Metrolinx Acquires Full Ownership of Toronto-Barrie Rail Commuter Corridor

TORONTO — Metrolinx purchased from CN  the lower portion of the Newmarket Subdivision in central-north Toronto for C$68 million.

The transaction gives Metrolinx end-to-end ownership of the 60-mile-long Barrie-Bradford GO Train corridor between downtown Toronto and Barrie, Ont. – a first for the government transit agency.

Metrolinx is the Ontario government Crown corporation responsible for delivering an integrated, multi-modal transportation network in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), from York and Durham through Toronto, Peel Halton and Hamilton. GO Transit, the operating division of Metrolinx, provides commuter rail and bus services in the GTA.

The Metrolinx line acquisition fills the rail gap between the agency’s east-west Union Station Rail Corridor in downtown Toronto, its Weston Subdivision in west-central Toronto, and the northern segment of its commuter rail-line reaching Barrie, officials said.

Metrolinx President and Chief Executive Officer J. Robert S. Prichard said: “This transaction marks a milestone for the agency, giving us – for the first time – end-to-end ownership of a GO Transit rail line. This transaction with CN – an important partner of ours — will permit improvements to service between Toronto and Barrie and points in between. Improved commuter rail and mass transit are vital to easing traffic congestion and air pollution in the GTA, while improving the productivity and economic competitiveness of the region.”

The line acquired by Metrolinx branches off its Weston Subdivision, acquired from CN earlier this year, in west Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood and runs north past York University to connect with the agency’s existing commuter line to Barrie. That line starts immediately north of CN’s main east-west freight corridor that parallels Steeles Avenue between Keele and Dufferin streets.

GO currently runs eight commuter trains daily, Monday to Friday, between Toronto and Barrie over the Newmarket Subdivision, which also accommodates a daily CN freight train and VIA Rail Canada Inc.’s transcontinental passenger train three times a week.

Under its sales agreement with Metrolinx, CN will continue to serve five freight customers on the lower Newmarket Subdivision between Highway 401 and CN’s main east-west freight corridor.

Rail has a benign environmental footprint, and CN is the green, energy-efficient choice for shippers. Rail has been shown to be up to six times more energy-efficient than heavy trucks, because rail consumes a fraction of the fuel to transport one tonne of freight one kilometre. In fact, we can move one tonne of freight almost 200 kilometres on just one litre of fuel.

The company’s innovative Precision Railroading model, and partnership agreements with other railroads to share assets and deliver interchange traffic at the most efficient gateways, have also reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

GO Transit recognizes the decisions we make today will have a major impact on the world we live in tomorrow. Changing attitudes and shifting mindsets are putting the environment at the forefront of GO’s plans – both today and in the future. Transit is a clean, sustainable transportation option and GO believes the environment should be a key consideration for future growth strategies and development. Going green is just one of the many ways GO Transit is leading the way, both in the transportation industry and in the eyes of its customers.