Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Metrolinx acquires full ownership of Toronto-Barrie corridor from CN

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Metrolinx acquires full ownership of Toronto-Barrie corridor from CN | Railway Track & Structures

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, 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.

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."

Claude Mongeau, CN executive vice-president and incoming president and chief executive officer, said: "CN is pleased to have reached this sales agreement with Metrolinx. We have close ties with GO - most of its services in the Greater Toronto Area operate over CN's network - and we see our partnership with GO and Metrolinx continuing to drive the environmental benefits of rail in the Toronto region. In addition, this line sale will generate additional value for the company."

The line acquired by Metrolinx branches off its Weston Subdivision, acquired from CN earlier this year, in west Toronto's Parkdale neighborhood 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.

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