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Here's a schematic diagram of the track arrangement shown in the Metrolinx submission. For context, I have also included the planned track configurations east and west of the USRC, as well as the 11-track pinch point at John Street.
View attachment 457974
To get a rough idea of what the typical use of each platform might be, I did a simple connect-the-dots exercise to fill in the unknown sections. Please note that I gave very little thought to these conceptual layouts, they are really just intended to give a ballpark idea of where tracks end up.

Here's a version with the existing flyunder.
View attachment 457984
Track 1: Barrie
Track 2: Barrie / Richmond Hill
Track 3: Stouffville/Kitchener Local westbound
Track 4: UP Express
Track 5: Stouffville/Kitchener Local eastbound
Track 6: Milton
Track 7: Kitchener Express / VIA Sarnia
Track 8: Kitchener Express
Track 9: Lakeshore Local westbound
Track 10: Lakeshore East/West Express
Track 11: VIA Ottawa/Montréal
Track 12: Lakeshore West Express
Track 13: VIA Windsor/Ottawa/Montréal
Track 14: Lakeshore Local eastbound

Here's a version where the flyunder is removed:
View attachment 457975

Track 1: Barrie
Track 2: Barrie / Richmond Hill
Track 3: Kitchener Express
Track 4: UP Express
Track 5: Kitchener Express / VIA Sarnia
Track 6: Stouffville/Kitchener Local westbound
Track 7: Stouffville/Kitchener Local eastbound
Track 8: Milton
Track 9: Lakeshore Local westbound
Track 10: Lakeshore East/West Express
Track 11: VIA Ottawa/Montréal
Track 12: Lakeshore West Express
Track 13: VIA Windsor/Ottawa/Montréal
Track 14: Lakeshore Local eastbound

I'm pretty sure that track 4 is for the UP Express given how small it is, and this version places it on the north pair of tracks in the Kitchener corridor, which doesn't make sense since it splits off toward the south at Wice (Pearson Junction). Based on that, my guess is that they are planning to keep the flyunder in the USRC.
I'm having trouble seeing how VIA HFR/HSR would fit here. Presumably it's using the Richmond or Stouffville tracks, but there are no dead-end tracks for any of those. A VIA train doing a layover is going to block a through-running track, which will happen reasonably often given the whole "high frequency" part of the plan.
 
If it were up to me and cost were no object, here's how I'd connect the proposed platform layout to the incoming rail lines. The main concept here is that Lakeshore/Kitchener/Stouffville local services have dedicated tracks through the corridor (shown in red) separate from their respective express/regional/intercity services. This involves demolishing the current flyunder west of Union and building a new one to bring eastbound Kitchener local trains to the south side of the corridor.

There's a good chance that the illustrated grade separation wouldn't fit between Strachan Ave and Spadina/Front station, in which case the Kitchener local would need to skip that station.
USRC-2022-fantasy.PNG

Platforms shown in grey are used for unloading only

Track 1: Barrie / Richmond Hill
Track 2: Barrie / Richmond Hill
Track 3: Kitchener/Stouffville local westbound
Track 4: UP Express
Track 5: Kitchener Express
Track 6: Kitchener Express / VIA Sarnia
Track 7: Milton
Track 8: Milton
Track 9: Lakeshore local westbound
Track 10: Lakeshore express westbound / VIA Windsor
Track 11: VIA Ottawa/Montréal
Track 12: Lakeshore West express
Track 13: Lakeshore express eastbound / VIA Ottawa/Montréal
Track 14: Lakeshore/Kitchener/Stouffville local eastbound

KingstonSub-ScarboroJctGS.PNG


The main problem with the above configuration is that putting the local trains on the outside of the Kitchener corridor makes them difficult to turn back at Bramalea, since they need to cross all the express trains. And since it requires two platforms at Liberty Village, the Milton line need to get reduced to single track there.
WestonSub-fantasy.PNG
 
Even with the track and platform changes, it seems that the idea of diverting some GO traffic to a tunnel may have to be resurrected. The two options were, I think a through tunnel probably for Lakeshore and possibly something else, and a stub-end tunnel starting west of Spadina to about York for perhaps Kitchener and Barrie service.
 
