Lakeshore East express trains paused as important construction work takes place

Work is happening on the Lakeshore East GO line to offer more frequent train service, more stations, cleaner technology, and more connections. Express service along the line will be paused to support construction work on expanding GO service, the East Harbour transit hub and the Ontario Line subway. Growth can be painful, but the benefits of GO Expansion are already here as customers will now be able to take advantage of 15-minute train service for most of the day. Keep reading to find out why Lakeshore East express trains are on hold and how Metrolinx is offering customers more.

Lakeshore East GO train customers will have to do without express trains temporarily as Metrolinx works to bring more frequent train service and more connections to the region.

Right now, Lakeshore East customers are benefitting from two-way, all-day service, seven days a week. But, GO Expansion work is starting to bring transit riders more service in the future.

Over the next 10 years, Metrolinx’s GO Expansion program will transform the existing GO rail system to deliver a whole new rapid transit experience by building an integrated transit network across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton region.

The first step in the journey to more frequent train service is to offer customers train service every 15 minutes for most of the day, which resumed earlier in August. Service every 15 minutes means customers won’t even need to look at a schedule for the majority of the day.

So why are Lakeshore East Express trains on hold? There are a few reasons. Let’s get into it.

East Harbour transit hub

Developed as part of the SmartTrack stations program, the new East Harbour transit hub will be an important interchange station for the future Ontario Line. It will serve GO and Ontario Line customers providing seamless transfers between both services and offer connections to local transit. It will also help to reduce crowding at Union Station.

Artist's rendering of East Harbour station
The new East Harbour GO Station. Located immediately east of the Don Valley Parkway and south of Eastern Avenue, this new station will be in Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood. Artist’s rendering, final designs are subject to change. (Metrolinx image)

How Metrolinx is bringing Lakeshore East customers expanded GO service

In preparation for East Harbour station, as well as the Ontario Line subway, Metrolinx is working on rearranging existing tracks to accommodate additional GO and new Ontario Line tracks.  

Tracks for the Ontario Line, as well as the station at East Harbour will be worked on simultaneously to shorten the construction time as much as possible to minimize the impact to the surrounding communities and Metrolinx customers.

Metrolinx is using a staged approach to ensure minimal service disruptions and impacts to the surrounding community. The staged approach means that, at any given time, there are two tracks available for train services and one out of service so that construction can continue without disruption.

workers replacing a train bridge
Construction crews work on replacing a bridge along the Lakeshore East GO line, taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metrolinx photo)

What does this mean for Metrolinx customers?

Metrolinx is reinstating an additional trip on the Lakeshore East GO line for consistent 15-minute service for most of the day, and through the evening rush hour. Trains will continue to serve all stations from Union to Oshawa while Metrolinx completes the upcoming construction phases for East Harbour station and the Ontario Line subway.

To ensure the safe and efficient completion of this phase of construction for East Harbour transit hub, the third track on the Lakeshore East GO line will be taken out of service. The third track allows for express trains to pass all stop trains that are stopped at stations, so the removal of this track means that Lakeshore East express trains will not return until approximately August 2024.

Getting the Lakeshore East line ready for expanded service

The construction plans along the Lakeshore East corridor are part of Metrolinx’s larger plan to bring expanded service to customers in Toronto and the surrounding areas.

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 with faster trains, more stations, and seamless connections.  

The GO Expansion program, East Harbour transit hub, and Ontario Line subway are all part of this plan. While Lakeshore East express trains won’t run for the next few years, 15-minute service will continue to get GO customers where they need to go.

By Rosie Hales, Metrolinx capital communications senior advisor