Metrolinx updates Kitchener Line GO Expansion Plans – rules out Guelph’s Margaret Greene Park as power substation site

Two-way all-day GO train service continues to progress along the Kitchener Line. Metrolinx officials are updating the community on the continued progress of all-day two-way GO service and the future of Guelph’s Margaret Greene Park as a potential site for electrification infrastructure.

Improving service between Kitchener and Toronto is a priority for residents and businesses of the Waterloo area and all communities in between. Metrolinx is moving ahead with plans to bring two-way all-day GO train service to the Kitchener corridor.

In the past few years, before the pandemic, Metrolinx increased service to Halton Hills, Guelph and Kitchener – including mid-day and late-night options – by nearly 45 per cent. There is still more work to be done.

Metrolinx has been looking at multiple improvements to the Kitchener corridor, including the study for the future electrification of the 54km rail corridor between Georgetown and Kitchener (known as the Guelph Subdivision).

Metrolinx has been working with local communities to better understand existing conditions, potential effects of the infrastructure needed to support future electrification, and how best to mitigate these.

Last summer, Metrolinx held a virtual open house to share next steps and updates. Community consultation is the heart of our project planning processes and helps inform the work to come.

Metrolinx heard from stakeholders, including Hydro One, and community members about the constraints and concerns surrounding the impacts of the proposed infrastructure required for electrification.

Metrolinx will be collecting all study information and consultation feedback to keep on file for future reference prior to advancing further with the formal Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP). Metrolinx highly values stakeholder and community feedback and commits to re-engaging all our stakeholders in a meaningful way on this project in the future.

In the meantime, Metrolinx will continue to advance two-way all-day GO service in the near term while we work to better understand electrification in the long term for the Kitchener corridor.

GO Train runs along the tracks
Metrolinx continues to work on bringing two-way all-day GO train service along the Kitchener Line. (Philip Hall photo)

Future of Margaret Greene Park

Metrolinx has ruled out Margaret Greene Park in the City of Guelph as a potential site for the traction power substation (TPS) required for electrification. You can find more information on the power station and Margaret Greene Park from our previous story here

Metrolinx explored nine locations for this potential TPS site, working closely with the City of Guelph and other stakeholders (notably the Ministry of Transportation and Hydro One) as part of the preliminary planning phase of the TPAP.  Of the nine sites, some were not large enough, some are slated for future development, and some are being set aside for future highway plans.

Metrolinx has spent the last few months exploring every possible alternative site where this infrastructure could go and, unfortunately, we have been unable to identify a suitable site that meets our technical requirements with minimal impacts to communities.

In the future, when electrification is being implemented on this corridor, the community/stakeholder feedback received to date will be used to inform the design and impact assessment of electrification.

Metrolinx highly values community feedback and commits to re-engaging residents and stakeholders in a meaningful way to find solutions that work. All consultation materials will remain on Metrolinx Engage going forward.

Despite the pandemic, work is still moving forward, and you may notice construction crews in your community working on the infrastructure required for more and better service. Metrolinx continues to prepare for the future and working to be ready with new services. In doing so, the transit agency will continue to work, monitor and adapt as necessary. 

Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx bilingual spokesperson, media relations and issues specialist.