Over the years, the GO train has become a primary means of transportation for many people in the Halton Region and beyond. And as its history dates back to the 1960s it’s safe to say that over the years the GO train has changed quite a bit.
It was noted in a Metrolinx blog post earlier this year, just how much this transportation method has changed over the decades.
Here’s what the evolution of the GO train has looked like thus far.
The 1960s were a booming time for southern Ontario and as a result, there was more traffic in and around the Toronto area. In order to reduce traffic, GO Transit was introduced to the province.
According to the blog post, “On May 23, 1967, Ontario’s first interregional train went full steam ahead making stops along the Lakeshore line between Pickering, Union, Oakville and Hamilton.”
On the first day of operation, the rides were free and the coaches were big enough to hold 125 people; however, there were only seats for 94.
It was also noted in the blog post that in its first year, the GO service consisted of 32 coaches, eight GP 40 TC locomotives and eight cab cars.
“On the outside, the locomotive engine actually had blue paint with the iconic green logo,” reads the blog post. “The coach cars were silver and had large windows, comfortable bucket seating, armrests and even card tables.”
And as a result of the success, the GO train started to expand and evolve in the 70s.
“On March 13, 1978, GO introduced its first bi-level trains,” notes the blog post “The seating capacity went up to 162 passengers. That’s 70 per cent more seating than the previous single-level cars at the time.”
By the time the 80s rolled around, GO Transit was a well-oiled machine. And in 1982, the transit agency celebrated its 15th anniversary – it was at this time when computer-controlled locomotives (F59 PH’s) were first introduced.
The 80s also marked the launch of more service lines.
“The 80s also saw GO Train expansion continue with the launch of the Milton, Bradford and Stouffville lines,” reads the blog post. “They replaced the VIA Rail passenger service which was previously running on those lines.”
The Milton line officially launched on Oct. 25, 1981.
Once the 90s hit, ridership lowered a bit as a result of the recession; however, GO continued to expand. In 1990, according to the GO Transit website, GO extended rush hour train service to Barrie, Guelph, Oshawa, and Acton. During the same year, off-peak train service was introduced to the Milton line.
In 1995, the Oakville, Milton, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Old Cummer, Stouffville, Unionville, Pickering, Oshawa, and Union GO stations became wheelchair accessible.
Fast forwarding a few years, in 2004 GO introduced new automated ticket vending machines. With this machine, riders could use credit, coins, or debit to buy one-way tickets and same-day-return fares.
A few years later, GO Transit merged with Metrolinx.
“On May 14, 2009, GO Transit merged with Metrolinx after the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Transit Implementation Act was approved,” notes the GO Transit website. That same year, GO Transit also implemented the PRESTO payment system.
In 2013, GO announced its biggest expansion in 46 years – 30-minute all-day service would be coming to the Lakeshore lines. This was followed by even more expansions.
The GO Transit website notes that, “On June 6, 2015, Metrolinx launched the Union Pearson (UP) Express.”
The website continues to explain, “It was North America’s first dedicated express rail train, providing regular service between Union Station and Toronto Pearson Airport in just 25 minutes, with trains departing every 15 minutes, 19.5 hours a day.”
So, what will this popular means of transportation look like in the future?
According to the GO Transit website, Metrolinx is investing in the increasing GO train network in order to support 6,000 trips per week by 2025 – as of 2017, there were a recorded 1,709 trips per week.
Some other future plans include new stations and new tracks.
Click here for more information regarding the history of the GO Train.
Photos are courtesy of Metrolinx.