Special Report: Pan Am

Details on James North GO Station

Metrolinx has sent the City of Hamilton some details and timelines on the planned all-day GO Train station on James North.

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 25, 2012

Metrolinx has sent the City of Hamilton a report on the details of the planned GO station [PDF] that will be built at 353 James Street North to accommodate all-day GO Train service. The station itself will be constructed to the west of James Street where MacNab Street North crosses the train tracks.

According to a letter by project coordinator Matthew Graham, the project is scheduled to start in March 2014. The project will be built in two phases and be completed by March 2017.


View James Street North GO Station in a larger map

Phase one will be complete in June 2015, in time for the Pan American Games, to serve as access to the Pan Am events that will take place in Hamilton at a rebuilt Ivor Wynne Stadium.

In phase one, the station will have a ticket booth, washrooms, waiting areas and sheltered north and south rail platforms that incorporate snow-melt systems.

It will include a Kiss & Ride drop-off and pick-up area and a parking lot with 460 vehicle spots, bicycle parking, carpool parking and the potential for future electric vehicle parking.

The station will also have pedestrian and bicycle access and a bus loop with heated shelters to connect to the HSR network.

Phase two will add pedestrian bridges or tunnels with elevators and/or ramps to provide full accessibility to both the rail platforms. The completed station will be fully accessible and will function as a "mobility hub" within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

According to the planned schedule of work, the construction contract for phase one will be tendered in January 2014 and work will begin in March 2014. The construction should reach "substantial completion" by June 2015 to accommodate traffic to the Pan Am events in Hamilton.

Design for phase two will begin in January 2014 and tendered in April 2015. Work will start in August 2015 with completion scheduled for March 2017.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his essays have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. Ryan also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on twitter.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 08:29:45

Phase one will be complete in June 2015, in time for the Pan American Games, to serve as access to the Pan Am events that will take place in Hamilton at a rebuilt Ivor Wynne Stadium.

... that's only 3.5km away! Take the Barton bus East for about 20 minutes and you're there!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 08:31:06 in reply to Comment 82147

Gosh, if only there was a closer location to put the stadium.

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By turntabulls (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:49:32 in reply to Comment 82148

lol, took the words out of my mouth

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted October 27, 2012 at 09:42:36 in reply to Comment 82167

You got your urban stadium, now please get over it not being built exactly where you wanted it.

At this point it just comes across as petty moping and whinging.

Many of the same benefits apply to the IW rebuild that RTH was touting for the WH, but myopia seems to have taken over once some folks didn’t get exactly what they wanted. As I see it the evaporation of support for the urban stadium has been a true-colours exposing event for many of the “progressive urbanists” in this city.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 28, 2012 at 14:44:30 in reply to Comment 82350

Who is "you"?

Bob Young?

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 08:44:06

This is cool and it sounds like it will be slightly more impressive than a simple open air platform :-)

I'm excited about better go service. Now let's get some LRT lines laid so that we can all take advantage of it without having to fill that parking lot.

What if we did a mini loop from st. joes to the new go station. a one direction loop using st josephs drive, james, turn at the rail right of way and go back up john and repeat. no turnarounds, no changing directions, no switching tracks, just a constant loop. At main/king you would connect to the b line at hughson from either direction via a covered walkway.

In my heart I still believe this all should have happened at Hunter. Tunnel be damned. We can build a highway under a canal (thorold) and we can blow 7 lanes up and down the escarpment (claremont access). We can put highway 5 over highway 6. But we can't engineer a second rail line from bayview junction to the hunter station?

Priorities.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 21:22:38 in reply to Comment 82150

In my heart I still believe this all should have happened at Hunter. Tunnel be damned. We can build a highway under a canal (thorold) and we can blow 7 lanes up and down the escarpment (claremont access). We can put highway 5 over highway 6. But we can't engineer a second rail line from bayview junction to the hunter station?

The limiting factor with the Hunter St. GO Centre isn't so much the tunnel, in my opinion. I think it could be expanded, despite the past arguments about disturbing foundations of adjacent buildings.

The limiting factor is extending the train service eastward - the CP line is not direct enough to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, and only a single track with costly challenges to twin it over such a long distance (even to provide enough sidings east of Kenilworth to make 2-way service more efficient).

It's too bad, it's a beautiful station, perfectly located for downtown, and the synergy with the buses is terrific (both city and inter-city).

