Barrie line

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GO Transit logo.svg GO Barrie logo.svg
Car 2029 at Barrie South Platform.jpg
BiLevel car at Barrie South
Type Commuter rail
System GO Train
Locale Greater Toronto Area
Daily ridership 17,000 (2014)[1]
Website Table 65
Opened September 7, 1982
Owner Metrolinx
Operator(s) GO Transit
Line length 63.0 miles (101.4 km)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Operating speed 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) [2]
Route map
101.4 km Allandale (Barrie)
Barrie Yard
95.0 km Barrie South Toilets unisex.svg
66.4 km Bradford Toilets unisex.svg
Holland River
57.4 km East Gwillimbury Toilets unisex.svg
55.0 km Newmarket Toilets unisex.svg
48.1 km Aurora Toilets unisex.svg
36.5 km King City Toilets unisex.svg
29.5 km Maple Toilets unisex.svg
26.8 km Rutherford Toilets unisex.svg
Highway 407 (Ontario)Highway 407
20.8 km Snider Junction CNR
19.8 km York University
Highway 401 (Ontario)Highway 401
Davenport Diamond CPR
GO Transit logo.svg Milton line GO logo.png Parkdale Jct. Milton line
GO Transit logo.svg GO Kitchener logo.svg Kitchener line
GO Transit logo.svg GO Lakeshore West logo.svg Lakeshore West line
North Bathurst Yard
0.0 km Union Toilets unisex.svg VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg BSicon SUBWAY.svgBSicon CLRV.svgBSicon BUS1.svg Union
GO Transit logo.svg GO Lakeshore East logo.svg Lakeshore East line
GO Transit logo.svg Richmond Hill line GO logo.png Richmond Hill line
GO Transit logo.svg GO Stouffville logo.svg Stouffville line

Barrie is one of the seven train lines of the GO Transit system in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada. It extends from Union Station in Toronto in a generally northward direction to Barrie, and includes ten stations along its 63 miles (101.4 km) route.[2] From 1982 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 2007, it was known as the Bradford line, as that community constituted the line's terminus during those periods.

The Barrie Line is the oldest railway in Ontario, with passenger service beginning in 1853.[3]


In 1852, construction began on the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railway, which would run from Toronto to Collingwood.[4] The line opened on May 16, 1853, when passenger train service began operating between Toronto and Aurora (then Machell's Corners).[3] On October 11, 1853, service was extended to Allandale, then opposite Barrie on the south shore of Kempenfeldt Bay.[5]

In 1888, the Grand Trunk Railway took over operation of the line.[3] In 1923, the Canadian National Railway (CNR) inherited the bankrupt Grand Trunk Railway.

Commuter service planning

In 1968, MPP William Hodgson introduced a private member's bill to move that the government of Ontario establish GO Transit services north of Metro Toronto.[6] That year, a community group known as the GO North Committee distributed "GO North" stickers for motorists to adhere to their automobile's windshield to advocate for GO Transit commuter rail service north of Toronto.[7]

Planning for commuter services resulted in the establishment of the Newmarket Bus Terminal by 1970, from which commuters would be taken to the Richmond Hill GO Station to commute to Toronto.[8]

John Crawford Medcof, operating a company named Railroad Boosters, rented a train for one-day service between Barrie and Toronto on 16 October 1969,[9][10] earning a profit.[11] He gave the proceeds to the government of Ontario to support a north GO train service promised by John Robarts in late 1969, but asked for the government to return the money when the provincial government announced it would not establish a Richmond Hill line service in 1970.[12][10] He applied for a grant of CA$97,200 from the federal government to operate a commuter train for twelve weeks, with one train leaving Barrie in the morning for Toronto, and a return trip at night.[11] The grant was approved per the government's local initiatives program in December 1971.[11] The train was operated by Canadian National Railways, and charged the same fares as those for the GO Transit bus service.[11] Another trial commuter service from Barrie to Toronto was operated in late 1972, carrying 13,483 passengers.[13]

In 1973, the Canadian Transport Commission held a public hearing at Georgian College[13] during which its three-member committee heard presentations from Medcof and councillors from all "municipalities between Toronto and Barrie".[14] All presentations favoured the creation of commuter train service between the two cities, including that of York—Simcoe MP Sinclair Stevens.[14]

On April 1, 1972, CN introduced commuter service from Barrie to Toronto, as required by the Canadian Transport Commission. The service was transferred to Via Rail in 1978.[15] As a result of federal government financial cutbacks to Via Rail, the service was transferred to the provincial government and integrated into the GO Transit network on September 7, 1982, but service only extended to Bradford.[15] On September 17, 1990, the line was extended to Barrie, but was again cut back to Bradford on July 5, 1993.

Service expansion

On September 8, 1998, GO Transit added a second daily round trip to the line. In the early 2000s, GO Transit opened four new stations on the line: Rutherford on January 7, 2001;[15] York University on September 6, 2002;[16] and East Gwillimbury on November 1, 2004.[17] On December 17, 2007, GO Train service was restored to Barrie after fourteen years with the opening of the Barrie South station.

