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Canadian Railroads > (Not) riding suddenly cancelled GO Niagara Falls service

Date: 11/02/19 16:38
(Not) riding suddenly cancelled GO Niagara Falls service
Author: inCHI

Updating this yet again, as it has been explained that this wasn't the first weekend of all-year NF service, it was just the weekend when new timetables come out.

I rode it this morning to Niagara Falls with my partner, and spent the day there. We got to the Go/Via station at 7pm for the 7:20pm return trip, only to find the status board said "cancelled". No announcement was being made, no GO representative was around explaining the cancellation.

All there was at first was a regular local bus, whose driver said what he knew, that a replacement bus was coming. So people that piled onto his local bus piled off, then a massive group crowded around the replacent bus that arrived at 7:20. It quickly filled to the brim, and my partner and I were among those left in standing room only on the lower level for the hour long trip to the train in Burlington. That driver talked to the dispatcher about the standing room only, and she replied that anyone that didn't fit could wait (50 minutes) for the next regular bus at 8:12pm. Some answer!

Also, during all this I called in to ask what was going on, and they said the replacement bus was coming. I asked why the train was cancelled, and they said something so meaningless that I can't even remember it - let's say it was "couldn't be run."

Looking at twitter, they say "emergency track repairs cancelled it" and claim that our cancelled train started at St. Catherine's and will meet us at Burlington. We'll see, since I didn't hear that from the driver, dispatcher, or phone agent, just twitter. Update: our train started at St. Catherines. We got to Burlington and went into the waiting room. Our truncated train was scheduled 6 minutes later than the regular local, but the local ran late an our train ran early, causing it to arrive before the local at the station. No announcements were made about what train to get on, or the situation! Because of the silence, I went to ask the station agent to confirm our train was running, and while I was doing that, it pulled in, then as we scrambled to get it a belated announcement was finally made.

I've attached the one mediocre photo I have of some of the CN track I saw along the way. There was a stretch of several hundred metres that was fully submerged in red mud, more severely than I've ever seen a main line track before. In that location it was the second main track or a siding, but it makes me wonder what the main track was like.

Also, the only reason I am riding GO is because Via canceled my Maple Leaf tickets after the Whirlpool bridge work was extended a week past it's announced completion. They sent me an email notifying me of that, saying it would be replaced with a bus. Then I reached out to a representative to request a cancellation. Then the representative said that service would be intact, to which I replied "Via told me this." I double checked Amtrak's service alerts, and they showed the new Nov. 8th deadline, so I messaged Via back with that as proof and they agreed. Huh!?!?

Photos -
A blurry photo at speed of one of several segments of track that looked like this.

Riding the replacement go bus, standing for an hour. In this photo we passed a car fire in the opposing lanes.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 11/03/19 06:03 by inCHI.

Date: 11/02/19 20:39
Re: 1st day of new GO all-year Niagara Falls service - partly can
Author: jp1822

VIA funds the "Amtrak based" Maple Leaf to operate between Niagara Falls and Toronto. 

Was it really jusified to cancel VIA's second frequency from Niagara Falls to Toronto? It's nice that GO Transit picked up the slack - finally with year-round service to/from Niagara Falls, but I still quetion VIA's initial pull-back........

Sorry to hear of your bad experience on "first day" of new GO Transit Service. 

Date: 11/03/19 04:07
Re: 1st day of new GO all-year Niagara Falls service - partly can
Author: ghCBNS

jp1822 Wrote:
> Was it really jusified to cancel VIA's second
> frequency from Niagara Falls to Toronto?

After GO began the nearly hourly bus service between Niagara Falls and Burlington....VIA still continued to run the local Niagara Falls -Toronto trains. Sure there were some that liked the one-seat ride but for most....VIA couldn't compete with the more frequent and cheaper bus option even if it required the transfer to train in Burlington and that second VIA frequency came off in 2012 leaving only the Maple Leaf.

It was the passengers that abandoned VIA here.....not the other way around!

Now besides the hourly bus to train transfer in Burlington....GO continues to add through trains between Toronto and Niagara Falls....and more to come.


Perhaps the Maple Leaf should be halted at the border and passengers just transfer to a GO train. Bring GO into the new NF NY station and have US CBP and Canada’s CBSA work side by side like they do in Vancouver. With some tweaking of schedules, you might be able to offer a couple of frequencies a day between Toronto and NYP.


And concerning those track repairs required. Didn’t the area get some severe weather? Just look across the lake to what happened in the Utica NY area!

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 11/03/19 06:07 by ghCBNS.

Date: 11/03/19 04:36
Re: 1st day of new GO all-year Niagara Falls service - partly can
Author: DrawingroomA

inCHI Wrote:
> Headline field is too short for the exact
> description, should be - One of Saturdays trips on
> the first weekend of all-year Niagara Falls
> service is cancelled due to urgent repairs.
> Correct me if I'm wrong, but today was the first
> day that GO added year round weekend rail service
> to Niagara Falls. The timetable was effective
> today, Nov. 2nd.

GO issued new timetables for all train routes - and maybe bus routes - effective Nov. 2nd, even if there were no changes from the previous edition. The year-round train service to Niagara Falls started the week-end after Labour Day. Until this year the "seasonal train service" (as it was called)  ceased after Labour Day, resumed for the Thanksgiving week-end, then resumed the following year near the end of June.

GO didn't handle this situation well. I subscribe to GO alerts and received an e-mail saying the 19:20 train would start in St. Catharines and N.F. passengers would take a bus to Burlington. Perhaps there was a logistical reason why passengers couldn't be bussed to St. Catharines instead of Burlington.

I will add that a further e-mail from GO advised that the 23:00 train did depart Niagara Falls but was delayed by Welland Canal boat traffic.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/03/19 05:02 by DrawingroomA.

Date: 11/03/19 04:50
Re: 1st day of new GO all-year Niagara Falls service - partly can
Author: DrawingroomA

ghCBNS Wrote:
> It was the passengers that abandoned VIA.....not
> the other way around!
That second Toronto - Niagara Falls train was essentially a commuter train. It carried a lot of passengers, normally three well-filled coaches although, not surpsingly, there weren't too many on board between St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. Once it was known this train was going to be discontinued, the commuters made other arrangements and by the last week of service the passenger loads dropped. The week-end train from N.F. to Toronto departed at 14:15 instead of the early hour on weekdays. I was on the 14:15 Toronto-bound train on its last run. Only two coaches of four were in service but they were full.

This train was cut as part of the 2012 reduction in VIA's operating budget. This was unexpected because the Conservative government under prime minister Harper had been fairly kind to VIA with infrastructure funds - stimulus money as it was often called - due to the severe recession of 2008- 2009.

This train's elimination coincided with the reduction of the Ocean from six to three times a week, the Canadian reduced to twice a week for most of the year and the closure of many stations and the removal of staff from other stations, such as Cornwall, Guildwood, Aldershot, Woodstock, Chatham, Niagara Falls and others.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/03/19 04:53 by DrawingroomA.

Date: 11/03/19 05:58
Re: 1st day of new GO all-year Niagara Falls service - partly can
Author: inCHI

Thanks for all the additional insight about the service as it is and as it has been.

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