York University GO Station closes to make way for Barrie Line expansion

Metrolinx is paving the way for two way, all day electrified service on the Barrie line, expanding the corridor and adding new tracks to improve access and convenience for customers. But saying hello to more GO service means saying goodbye to the underused York University GO Station. Here’s why its closure is needed, and how it will herald progress.

Before COVID-19, customer volumes on the Barrie Line made it one of Metrolinx’s fastest growing services, with annual increases of up to 16 per cent, year over year, to destinations such as Aurora, Barrie, Newmarket.

The highest increases came in 2018 and 2019, following a service increase in 2018, highlighting the need for more . Metrolinx is moving forward with infrastructure including a second track, to bring all day service in both directions.

Impact on York University Station

Image shows the York University sign.
York University GO station will be closed, to make way for needed improvements and expansion on the Barrie transit line. (Metrolinx photo)

The closure of York University GO Station is required to build additional track that will bring two way, all day service for a better commute. In order to install another track, the station needs to be demolished, creating space for new track infrastructure. This will allow GO trains to travel northbound and southbound on the Barrie line simultaneously and move freight trains off the GO transit corridor.

These investments are an important part of the Metrolinx GO Expansion program that includes more track, more stations and more frequent service to transform the GO rail network into a comprehensive, all day rapid transit network.

TTC Connection

Metrolinx says staff and students will have more service, more trips – and at all times throughout the day – making their trips shorter and at times that are convenient to them. Many customers are already using the TTC as a convenient option to get to York University, with a quick four-minute ride to the University from Downsview station.

Before the pandemic, approximately 105 customers daily used York University GO Station. Looking at ridership on the TTC, approximately 25,700 customers access York University daily at the York University and Pioneer Village TTC subway stations (2018 numbers). With direct access to the university, Pioneer Village and York University Subway stations are more convenient transit options. Customers are encouraged to plan their travel from Downsview GO/Subway station.

Image shows a map.
Here’s a map of York University Access. Customers travelling to campus can easily transfer at Downsview Park GO to the TTC subway, which directly serves two separate stations on campus – Pioneer Village and York University. (Metrolinx image)

With more service on the Barrie line and new connections to the TTC, getting to York University and other destinations along the corridor will be easier. Through GO Expansion, Metrolinx will steadily increase service over the next eight to 10 years, leading to a minimum of 15-minute frequency in each direction to Aurora GO and extend to Allandale Waterfront GO with a 30-minute service. Students and other passengers will have a fast, frequent service from York and Simcoe Regions, enabling significantly more access to York University with a simple interchange at Downsview Park.

Setting the stage for better service

In the next few years, construction along the Barrie corridor will be part of Metrolinx’s larger plan to bring more reliable service to communities along the Barre rail corridor. It means moving forward with improving access to transit and giving people more flexibility in their schedules.  

Metrolinx is building a transit system that is connected across the region, by options and routes. With faster trains, more stations and seamless connections on the horizon, GO Expansion will transform the region into rapid transit system with two-way, all-day, 15-minute service on core segments of the network.

Interested in knowing more about expansion of the Barrie GO line? Just go here.

*Editor’s Note – this story was updated on July 21, to clarify the future service frequency on the Barrie Line*

Story by Patricia Pytel, Metrolinx manager of capital communications and Teresa Ko, Metrolinx communications senior advisor