Many track capacity constraints faced by VIA Rail in southwestern Ontario would also apply to extended GO train services – as would the solutions. GO train services in and around the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) continue to be outstandingly successful because they offer low, “walk up” fares, full accessibility, plenty of seating capacity and growing schedule intensity. The rolling stock is designed for a top speed of approximately 125kph, but it would be feasible to raise this, with equipment design changes and track and signalling improvements, to 175kph.
Those who regularly use GO trains recognise that the hard commuter seating would not be acceptable for intercity use and would need to be changed to improve comfort as would the addition of WiFi.
Extending GO trains to London would meet the rapidly escalating need for a low-cost alternative to the automobile. It follows the expansion of ultra-low-cost airlines that appeal to a growing, budget-conscious passenger market.
Expanding GO’s passenger train fleet of standardised, Canadian-built coaches and extending services deeper into southwestern Ontario has lower risk to taxpayers and could be implemented quickly at modest cost while providing access for more people.
Again, the issue seems to be one of wilful blindness to practicality and a dismissive willingness to put billions of taxpayer dollars at extreme risk for political ends.