Comment edited by ScreamingViking on 2012-10-25 21:23:13

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By hshields (registered) - website | Posted October 29, 2012 at 09:38:18 in reply to Comment 82250

Ah, Synergy with Buses - that's my issue. I like the concept of all-day GO train service. However, Hamilton already has all day GO bus service.

I am hoping that bus and rail don't talk to one-another and the City doesn't infact have an overall reduction in service because of this all-day Rail option.

I know buses aren't cool but they are highly effective. You can get from downtown to downtowon in about an hour and they leave every 30mins. Sure, you sit next to somone with ebola but hey, you're going to sit next to them on the train so why not get to your destination faster?

Will Hamilton see their express GO bus service diminished? I think if I were an Accountant at Metrolinx the argument can be made.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted October 30, 2012 at 11:52:34 in reply to Comment 82383

Yes, that remains to be seen. It's a key issue for this end of the GO network.

And when considering the issue of connections with buses, it's not just the local downtown-to-downtown service. One must also think about connections with bus services from surrounding areas to the Hamilton GO stations.

For example, will there be more opportunity to use Hamilton as a hub for GO bus service from places like Brantford, Cambridge, and the Niagara Peninsula?... the latter until regular train service is eventually provided on the south lakeshore CN line (I have to wonder though when, or if, ridership would justify that train service?)

That itself raises some questions:

  • Does that make an express train service from Hamilton (or at least starting from Burlington) more feasible and faster than the current QEW bus service? Or would express buses still be the faster mode?
  • Will it make the trains more cost effective to run? Or will the buses still be a cheaper way to meet the demand?
  • Is there even enough demand for the connection to Hamilton and then Toronto from those surrounding cities?
  • What does it mean for the two Hamilton GO stations? How will connecting regional bus services be coordinated?

So far, I think GO provides the minimum service to Hamilton and area that is required for the demand. But the thing about transit is, to make it work, the regular service has to be there all the time to make it convenient enough for people to choose it over driving.

Comment edited by ScreamingViking on 2012-10-30 11:57:08

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:39:30 in reply to Comment 82150

that downtown loop idea is quite good! I've long felt that our first phase of LRT should go from McMaster to the West Harbour, then extend it to Ottawa St, then Eastgate. Doing that loop and the first phase of B-line would be great...only negative I can foresee is the cost of your loop. Instead of the trains running both directions on one street, all the infrastructure costs are now spread over the entire length of the loop...basically doubling the amount of underground facilities etc.....maybe the loop could run from St Joes along James, left at Hunter, right at Bay to the GO Station and back on the same route? This keeps all construction of the tracks on the same streets.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-10-25 09:39:53

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:45:57 in reply to Comment 82163

THe james/john loop has the advantage of hitting the hunter station on both ends as well as sparking transit oriented development on both of the major n/w downtown commercial streets. John is in much more dire need of help than james at the moment. Perhaps we'd see some parking lots finally be built upon

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-10-25 09:46:14

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:47:41 in reply to Comment 82165

People taking GO out of james north would see storefronts on james going out and john coming back. double exposure!

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:05:33

Ryan, I think that's west of James St., not east.

Also, are we allowed to fill in that expression of interest form ourselves, or was it only for councillors?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:27:17 in reply to Comment 82153

I think that's west of James St., not east.

You're quite right - fixed.

Also, are we allowed to fill in that expression of interest form ourselves, or was it only for councillors?

I'm not sure, but I just sent an email to Matthew Graham asking to be added to the project mailing list.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-10-25 09:28:57

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By Laura Cattari (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:08:29

Too bad accessibility doesn't seem to be important enough to include as a priority despite the province's Accessibility for Ontarians Act. First strike against Pam Am Games inclusiveness.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 11:23:21 in reply to Comment 82155

Yeah, that. Will the current system at least provide workarounds for disabled persons - that is, will the far side of the tracks at least have some wheelchair accessibility to Strachan or MacNab even if there isn't an immediate elevator/whatever access to the underpass for disabled persons?

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2012-10-25 11:23:36

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By Nords (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:17:12

Wow, that's a lot of parking being proposed too. So already just with the new Go parking, there is now triple the parking available than at the new IW!!!

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By JM (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:17:20

i still dont understand how people are quickly getting from here to IWS for the pan am events??? are they simply just going to provide shuttle buses? ...or do people have to find a way theirselves?

