VIA Rail has no plans to begin stopping in the Hammer any time soon.
With the note last week that GO Transit is moving forward with plans to construct a new station in the city of Hamilton, VIA Rail has confirmed that the crown corporation currently has no plans to add Hamilton to it’s list of destinations, citing budget cuts and changes in the transportation landscape in the region.
“In some places we are duplicating services that are more suited to other modes, as in Southwestern Ontario,” stated a representative from VIA Rail.
With GO Transit in place in Hamilton it’s actually cheaper to take the GO to Toronto, or Niagara Falls, to connect to a VIA train than catching the train in Hamilton. While it takes an extra bit of planning, it can also save you time.
The cost to take the GO train from Aldershot to Toronto will run you $9.45 (from Hamilton GO the cost is $9.90). The price tag to take the VIA train instead is more than double the price and will set you back $22.60.
For travel in the other direction, heading to Niagara Falls from Aldershot, the trip will cost you $10.80 by GO ($9.65 by GO bus from Stoney Creek) while taking VIA will cost you nearly triple that. You’ll shell out a whopping $30.51 for the train ride!
VIA Rail knows this and will actually give you results for GO transit in it’s online trip planner.
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, some of our frequencies have been in decline for quite some time.”
Earlier in the year the Federal budget reduced subsidies to VIA Rail by $6.5 million this year, $15.1 million in 2013-14 and $19.6 million in 2014-15. Since then four train trips on the Toronto-Niagara Falls line, which passes through Hamilton and the upcoming new GO train station, have been cancelled.
It’s a matter of pride that Hamilton isn’t included in the VIA Rail system, but considering that it costs less than half to use GO transit as an alternative, is it really that much of a bad thing that the trains don’t stop here any more?
“At this present time considering the cuts that have just come into effect, I don’t foresee any additional stops beyond the Aldershot station.”
VIA Rail hasn’t serviced the city of Hamilton directly since moving operations from LIUNA Station to Aldershot in May 1992.