City politi­cians ex­pect news on James Street A-line spur

Min­is­ter and Metrolinx of­fi­cials set to speak at GO sta­tion Thurs­day

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN mvan­don­gen@thes­ 905-526-3241 | @Mat­tatthes­pec

Lo­cal politi­cians are ex­pect­ing news about the fate of the James Street A-line LRT spur when On­tario’s trans­porta­tion min­is­ter comes to town Thurs­day.

Min­is­ter Steven Del Duca and top Metrolinx of­fi­cials are slated to make an un­spec­i­fied an­nounce­ment about “im­prov­ing pub­lic tran­sit” at the Hunter Street GO sta­tion at 9 a.m.

Mayor Fred Eisen­berger ac­knowl­edged last month the provin­cial tran­sit agency was re­think­ing the part of Hamil­ton’s $1-bil­lion LRT plan that would see light rail cars trav­el­ling up a James Street spur to the new GO sta­tion in favour of a more “bus-ori­ented” ap­proach.

Other sources told The Spec­ta­tor some sort of ex­press bus or ded­i­cated bus rapid tran­sit (BRT) ser­vice was be­ing con­tem­plated for the en­tire James Street-Up­per James cor­ri­dor, per­haps as far south as Ry­mal Road or the air­port.

Coun. Sam Merulla said he un­der­stood the an­nounce­ment to be a re­sponse to his mo­tion last year call­ing on Metrolinx to in­cor­po­rate more tran­sit im­prove­ments to the A-line in tan­dem with the light rail tran­sit project along the east-west B-line.

“I’m en­cour­aged that they’re re­spond­ing with a project amend­ment that will bet­ter in­cor­po­rate the Mountain and its res­i­dents, as well as im­prove the sus­tain­abil­ity of our en­tire tran­sit sys­tem,” he said.

It’s also pos­si­ble there is other tran­sit news on the hori­zon, how­ever.

CN and Metrolinx have been work­ing to ex­tend an­other rail­road track from Alder­shot to the West Har­bour GO sta­tion with the even­tual goal of up­ping in­fre­quent GO Train ser­vice to the city.

A new bridge to al­low for that track was added across the Des­jardins Canal in De­cem­ber.

Metrolinx wouldn’t pro­vide a time­line for that con­struc­tion, other than to say it is “work­ing closely with CN to fi­nal­ize con­struc­tion plans” for the new track.

The agency plans to ex­tend more fre­quent train ser­vice to Hamil­ton within 10 years.

But it re­mains un­clear when the new West Har­bour sta­tion can ex­pect to see more than two Toronto-bound trains leav­ing each morn­ing.

The Hunter Street sta­tion, which is on a CPR-owned line, sees four trains each morn­ing.

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