In the late 1990’s, the City of Hamilton was actively working with transportation organisations, such as GO Transit and VIA Rail to achieve better all-round passenger service and promote increased public transportation use.
Services provided by GO Transit included three morning trains, four evening trains, and regular buses throughout the day.
The City requested the addition of a fourth morning train to improve commuter needs to employment areas in the Greater Toronto Area.
GO train service in the morning was limited to three trains due to physical limits to overall railway operating capacity at the Hunter Street tunnel. The trains were shuttled in from Etobicoke prior to start of morning service, and shuttled out again at the completion of evening service.
The shuttling process not only limited the number of morning trains, but also limited the reliability of service, and increased the cost of operations.
A layover facility was identified as the desired solution to these three problems. GO Transit retained the services of Ausenco to undertake the environmental assessment for a layover facility and to prepare the E.S.R. for public record for review.
The E.S.R. detailed the planning and design phases of the process leading to the construction of the layover facility, including discussion of the project approach, the purpose of the undertaking, the natural and social environmental conditions in the study area, the public consultation process, the planning alternatives and the determination of the preferred alternative.
A study team was assembled to consult with C.P.R., the City, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, other external agencies and the public for their concerns, requirements and input in the planning process for the study.
Six sites were identified as potential locations for a layover facility with the Hamilton GO Centre as the most appropriate and preferred location.