Toronto’s GO Transit to buy local CN line

The Toronto-area commuter rail agency GO Transit will pay $160 million to buy Canadian National Railway’s (CN) Weston subdivision for expansion of GO service northwest of Toronto.

The line runs from near Strachan Avenue and Wellington Street West in downtown Toronto, northwest through the city to CN’s main east-west freight line near the intersection of Steeles Avenue and Bramalea Road.

GO now runs its Georgetown commuter rail service over the line, which also handles VIA Rail traffic between Toronto, Kitchener and other points in southwestern Ontario.

In total, GO and VIA Rail run 46 trains per day over the line, while CN operates three daily local freight trains along that corridor, GO and CN said in a release Wednesday.

Under its agreement with GO Transit, CN will still serve its freight customers on the Weston Subdivision. VIA will also continue to operate trains on the line.

But by owning the Georgetown corridor, GO is “better positioned” to add
more service, build new infrastructure and expand its operations along that
line, in keeping with its “GO 2020” strategic plan.

In their release, CN described GO as a “valuable CN customer,” as the “vast majority” of its services in the GTA operate over CN’s rail network.

“We believe this transaction and our continuing partnership with GO will help to advance commuter rail and its clear environmental benefits to the Toronto region,” CN CFO Claude Mongeau said in the release.

“At the same time, our line sale — reflecting CN’s tight focus on asset management — will also generate value for the company.”

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