Doug Ford, the Province of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Premier, has axed Hamilton’s DBFOM (design, build, finance, operate, maintain) B-Line light rail project, only months after he said publicly that the system was a go, and included in the Province’s budget.
Hamilton Street Railway
Canada’s Province of Ontario government on March 28 agreed to release funding to complete property acquisitions for Hamilton’s planned light rail transit system, following a freeze implemented in 2018. The halt to property acquisitions had been made, allegedly, as part of Ontario’s efforts to reduce a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit.
Design and planning work continues on Hamilton’s 10-mile (14-kilometer) LRT line, despite ongoing political uncertainty over the project’s future. Meanwhile, the planned and approved expansion of GO Train service to Grimsby, St. Catherines and Niagara Falls has experienced a recent potential setback. And on Oct. 30, the author, representing Railway Age, visited the Bombardier Transportation rail division plant at Millhaven, Ontario, located a short distance west of Kingston.
Two light rail new-starts in Canada’s Ontario province appear to be on diverging paths. Hamilton’s is at the RFP stage, while Kitchener-Waterloo’s opening has been delayed, again.
Doug Ford, the newly-elected leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party and brother of the late, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, has publicly promised to honor the $1 billion commitment of the current Liberal government to the Hamilton LRT project, should he become Premier in June 2018.
The Hamilton, Ontario LRT situation took another bizarre twist recently with Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, agreeing very reluctantly to City Council’s request to have the local municipally owned transit agency, the Hamilton Street Railway, operate the LRT. The crosstown line project was scheduled to begin construction in 2019, and open by 2024.
Two of Ontario, Canada’s numerous light rail transit projects—the Kitchener-Waterloo ION and Hamilton Street Railway B Line—have been facing difficulties, albeit of a different nature. The former is still without functional LRVs; the latter is looking at potentially conflicting operating proposals.
Hamilton, Ontario’s approved LRT line will be extended an additional 1.9 miles to its original eastern terminal, Eastgate Square, an east Hamilton shopping mall. The crosstown line will now total 8.7 miles.
The basic design work for Hamilton, Ontario’s LRT system has been finalized, including the selection of a site for the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF). The eight-mile (13–km) line is being financed at an estimate C$1 billion cost by Metrolinx, the provincial agency that oversees Ontario rail transit activity.
The City of Hamilton, Ontario is close to signing an agreement with Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, for the building of the city’s first LRT line. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, with opening by about 2024. Funding approval by the province of up to C$1 billion (Canadian) was announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne in May 2015.