One question though while It’s on my mind; what are the limitations to hourly service to Kitchener right now? Obviously it’s trackage rights/ownership, but are there expansion plans to add trips along the route? I see talk of areas near Guelph, Action and Georgetown, but hardly Kitchener, which imo is the big-ticket ridership node. My impression is that the service being run right now is the maximum they physically can, which tells me the infrastructure is fairly lacking atm. Just curious how this is going to change.
The rule of thumb for hourly service is : Trains running hourly in both directions will need to pass each other every half hour.
As of today, there is effectively nowhere for trains to meet west of Bramalea.
So, basically - when a GO train departs westbound from Bramalea, it has to go all the way to Kitchener and then come all the way back before the following GO train can head west from Bramalea.
By timetable it's 1 hour 12 minutes from Bramalea to Kitchener. So, at bare minimum, and allowing even a small margin for turnback at Kitchener, in theory the best that Ml can do is run on headways of about 2.5 hours. That is only possible outside of peak hours - the peak service removes any possibility for that spacing during rush hours.
Things will change for the better once the sidings at Breslau and Guelph (which are being worked on already) are added. A siding at Acton is planned but still under procurement. That will allow some single counter-peak trains, but it will not get GO to hourly in both directions. It seems that a passing track may be added at Bramalea proper, which shortens the spacing between meeting points a bit.
Georgetown to Bramalea is 22 minutes by current timetable. Guelph to Georgetown is 28 minutes. In theory, if we had passing tracks at just the Guelph Georgetown and Bramalea platforms, we would have enough passing capacity for hourly service, with GO using only the same one track from Bramalea to Mount Pleasant as at present, and adding a "jog" on CN from Mount Pleasant to Georgetown. That added "jog" includes crossing their line from north to south or vv every hour each way. It's unlikely CN would allow that, although once there is firm commitment to build a flyover they might allow some added trains in the meanwhile while the flyover is under construction.
I seem to remember Phil Verster claiming that he was engaged virtually full time in negotiating with CN, and that clear path to an agreement seemed to have emerged once the "Missing Link" proposal was abandoned. That was in what..... 2017? I really wonder why an agreement with CN isn't in the bag already. And actually, I would be happier if ML would move immediately to add the fourth track through Brampton to the plans, rather than deferring it to a later date. Just do it and get it over with.