I'm having trouble seeing how VIA HFR/HSR would fit here. Presumably it's using the Richmond or Stouffville tracks, but there are no dead-end tracks for any of those. A VIA train doing a layover is going to block a through-running track, which will happen reasonably often given the whole "high frequency" part of the plan.
VIA will definitely complicate things. I too am having trouble visualizing how they're going to fit into the whole thing.

For one, VIA's trains will not use the regular GO tracks/platforms. VIA's requirements are vastly different, and include trains laying over for more substantial periods of time in the station (an hour or more in some cases) between their runs as they get cleaned and restocked. There's no reason to believe that this will change going forward, as doing so will only trade one set of restrictions for another (no layovers at Union? Have to deal with the crossovers and tracks at Mimico.)

For another, a large proportion of VIA's trains do run through the station, both in service and as deadheads. This is in contrast to the future GO services, which will predominantly turn back at Union. GO will use all of the dead-end tracks, VIA will not.

And to be honest, the route that any future VIA service takes to get into the city is kind of irrelevant - there is no reason to think that they couldn't have continued to use the same 4(-ish) tracks that they use today. Except, of course, that the plans are to totally remake the entire layout of the station. If I had to guess, it almost looks like tracks 11 and 12 - the two at the very south end of the trainshed - would be left for VIA.

Dan
 
Even with the track and platform changes, it seems that the idea of diverting some GO traffic to a tunnel may have to be resurrected. The two options were, I think a through tunnel probably for Lakeshore and possibly something else, and a stub-end tunnel starting west of Spadina to about York for perhaps Kitchener and Barrie service.
I agree that in the long term we will probably need to divert some train traffic into a tunnel through downtown in order to maintain reliable service through the USRC, but I think that can be achieved much more cheaply and simply than those options. We already have a tunnel under construction - it's the Ontario Line. We can divert one or two of the local services into that tunnel by extending the OL along the Kitchener corridor to Pearson and/or Bramalea, and/or along the Lakeshore West line to Port Credit.

Conceptual Ontario Line extensions in dark blue.
Capture.JPG


In these corridors there would only be two tracks left over for the remaining GO services, but that's fine because they would all operate express through the shared segment and thus the pair of tracks would have a very high capacity.
 
I agree that in the long term we will probably need to divert some train traffic into a tunnel through downtown in order to maintain reliable service through the USRC, but I think that can be achieved much more cheaply and simply than those options. We already have a tunnel under construction - it's the Ontario Line. We can divert one or two of the local services into that tunnel by extending the OL along the Kitchener corridor to Pearson and/or Bramalea, and/or along the Lakeshore West line to Port Credit.

Conceptual Ontario Line extensions in dark blue.
View attachment 458494

In these corridors there would only be two tracks left over for the remaining GO services, but that's fine because they would all operate express through the shared segment and thus the pair of tracks would have a very high capacity.
Far better to let GO keep its corridors for GO RER service, and send future OL extensions on new routes closer to population centres. For example, instead of routing the OL on the LSW Line past Parklawn, you’d be better off running it elevated along the Queensway where growth is happening.
 
Far better to let GO keep its corridors for GO RER service, and send future OL extensions on new routes closer to population centres. For example, instead of routing the OL on the LSW Line past Parklawn, you’d be better off running it elevated along the Queensway where growth is happening.
I suppose that would be better, but it would also be billions of dollars more expensive given the need to acquire a ROW along the Queensway and the need to build some sort of solution for GO capacity through the USRC.

Assuming by "GO RER" you are referring to GO local service, what would the advantage of that be? The Ontario line would be able to serve more stations at a higher frequency with faster acceleration than GO trains, even after electrification. And the service frequency west of Port Credit would likely remain very high since the two remaining GO tracks would provide lots of capacity since the double-tracked segment lacks any intermediate stations. Port Credit will still have at least 3 tracks, and Exhibition will have 4.

For an example of the level of service you can operate with double track, you could look at my local line here in the Netherlands. Works are underway to quad-track all of the stations, but there will still be a double-tracked segment between Schiedam Centrum and Delft Campus. Currently there are 12 trains per hour per direction (local every 15 minutes, regional every 10 minutes, intercity every 30 minutes), but once construction is complete, service will increase to 14 trains per hour (local every 10 minutes, regional every 10 minutes and intercity every 30 minutes), with the potential to increase to as much as 20 trains per hour.

The question is whether the benefit of serving the Queensway would be worth the additional cost versus providing a subway line along the rail corridor which also intercepts all of the same north-south bus lines.
 