In 2006, the number of daily trains on the line was expanded to four in each direction.[18] The change also affected connecting bus lines with links to the train line, such as the GO bus service from Barrie and Keswick.

In 2006, GO Transit built a bridge at the Snider diamond,[19] which is the junction between the Barrie Line and Canadian National's primary east-west freight line, the York Subdivision. Since CN controlled both corridors, the passage of passenger trains over the diamond was often delayed by freight trains passing through the intersection. Constructing the bridge and associated trackage resulted in a grade separation of the two lines, eliminating such delays. Construction of the bridge began in February 2006, and the bridge was opened on December 2006. The entire project was completed on June 2007.[20]

On December 17, 2007, the Bradford Line was extended to the new Barrie South GO Station and was renamed the "Barrie Line".[21] Construction had begun on February 2, 2007 to construct the new Barrie South station, a new layover facility and new tracks, signals and crossings along the existing 20 kilometres (12 mi) railway corridor. The project cost $25 million, funded by two thirds by the federal and provincial governments, and one third by the City of Barrie.[22]

On December 15, 2009, Metrolinx purchased the lower part of the Newmarket subdivision in central-north Toronto from CN for $68 million. The Barrie line trackage, from Union Station to Barrie, is now fully owned by Metrolinx. As part of the agreement, the Canadian National Railway continues to serve five freight customers located on the Newmarket subdivision between Highway 401 and the CN York Subdivision.

On January 30, 2012, the Barrie line was extended north to the newly constructed Allandale Waterfront GO Station.[23]

In the summer of 2012, a pilot train service was introduced on weekends and holidays between June and September.[24] Two trains in each direction completed the entire route, while an additional four trains ran between Union Station and East Gwillimbury GO station.[25] The summer service cost CA$520,000 to operate, including train crews, safety and enforcement, station staffing and fuel.[26] Bidirectional weekend service was offered again in summer 2013, with four trains in each direction covering the entire route from Toronto to Barrie, making all stops and having a bus connection at Rutherford GO Station for non-stop service to Canada's Wonderland.[26][27] It cost CA$400,000 to operate.[26] For the 2014 summer service, the non-stop buses to Canada's Wonderland were discontinued, requiring those passengers to transfer instead to York Region Transit local bus service at Maple station.[28]

In April 2015, the government of Ontario announced that as part of a broad GO Transit expansion project, service on the Barrie line would increase from 7 daily train trips to over 20 daily train trips by 2020.[29][lower-alpha 1] The service expansion will also add 12 weekend trains in each direction by 2017, and 10 off-peak weekday trips in each direction by 2018.[29] The railway electrification system is expected to be completed by 2024 from Union Station in Toronto to Aurora.[29]


The Aurora station building is a federally designated heritage site

There are ten stations on the Barrie line, excluding the terminus at Union Station in Toronto.

In addition to Union Station, four station buildings along the Barrie Line are federally protected by the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act. At Allandale Waterfront and Newmarket stations, historic station buildings remain but are used for other purposes, while at Aurora and Maple stations, the historic stations buildings continue to be in use.[30]

Station Opened Parking spots Notes
Allandale Waterfront January 28, 2012 120 Federally designated heritage railway station
Barrie South December 17, 2007 628
Bradford September 7, 1982 93
East Gwillimbury November 1, 2004 637
Newmarket September 7, 1982 265 Federally designated heritage railway station
Aurora September 7, 1982 1,725 Federally designated heritage railway station
King City September 7, 1982 375
Maple September 7, 1982 1,146 Federally designated heritage railway station
Rutherford January 7, 2001 983
York University September 6, 2002 0 To be closed upon opening of Downsview Park station
Downsview Park Est. 2018 Connection to TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Yonge-University line
Caledonia Est. 2020 Connection to TTC - Line 5.svg Eglinton Crosstown line
Union September 7, 1982 0


The Barrie line has weekday service consisting of five trains southbound from Barrie and two trains southbound from Maple in the morning, and seven trains northbound to Barrie from Union Station in the afternoon. Because of this, two trains have to travel southbound to Maple from Barrie during the early hours of the morning.

During summer months, weekend and holiday service is provided in both directions throughout the day. As of 2014, the service consists of four trains in each direction between Barrie and Union Station.

