All-day, 2-way GO train service from Waterloo Region to Toronto coming, says premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne promised all-day, two-way GO service between Waterloo Region and Toronto on Tuesday.
GO's Oshawa station is closed while police investigate reports of a suspicious package found aboard a train. Shuttle buses are operating between Whitby and Oshawa stations. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province is committing to two-way, all-day GO service between Waterloo Region and Toronto.

According to a news release, the province will make improvements to GO's Kitchener line in order to bring the increased service to the region. 

That will entail building a new train layover facility, as well as upgrading the rail corridor so travel times are faster, and by the end of 2016, adding two more morning and afternoon trips to the schedule. 

The Premier first hinted at two-way all-day GO service in an interview with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition on CBC Kitchener-Waterloo in early February, promising "clarity" in the upcoming provincial budget. 

The news release suggests making at least one trip an express service, and suggests that increased service could see an increase of 1000 more daily passengers. 

The provincial news release made reference to a business plan by a consortium that includes the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, the Region of Waterloo and Communitech, that made the case late last year for increased GO service. 

The consortium's business plan claims that two-way, all-day GO service would bring an additional net 37,600 jobs by connecting Toronto and Waterloo's tech hubs and generate $838 million in annual personal income tax.

Kitchener mayor calls announcement "Great news"

“We got great news today,” said Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr. “I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities it holds for this entire region.”

Zehr made getting increased GO service to the region the priority for his last year in office. The long-serving mayor, first elected in 1997, won't be seeking re-election after his term this year is up. 

However, Zehr says the announcement is just the first step, and expects services changes announced Tuesday will be phased in. 

"The two-way service, that's the most critical thing," said Zehr, because there's a need for people to be able to travel in and out of the region multiple times in one day, not just a morning and evening commute.

"It's probably one of the biggest game-changers that will come to this region in many,many years,"said Zehr.