some of the confusion surrounding this issue, and to provide updates and information to Miltonians regarding the future of GO train service to Milton.

A division of Metrolinx, GO Transit is the regional public transit service for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, with routes extending to communities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. GO transit says that it carries over 65 million passengers per year. We asked representatives from GO transit to respond to rumours about full-day service in Milton. “We are not aware of any sources that would lead to the information reported … [that] all-day, two-way GO train service won’t come to Milton until 2041.” Vanessa Barrasa, Spokesperson/Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Affairs, Metrolinx.

Metrolinx states that it has been working with its rail partners to maximize the passenger service offered, while respecting freight as important contributors to local economies. Metrolinx cites a 10-year plan to transform the GO rail network to provide faster and more frequent GO train service, which will provide 15-minute peak-period service from Milton to Union in the morning and from Union to Milton in the afternoon, resulting in an increase in the number of trips by 2020….Metrolinx also states that it recognizes the transformative potential of two-way, all-day service on the Milton corridor…but that an agreement with freight rail partners must be secured before this level of service can become a reality.

Two-way, all-day service is a concept that requires further feasibility and environmental assessment (EA) work. Feasibility and EA analysis are generally done to determine if a concept can be built. In the case of the Milton corridor, there is no doubt based on analysis that this is a high performing line and all communities served by this corridor would like to see more service. Metrolinx does not own the corridor, therefore it continues to work with its rail partner to bring as much passenger service to the Milton GO line whenever possible.

Our Q&A with Scott Money
Media Relations & Issues Specialist, Communications & Public Affairs

Who owns the Milton corridor?
The Milton corridor is completely owned by Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) and operated as their main freight line. Metrolinx is in ongoing discussions with CP to improve and increase service for communities along the Milton corridor whenever possible.

Metrolinx owns approximately 79% of the track system on which GO operates. Is this correct? Who owns the remaining track and in what percentages?

Metrolinx now owns 80 per cent of the rail corridor over which GO Transit operates.  While we cannot comment on the ownership structure of other railways, we do have access agreements with CN and CP for the use of the remaining corridors.

Is there anything that you recommend residents might be able to do to get involved on this topic?
The Milton corridor is a very busy transcontinental freight route that is owned by CP, so any service improvements we introduce must be negotiated with and approved by them in advance. Any service increase we introduce on the Milton line must be agreed to by CP Rail, as we would need to ensure the smooth operation of both commuter and freight rail services along the entire length of the corridor. Metrolinx and the Province of Ontario are continuing to work with CP Rail to look at how we can bring more service to the Milton line whenever possible.