The maximum speed on the line is 128 kilometres per hour (80 mph), between Bradford and Barrie South.[2] Trains are limited to 24 kilometres per hour (15 mph) in some parts, but can sustain speeds of at least 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) over most of the line.[2]


The Barrie line makes connections with:


Capacity expansion

Second track under construction in 2015 between Rutherford and York University stations

The government of Ontario announced funding to Metrolinx for network expansion on December 13, 2007, which included $20 million to build a second track between Union Station and Bradford to enable all-day two-way service.[31] This is expected to consist of peak service between Bradford GO Station and Union Station every 15–20 minutes, with some trains continuing to Barrie; and off-peak service between Bradford GO Station and Union Station of every 30 minutes, with bus connections to Barrie.[32]

Downsview Park Station

As part of the Yonge–University–Spadina line subway extension, a new GO station will be built to interchange with the Downsview Park subway station.[33] It will be located at the 17.1 kilometres (10.6 mi) track marker.[34] The York University station will be abandoned when the new station opens, which is expected to be in 2016.[35]

Concord Station

To provide an interchange with Viva, a bus rapid transit service in York Region, a new station will be built at York Regional Road 7. The station is to be called Concord Station, after the Concord neighborhood in which it will be located.[36] The city of Vaughan has integrated the station into its design plans for a mixed use development near the intersection of Highway 407 and the rail corridor. Both the municipal government of Vaughan and the regional government of York have identified this location as a potential site for the station, which requires GO Transit to perform an environmental assessment.[37] In January 2013, Vaughan municipal clerk sent a Vaughan City Council resolution to York Regional Council requesting Metrolinx consideration for four priority projects, among them all-day two-way service on the Barrie line, creation of the Concord GO Station, and creation of a Kirby Road GO Station.[38]

Caledonia Station

The design for Caledonia Station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT includes provisions for a connection to the Barrie Line, including a pedestrian bridge above the Barrie line and provisions for elevator access to future GO platforms.[39] Metrolinx announced that an environmental assessment for the station would begin in the summer of 2015.[40]

Innisfil GO Station

A station in Innisfil is considered[by whom?] for a future expansion, to be located at approximately mile marker 52.00 miles (83.69 km), but there are no plans for this station yet.[41]

Davenport Diamond grade separation

The Davenport Diamond is an at grade rail-to-rail crossing of the GO Barrie line and east-west CP Rail North Toronto subdivision tracks near Davenport Road in Toronto. In order to increase service frequency on the Barrie Line GO has identified the need to remove the diamond and build a grade separated crossing. In 2015 Metrolinx initiated a Transit Project Assessment Process (an environmental assessment process specific to transit projects) based on the preferred option of construction an overpass to carry the GO line over the east-west CP Rail line. This process anticipates a start of construction in 2017.[42][43]


In 2012, the Barrie line served about 7,500 passengers a day,[44] or approximately 2 million per year. By 2008, the annual number of riders on the Barrie line was almost 3.1 million, an increase of 18% from 2007 and 167% from 2001.[45] About 2,300 of the 3,000 daily peak passengers to Union Station boarded at Aurora (about 1,000), Rutherford (about 800), and Newmarket (about 500) that year.[46]

The weekend summer service had 105 daily riders in 2012 (32,000 total for six trains per day), and 220 daily riders in 2013 (41,000 total for four trains per day).[47]


  1. As of April 2015, there are seven daily southbound weekday morning trains on the Barrie line, and seven daily northbound weekday evening trains.
  1. "Regional Express Rail" (PDF). Metrolinx. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Metrolinx 2010, p. 57.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Town of Aurora.
  4. Milland 2009.
  5. Smith.
  6. "Introduces GO in legislature". The Era. 25 September 1968. Retrieved 29 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Lade, Marg (25 September 1968). "Go is topic at King meet". The Era. Retrieved 29 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. The Era 1969, p. 1.
  9. Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees 1973.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Era June 1970, p. 29.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Ottawa Citizen 1971, p. 21.
  12. The Era 1970, p. 2.
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Era 1973, p. 2a.
  14. 14.0 14.1 The Era 1973, p. 5.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Garcia Bow.
  16. Ministry of Transportation 2002.
  17. Canada Newswire 2004.
  18. GO Transit 2005.
  19. GO Transit 2006.
  20. GO Transit 2007.
  21. GO Transit: New stations.
  22. City of Barrie 2007.
  23. Mackenzie 2012.
  24. GO Transit: Seasonal service 2012.
  25. GO Transit 2012.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Burton 2013.
  27. GO Transit: Barrie Seasonal Service 2013.
  28. GO Transit 2014.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Kalinowski 2015.
  30. Parks Canada.
  31. Gray 2007.
  32. GO Transit.
  33. Toronto Transit Commission 2010.
  34. Metrolinx 2010, p. 157.
  35. Metrolinx 2010.
  36. City of Vaughan 2013, p. 15.
  37. City of Vaughan 2013, p. 16.
  38. Kelly 2014, p. 2.
  39. Metrolinx 2013.
  40. Metrolinx 2015.
  41. Metrolinx 2010, p. 167.
  42. "DAVENPORT COMMUNITY RAIL OVERPASS - Environmental Assessment Public Meeting #1" (PDF). Metrolinx. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. "Davenport Community Rail Overpass Public Meeting #1" (PDF). Metrolinx. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. McInroy 2012.
  45. Metrolinx 2010, p. 41.
  46. Metrolinx 2010, p. 44.
  47. Bruton 2013.


External links