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By soundsteve (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 09:00:25 in reply to Comment 82157

Who cares. Pan Am is a flash in the pan event and Ivor Wynn is so inconsequential to the city that it is hardly worth considering. The real win is that Hamilton becomes a viable, car-free alternative to living outside Toronto in a real urban fabric in the GTA;

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By stupid stupid (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:32:12 in reply to Comment 82157

From the map it looks like you could have walked up Tiffany from the platform right to the West Harbour stadium. What a stupid stupid stupid missed opportunity.

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By JM (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 10:30:18 in reply to Comment 82161

exactly - thats what made the "cluster" of the event venues so damn feasible!!

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 09:41:03

Imagine the money GO could have made on stadium day parking...

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 10:03:00

Are there plans for a Via stop here as well?

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By soundsteve (anonymous) | Posted November 27, 2012 at 11:51:59 in reply to Comment 82168

I dunno - stadiums tend to be giant areas devoid of life with a lot of parking lots and underused square footage most of the time so I think the harbour lands could do better;

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By VIAB (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 14:53:56 in reply to Comment 82168

VIA said that if a GO station is built they will use it, but not pay for it themselves. They already run trains on the line, so all they have to do is stop.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 10:41:25

"The project is scheduled to start in March 2014."

Six short years from funding commitment to construction start? It pays to have a mayor on the GO Board of Directors!

http://www.thespec.com/news/article/167061--provincial-cash-to-add-go-train-stop-at-liuna-station

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By soundsteve (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 08:57:51 in reply to Comment 82174

While I tend to agree with the cynicism, apparently the delay had to do with getting various permits and environmental assessments and easements in order to build a new section of bridge over the desjardin canal so that GO can have a dedicated line.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 15:46:26 in reply to Comment 82174

A man wipes some mustard from the corner of his mouth with a paper napkin, a pastrami sandwich resting on waxed paper on his desk.

He picks up the phone and dials, as he has done so many times before.

"Yes, do you have any update on all day two-way GO train service to Hamilton? You do?"

*He asks incredulously. This was the day he had been waiting for.*

"Yes, I'd love to hear all about the details."

*He scrambles for a pad of paper and a pen, satisfied at last*

Fade to Black.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2012 at 15:54:00 in reply to Comment 82224

Well played, sir.

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By Jay Robb (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 12:26:17

Thinking that now would be a very good time to buy / invest in homes all throughout the neighbourhoods surrounding the future GO station. And building mixed us residential + condos along the waterfront (may prove to be a better use of prime real estate than a stadium).
If you're a young family priced out of the Toronto market, living (and paying taxes) in Hamilton and commuting to work in Toronto will be a very attractive option.
Expect the GO station will also be a catalyst for continuing renewal along James St. North, with restaurants and businesses serving the influx of families and the needs of daily commuters.
Hamilton should be looking to fully capitalize on this huge opportunity for revitalization.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted October 27, 2012 at 09:47:29 in reply to Comment 82183

And building mixed us residential + condos along the waterfront (may prove to be a better use of prime real estate than a stadium).

Ya, just maybe ; )

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 13:42:23 in reply to Comment 82183

Only one ingredient missing, the one thing families are most interested in when choosing a neighbourhood: schools.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted October 27, 2012 at 09:48:12 in reply to Comment 82195

Excellent point Highwater!

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By Arcosdev (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 13:42:12

Any idea what the schedule might look like?

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 21:11:43 in reply to Comment 82194

It will be at least as good as the Niagara service (James North being billed as "Gateway to Niagara" in Metrolinx materials.

http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/968597/take-the-go-train-to-niagara-this-victoria-day-weekend

In January 2010, GO Transit was talking about adding 10 trains each way between the proposed new Hamilton station and Union Station.

That's significantly different than the vision rolled out in September 2011 at LIUNA Station.

Two weeks before the last election, Premier McGuinty apparently pledged trains every 15 to 20 minutes during rush hour, with hourly service at non-peak times. (I've seen no direct quotes, recorded footage or corroboration in government materials. Anyone?)

To put this in perspective, on weekdays, Aldershot currently has eastbound rush-hour service from roughly 5:30-7:30am, and (with the exception of a 6pm anomaly) hourly thereafter until 11pm. Its westbound runs arrive hourly 9:45am-3:45pm, with rush hour service thereafter until 8:45pm, then hourly arrivals again until 1:45am. Sat/Sun service is exclusively hourly. Aldershot has 19 eastbound / 21 westbound trains (weekdays) and 17 eastbound / 19 westbound trains (weekends) that Hamilton does not.

