The proposed James North GO Station is getting closer to becoming a reality with a recently released report from Metrolinx.
Matthew Graham, Project Coordinator of Station Infrastructure, sent an information package to the city of Hamilton advising the city of Metrolinx’s intention to build a new GO station, and temporary layover facility, at 353 James Street North.
Currently there is limited service in the corridor between Toronto and Niagara Falls. During the summer months GO runs weekend trains to Niagara Falls, which pass through the city on the CN lines in north Hamilton. The new GO station will be built on this line.GO Transit has plans to eventually increase service along this line to all day service with the first step building this station.
“Once operational in 2015, the new GO station will help deliver more integrated and effective public transportation in Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area,” Georgina Collymore of GO Transit stated in an email on Friday.
Phase one of the James North GO Station will include a new station building complete with a ticket sales booth, full service multi-use washrooms and waiting areas. A Kiss & Ride including a taxi lane and barrier free drop-off is also planned. Two on-platform storage tracks with capability to layover trains for peak service will also be included.
A bus loop with heated shelters will also be included but it’s not clear whether these the HSR will make use of the platforms. Hamilton Streeet Railway bus routes ‘4 Bayfront’ and ’99 Waterfront Shuttle’ pass by the site on James Street.
It is possible that the ’12 Niagara Falls’ GO bus route, which runs all year via the QEW between Burlington GO and Niagara Falls, could be rerouted to also serve this station.
Phase two will include pedestrian bridges or tunnels complete with elevators and/or ramps providing two access points to the rail platforms.There will be plenty of parking available at the station with approximately 460 parking spots included in the parking lot, an increase from the original 2010 plan of 230 parking spots.
The plan in 2010 had the proposed property extend from James to Bay Streets along the CN tracks, just north of Murray Street. The key plan in the new information package shows the property extended west to Hess Street. GO Transit is in the preliminary stages of design work on the new station and final plans aren’t available.
The construction of the GO Station on James Street North, which will be completed just in time for the Pan Am Games to ultimately shuttle people to soccer games at Ivor Wynne, doesn’t necessarily mean the city will finally receive all-day train service.
“It is important to remember that the proposed two-way, all-day rail service along the Lakeshore line to Hamilton is currently unfunded,” Georgina Collymore went on to say. “The implementation of this service would be contingent upon various factors, such as funding, our relationship with rail corridor owners, infrastructure needs, and a business case considering ridership demands.”
As of 2010 VIA Rail had no intentions of service the proposed new GO Station. VIA has yet to comment on their plans for service in Hamilton in light of the new information.
Construction is scheduled to begin in March of 2014 with phase one completion by June 2015, just before the Pan Am Games. Phase two of construction would then begin after the Pan Am Games in August of 2015 with final completion set for March 2017.