Hamilton Gets LRT

From our friend in Ottawa, Mr. Haveacow.

Well its official, at a press conference at McMaster University, Hamilton will get a roughly 11km 14 stop LRT line from McMaster University in west .Hamilton to the Queenston Traffic Circle in east Hamilton. There will also be a 1 km short spur line north up James Street to the new West Harbor GO Train Station, which opens in a few weeks. Allowance will also be made to build a high capacity pedestrian access route south 2.5 blocks to the existing Hamilton GO Centre Train and Bus Station (the stunningly gorgeous Art Deco former TH&B/CPR/NYC Hunter Street Railway Station). This is a shorter version of the LRT line known locally as the ai???B Lineai??? Originally the LRT line would have traveled a further 2.5-3km east, including 3 more stops to the Eastgate Square Mall. The project as approved allows for up to $1 Billion in funding for the LRT line and should start procurement in 2017 and construction in 2019. The original expected cost back in 2007 was $811 Million from McMaster University to Eastgate Square but due to all the time since and the needed connection to the new West Harbor GO Station the costs have obviously gone up. The Lakeshore West GO Train line that will end at the new West Harbor Go Train Station will also be extended to the long planned and much anticipated Centennial Parkway GO Station in Stoney Creek (now part of the new larger City of Hamilton). Construction is planned to start on the station in 2017. The GO train line should be open in 2019 and the LRT line around 2022? The line will be extended east to Eastgate Square Mall after 2022!


The line will be very much like Waterlooai??i??s LRT Line in that, it is an all at street level system and will start with single LRV consists and street level 60 metre station platforms. The system will purchase 17-20 LRVai??i??s probably Bombardier Flexityai??i??s to save on costs. It is expected to run at a peak frequency of 3-4 minutes. However, according to all the officials at the press conference there is still a little more detail work to do but, it seems itai??i??s a done deal!


Here is the map of the original project and some other graphics, mostly from the Hamilton LRT website. This site and its creator, Ryan McGreal has been the big overall organizer of Hamiltonai??i??s citizen LRT effort. He and many others have been banging away longer than you have at this Zwei but, they finally got the job done! You think Vancouverai??i??s PTBai??i??s were anti LRT wow, you should see the forces allied against Ryanai??i??s group however, little by little more and people got involved and little by little more people were convinced that LRT would work in Hamilton.

It should be noted that, Hamiltonai??i??s LRT is not just about better transit access but to increase the development in the core of downtown Hamilton. They have had a tough time switching from steel making (they still have 1 plant running) to a knowledge based economy, the LRT line is seen as a great anchor in attracting the young talent that Hamilton needs. To say that, Hamilton has had a seriously acrimonious debate about transit technology (LRT vs. BRT mostly) and or whether they need it at all, is well, understating the point! It has made your LRT vs. Skytrain debate seem gentle in comparison. Real threats, fist fights at public meetings, nasty city hall debates and vicious election campaigns that are right out of 1930ai??i??s Chicago, were the norm in Hamilton when transit topics came up in public. But that seems for now to be in the past, maybe.


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