The most consistent promises I've seen have been for "all-day two-way GO train service," repeated as recently as a month ago:

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n12/12-107-eng.asp

But of course there's lots of wiggle room.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 15:42:29 in reply to Comment 82194

Probably identical to the existing Lakeshore West schedule, with the exception that the train will come to/from Hamilton, instead of stopping at aldershot with a train the rest of the way.

Unless they decide to completely revise their schedule.

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By soundsteve (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 08:54:53 in reply to Comment 82222

If you look into the GO/GTAA expansion plan, they intend to run this line through to Niagara with hourly trains and station stops at hamilton(hunter), east hamilton(centre mall), stoney creek, grimsby and terminating at niagara falls;
A certain number of the trains are supposed to station stop from niagara to hamilton and then run express into downtown TO, which would mean about a 30-40 minute trip, no local stops after hamilton.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 15:43:11 in reply to Comment 82222

That should read "instead of stopping at Aldershot with a bus the rest of the way."

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By Sara (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 14:03:56

Has anyone seen a commitment from GO that they will continue all day bus service, once all day train service comes? I am not convinced that this station will actually be a net benefit to downtown residents. Apart from a possible reduction in bus service, I also wonder if they will reduce train service to the downtown GO station.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 15:40:46 in reply to Comment 82198

Never seen anything in writing, but I've always said that I do not want all day GO train service if it comes at the expense of our Express Bus Service. Other than rush hour, the GO bus is normally faster than the train (which during the day makes all stops to Toronto). I've never understood the focus on all day two way GO train service for that reason - the bus is almost always the better choice to go to Toronto. If you really want to take the train into Toronto, we have that too, it just takes a bus trip to Aldershot before you transfer.

As for service to Hunter Street, while every proposal I've ever seen calls for continuing rush hour service out of Hunter Street, I've also always wondered in the back of my mind if they wouldn't reduce or eliminate that service as well.

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By hshields (registered) - website | Posted October 29, 2012 at 09:48:43 in reply to Comment 82221

As I mentioned in above comments - an Accountant at Metrolinx would make a very persuasive argument to reduce other services, like Express 16 and 47 buses, since they are dumping so much capital into Hamilton for all day Train service.

I have no idea if that argument has been made, or whether the train people talk to the bus people, but with increasing pressure on public money to be "cost effective" expect someone with a calculator to raise it as an issue.

Options for GO would be to base everything out of James N. including Express bus service or have a Niagara-Hamilton milk run and then turn it into Hamilton-Union Express.

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By Simmons (registered) | Posted October 25, 2012 at 23:20:11 in reply to Comment 82221

I've always felt this way too and never understood Bratina's clamouring for it these last few years, at the expense of LRT, no less.

But I now think this station could do a lot in the way of development and increasing property value in the area plus it maybe raises the potential for, dare I say, an express Hamilton-Toronto train? I don't think GO has ever talked about this and there is no precedent for it on GO's system but overall I think having a station there will prove to be a net benefit for the city.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 26, 2012 at 18:53:26 in reply to Comment 82264

Express train to Union could double the property values at West Harbour/North end.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted November 06, 2012 at 09:38:19 in reply to Comment 82332

I don't think we'll have the ridership for a Hamilton-Toronto express train (making no stops between the two). Not unless the train runs all stops Niagara Falls to Hamilton first.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 06, 2012 at 10:16:20 in reply to Comment 82600

There's also the much simpler problem that there are other trains on that track that aren't going express to Toronto. How are those trains supposed to move out of the way for our express train?

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By soundsteve (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 08:51:27

The platform is not being built for Ivor Wynn, it is just a convenient goal post to have the platform and service operational. The station is meant to service downtown Hamilton so all of the people posting on here confused about this issue might want to keep that in mind and to stop complaining about it. Hourly trains downtown - that's a good thing. Who cares about Ivor Wynn or the Tiger Cats, that has nothing to do with Hamilton's economic future, hourly trains downtown have EVERYTHING to do with it.

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By JM (registered) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:34:08 in reply to Comment 82285

its not complaining about Ivor Wynne and the ti-cats.

its discussing the missed-opportunity of having DIRECT transit to a cluster of event venues during the Pan Am Games....

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By hammerbooster (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 09:21:00 in reply to Comment 82285

I don't think people are complaining about how far the platform is from the stadium, they're complaining about how far the stadium is from the platform.

