Moving the needle on Kitchener Line GO Expansion as shorter travel times start to become reality

GO train speed limits through the City of Guelph are set to gradually increase over the coming months following major signaling upgrades and safety testing.

The GO Kitchener Line has been bustling with construction activity as GO train service is set to undergo a transformation into a true commuter service with more travel options and shorter trip times.

Many Guelph residents have seen some of these projects take place right in their city, like surfacing and stabilizing of tracks, replacement of the Speed River Bridge, and relocation of the iconic steam locomotive from Guelph GO / VIA Station.

GO Train service picking up steam

Earlier this spring, Metrolinx also conducted tests of improved signalling systems through the City of Guelph that will allow trains to safely travel at higher speeds.

Thanks to all that work, starting Oct. 25, 2021, GO train speed limits will start incrementally increasing, with three-week intervals between every increase:

•          Increase from 10 mph to 20 mph starting October 25

•          Increase from 20 mph to 30 mph starting November 15

•          Increase from 30 mph to 45 mph starting December 6

To prepare for this, Metrolinx also recently completed upgrades at level crossings that will result in the cross arms, lights, and sounds responding to approaching trains much sooner.

Construction crews installing a new rail crossing arm at Watson Road North in Guelph. (Metrolinx photo)
Construction crews installing a new rail crossing arm at Watson Road North in Guelph. (Metrolinx photo)

Actual train speeds will continue to be dictated by operational needs, like having to stop at Guelph GO Station or possibly travelling though construction zones.

Safety first

Although all crossings are compliant with Transport Canada requirements and safe, the speed increases will be a change for the communities surrounding the corridor.

Safety is central to everything Metrolinx does, and the transit agency will continue working with communities to ensure residents are aware of the upcoming train speed changes.

This will include clear signage at every crossing reminding pedestrians and motorists about the speed changes, direct notification to residents closest to the tracks and social media posts.

Crews perform rail crossing maintenance in the Guelph area
Crews perform rail crossing maintenance in the Guelph area. (Metrolinx photo)

While the focus is on educating people about the dangers and deterrence, Metrolinx Customer Protection officers will also not hesitate to enforce the rules surrounding trespassing on train tracks, which includes a maximum fine of $5,000.

Next steps

Metrolinx will continue to engage with communities along the Kitchener GO Line throughout this process.

Both Metrolinx and the City of Guelph are also planning further studies of rail crossings within Guelph city limits that may identify further safety enhancements that would go over and above the Transport Canada requirements for safety. Stay tuned for more information.

Brand new signal bungalow that houses the equipment and software necessary for rail signals and crossing gates to work. (Metrolinx photo)
Brand new signal bungalow that houses the equipment and software necessary for rail signals and crossing gates to work. (Metrolinx photo)

Stay in the know

Metrolinx has a dedicated Community Relations team available to answer your questions by email, Monday to Friday during regular business hours at GuelphWellington@metrolinx.com.

To receive updates about Metrolinx projects and services in your area, sign up for the Guelph-Wellington Regional E-newsletter at metrolinx.com/subscribe.

Story by Robert Pasiak, Metrolinx communications senior advisor