Getting rid of the ‘bottlenecks’ – Here’s how GO Expansion of infrastructure through the Hamilton Junction area is moving ahead

See cool photos of the new infrastructure, including a sneak peek inside signal bungalows that house complex systems that help control rail traffic signals and rail switches.

GO Transit’s rail lines around Hamilton are being given more muscle – including in places most customers will never see. This is a snapshot of some of the added brawn.

Metrolinx has been working since last summer with rail corridor owners, CN, on extensive grading and installation of track and signals along the section of the rail corridor that runs parallel to York Boulevard, in Hamilton, and curves around Burlington Bay.

Literally thousands of cubic metres of soil have been moved to create enough space for the new infrastructure. To take a step back, as we talk about rail infrastructure, we mean everything from railway lines to structures and equipment.

A large ridge of soil created to build a new train track near Hamilton
The top of a massive mountain built with soil moved to create space for new track and signals – currently covered with coir matting to protect its hydro seeded surface (Metrolinx photo)

All of this work has been done in preparation for a major ‘cutover’, which in the context of rail infrastructure refers to a staged process of tying new systems or infrastructure into the existing network.

GO Train passes through the Hamilton Junction
The new 3rd track at the Hamilton Junction is in place, new signals are lit in the background. This is the first GO train through the new infrastructure on signal indication – taken in spring 2020 (Metrolinx photo)

In this case, a new mainline track that runs through the area has been connected into existing track and signals infrastructure. GO Transit and CN will gain operational flexibility with this infrastructure in place, as well as potential opportunities for more service to run through the area in the future.

Construction crews relocating cables in advance of the track installation
Construction crews relocating cables in advance of the track installation (Metrolinx photo)

This work is part of a massive investment into new infrastructure between Burlington GO Station and Hamilton that will help alleviate service bottlenecks when passenger trains mix with much longer and slower moving freight trains.

GO Train Hamilton Junction
Looking south along York Boulevard where the rail corridor splits and trains can travel toward West Harbour GO by going left and and Hamilton GO Centre by going right (Metrolinx photo)

Aside from putting the new infrastructure into the ground, a lot of this work takes place ‘behind the scenes’ – inside signal bungalows where new signal systems are connected and software is uploaded.

Photo of inside a rail signal bungalow
Coordinating rail traffic signals and switches and then connecting them into the network is a complex process (Metrolinx photo)

Metrolinx has been working closely with rail corridor owners, CN, on expanding track capacity between Burlington GO Station and Hamilton for an extended period of time. Although additional GO service into Hamilton still requires specific service agreements, it’s closer than ever.

Additional track work will continue over the coming weeks. Look for more stories this summer.

Want to see other transit related progress Metrolinx is spearheading? Then check out this special page.

Story by Robert Pasiak, Metrolinx communications senior advisor