Important upgrades happening at more than 25 GO stations across the region

Metrolinx News checks in on GO Transit’s system-wide station improvement program and the new customer amenities added in advance of the GO Expansion program. Take a look.

The building blocks are being put into place as Metrolinx works towards expanding GO Transit service

The GO Expansion program will truly transform the GO train system from a commuter service that’s only available at peak times, to an all-day transit option with trips available anytime.

This kind of regional rail service doesn’t exist in Canada, so it’s hard for people to grasp, but with trains coming every 15 minutes or less throughout the day, it becomes more like the subway, where you hop on and go anytime.

The upgrades required to expand GO Transit includes numerous big-ticket items like grade separations (where train tracks either run under or above the road), kilometres of new track, electrification of 600 kms of tracks, new and expanded bridges, and intricate new signalling systems.

Many preparatory projects are well underway across our corridors to get ready for GO Expansion.

At the same time, gradual upgrades to numerous stations across the GO network via the Early Station Improvements (ESI) program have been underway since the summer of 2019.

These station facelifts are not as big in scope, but as more passengers get back to using GO services, they will be greeted with improved amenities that will make it easier and more convenient to use.

Amir Salamat, Metrolinx’s project manager of stations capital delivery has been one of those leading the ESI program.

“We have been working really hard to improve accessibility and the overall customer experience at 29 stations across the GO network,” Salamat said.

“They will receive a combination of upgrades that will bring the amenities in line with our latest standards.”

Amir Salamat on site at a local GO station
Amir Salamat on site at a local GO station. (Metrolinx photo)

“Despite lower ridership numbers over the past two years or so, we have been delivering these upgrades while maintaining full operation of every station and navigating customer flow at all times,” Salamat explained.

Here are some of the benefits customers can expect to see at their stations.

Keeping you in the know

Upgraded bus and train platforms will greet GO customers with new departure digital signage showing the next train and bus information.

The new screens will be updated in real time, so customers won’t even have to pull out their phone to check the schedule anymore.

New digital signage showing real-time next GO Bus information at Lisgar GO Station.
New digital signage showing real-time next GO Bus information at Lisgar GO Station. (Metrolinx photo)

Improved accessibility

Customers will also find platform tactile edges installed at more of GO stations.

The yellow edge tile strips provide a visual cue as well as a physical change in the texture of the walking surface for customers with vision impairments to help prevent people from walking into live tracks or bus lanes.

Last year Metrolinx News profiled the installation of these accessibility and safety features at Whitby GO Station.

Recently installed yellow tactile edges on the train platform at Weston GO Station
Recently installed yellow tactile edges on the train platform at Weston GO Station. (Metrolinx photo)

Peace of mind for cyclists

Bike riders will never have to think twice about leaving their bicycles at the station before they hop on GO.

New secured bike parking rooms will give customers the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their bike is safe and protected from elements too.

These new bike amenities also assist in advancing the Metrolinx station access strategy and the goal of promoting alternate modes of transportation as a means of connecting communities with GO services.

A look at the new secure bicycle room at Centennial GO Station. (Metrolinx photo)

More information about the way the new bicycle storage rooms will operate will be communicated in the future for individual stations.

Breathing new life into dated elevators

With accessibility being a major focus for Metrolinx, the elevators at some GO stations are also receiving facelifts that bring them up to the latest requirements.

“Many of the elevators across our GO system are approaching the end of their lifespan,” explained Salamat.

“Depending on the specific needs at each station, we have been replacing elevator interiors, and making other necessary upgrades making the elevators more accessible, and reliable.”

photo of an elevator door on a GO platform
Elevators have been upgraded at several GO stations, including the one pictured here at Oakville GO station. (Metrolinx photo)

Tying it all together: electrical upgrades

Some stations are also receiving upgrades to the electrical systems that will increase their capacity to accommodate new digital signage and new secured bike rooms.

This work will also make the systems compliant with applicable electrical standards and provide capacity for future upgrades at these stations.

To date, upgrades at 13 stations have been commissioned: Acton, Ajax, Allandale, Barrie South, Bloor, Erindale, Lisgar, Mount Joy, Newmarket, Oakville, Old Cummer, and Oshawa.

Work at the remaining 17 stations as part of this program will wrap up in 2022, and after that customers can expect further improvements to their stations before more aspects of the GO Expansion program are implemented.

Visit the GO Transit Improvements page to learn more about the many upgrades currently underway at GO stations across the system, and sign up for  On the Go Alerts  to get up-to-date information about construction at specific GO stations.

Story by Robert Pasiak, Metrolinx senior advisor, Communications and Community Relations