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By just complaining (anonymous) | Posted October 26, 2012 at 13:37:25

I think people just enjoy complaining

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By Shawn Selway (anonymous) | Posted October 27, 2012 at 00:33:47

Hm. I've often looked northward from the front of the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre ( the Customs House) and thought how nice it would be to cover the tracks with a big wide boardwalk. Looking at the length of the proposed station, it would be very good to have a green roof for its whole length, effectively tripling the width of the strip park along the South side of Strachan, and extending Bayfront Park all the way to Liuna Station.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted October 28, 2012 at 18:57:52

It would be great if they provide at least stairway access to the platforms from MacNab and Bay streets. If they begin just west of James, the platforms should then extend west of Bay... GO's tend to be well over 300m in length, but the distance between James and Bay is only about 270m.

Perhaps they will. From the report PDF:

Pedestrian and bicycle pathways through the site as appropriate to provide access from adjacent roads to bike parking and platform access points.

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By hshields (registered) - website | Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:00:09

Enough about IW.

Look, it is an albatross anyway you cut it. For 10 events/year I can't see any public money justifying this kind of expenditure. Now, if IW were to be used for say, 50 events/year, you are now talking about something public money can get behind.

Does the CFL season last 100 games with 50 home games? Nope. How about adding a second-tier MLS team to the schedule? So, that's another 17-20 events/year.

How about adding special events like concerts, Pan-Am, CANUSA, third-tier community soccer? Let's say all the drips and drabs adds up to only an additional 10 events/year.

Now we are talking 40 events/year. The new IW is still going to be on razor-thin margins and it simply doesn't make sense for public money to be going into it. Good luck Mr. Young, you'll need it.

Now, with this new train service coming into Hamilton, with LRT eventually hooking up with it, combined with a resurgent James N., this may be an opportunity to start thinking about a venue that does do more than 50 events/year.

And that's a closed arena.

Is today the day to start talking about letting go of Copps? Nope, but the writing is on the wall a new owner of Copps should look very closley at this transportation hub and say to themselves, hey, Hamilton has all this publicly-owned property sitting around a transportation hub I don't have to pay for - let's make a deal.

That deal is coming. Just a matter of when and who.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:00:09

Just for some comparisons.... this new GO Station will be 850m from Copps: http://goo.gl/maps/gmS4V

The closest train station (GO) to the Skydome is Union Station. Via the collection of PATH walkways it is 1km: http://goo.gl/maps/Oep5K

via Front St it is 1.2 km.

This bodes well for the future value of Copps IMO.
Of course, if we ever get some leadership back and re-ignite the vision of a vibrant, successful city complete with LRT, those trains are proposed to stop around the corner from Copps on King St.
btw, I'm still perplexed (tho I shouldn't be) that the TiCats haven't become the biggest boosters of LRT. A station is proposed right at the stadium near Scott Park. They could win over a bunch of the next generation that they've lost, and create a much easier transportation link right to the stadium. But again, that would require vision, and some semblance of concern for our city's future.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted November 03, 2012 at 17:23:55 in reply to Comment 82458

"Future value" of stadia is relative, of course. SkyDome posted a depreciation of ~97% when it sold to Rogers in 2004.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 22:19:55 in reply to Comment 82458

FWIW, it's a 900m walk from the Hunter GO Station to Copps.

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By dowlingm (registered) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 16:37:43

So I saw a google map today with an area superimposed on it which is supposedly where the station is going, however this area was all west of James Street, whereas LIUNA Station is east of James Street. Is the Hamilton James Street station just going to be a shed on the west side or has Metrolinx crossed LIUNA's palm with silver to buy back the old station?

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 31, 2012 at 21:56:34 in reply to Comment 82492

the station was always proposed to be across from LIUNA, west of James. It'll be a new station on that empty lot. LIUNA is full with office space and very successful banquet facilities.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted December 04, 2012 at 13:38:55

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/property-report/in-pictures-parking-garages-and-a-pedestrian-bridge-boost-go-transit/article5922696/

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted April 20, 2013 at 03:37:10

"The proposed work is to build a fully accessible GO Station. The project will be constructed in two
phases. The intent is to have the GO station operational by June 2015 after the completion of phase one."

Anticipated schedule:

Phase One
Design Start September 2012
Contract Tender January 2014
Construction Start March 2014
Construction Substantial Completion June 2015

Phase Two
Design Start January 2014
Contract Tender April 2015
Construction Start August 2015
Construction Substantial Completion March 2017



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By JDutton (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2013 at 01:39:30

Whether it be all day GO service, funding for the LRT, etc, the fact is that Hamilton is neglected by the provincial government in terms of Transit. It doesn't help that city leaders don't do enough to advocate for the city.

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