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I suppose that would be better, but it would also be billions of dollars more expensive given the need to acquire a ROW along the Queensway and the need to build some sort of solution for GO capacity through the USRC.

Assuming by "GO RER" you are referring to GO local service, what would the advantage of that be? The Ontario line would be able to serve more stations at a higher frequency with faster acceleration than GO trains, even after electrification. And the service frequency west of Port Credit would likely remain very high since the two remaining GO tracks would provide lots of capacity since the double-tracked segment lacks any intermediate stations. Port Credit will still have at least 3 tracks, and Exhibition will have 4.

For an example of the level of service you can operate with double track, you could look at my local line here in the Netherlands. Works are underway to quad-track all of the stations, but there will still be a double-tracked segment between Schiedam Centrum and Delft Campus. Currently there are 12 trains per hour per direction (local every 15 minutes, regional every 10 minutes, intercity every 30 minutes), but once construction is complete, service will increase to 14 trains per hour (local every 10 minutes, regional every 10 minutes and intercity every 30 minutes), with the potential to increase to as much as 20 trains per hour.

The question is whether the benefit of serving the Queensway would be worth the additional cost versus providing a subway line along the rail corridor which also intercepts all of the same north-south bus lines.
I‘m generally not a fan of eating one transit line’s infrastructure to enable another project at a lower cost. Having a local stopping pattern for GO RER/Expansion/whatever the government is calling the project today is important, especially considering regional travel patterns beyond just the 416.

There is a significant amount of density that will occur along the Queensway, and it should be directly served by transit, rather than forcing bussing connections to stations in low-density areas. I’d rather extend the OL properly and spend some extra money than shoehorn it into a single family home and protected industrial area to save on costs.

I don’t deny that your two track scheme is viable capacity-wise, I just think the Queensway needs rapid transit on it, not adjacent to it, and that there is value in local stops for GO. Heck, you could finally serve Sherway with the Ontario Line via Queensway, and kill two birds with one stone.
 
^Queensway is ripe for higher-order transit, but I question the need for extending the Ontario Line. A surface LRT from Park Lawn to Sherway would suffice, and for the same money as a subway could possibly spawn some branches such as down Browns Line or Kipling from Six Points to Lake Shore..

It would be tragic if we spend billions to push the Ontario Line out along the Queensway just because we can't bring ourselves to make the Queensway grade separated right of way operate like an LRT instead of a traditional streetcar.

Tunnelling the 501 along Queen from Dufferin to Roncy would greatly improve the street congestion, speed up 501 to the point of being really useful, and again would be far cheaper than extending the Ontario Line. We could probably get that designed and done before the Ontario Line opens, so that when we are ready to restore the 501 it's a really useful line.

- Paul
 
To get a sense of what Deutsche Bahn may be familiar with when it comes to major station design, I took a look at two major hub stations in the DB network: Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof and Köln Hauptbahnhof.

Düsseldorf has a similar arrangement to Utrecht Centraal, with grade separations on either side which provide a conflict-free route through the corridor, serving one or two specific platforms.

S-Bahn in red, Regional Express in orange (RRX) or yellow (Eurobahn), Intercity or ICE in white.
Capture1.JPG
Capture2.JPG


Köln seems to have been designed with the same philosophy, but it includes more at-grade conflicts due to space constraints. The S-Bahn lines have their own grade-separated pair of tracks through the corridor, but the intercity lines have some at-grade conflicts where the 9 mainline tracks need to squeeze down to 4 tracks across the bridge.

S-Bahn tracks in red.
Capture3.JPG
Capture4.JPG


It's worth noting that in both examples, S-Bahn services from all approaching directions are grouped onto their own dedicated line through the station, separate from the regional or intercity trains operating along the same corridors. This allows for a very efficient use of space within the station because the S-Bahn platforms can serve a huge number of trains per hour within a small area, as long as the trains using them all have short dwell times (thanks to EMUs with lots of doors).

I‘m generally not a fan of eating one transit line’s infrastructure to enable another project at a lower cost. Having a local stopping pattern for GO RER/Expansion/whatever the government is calling the project today is important, especially considering regional travel patterns beyond just the 416.

I don’t deny that your two track scheme is viable capacity-wise, I just think the Queensway needs rapid transit on it, not adjacent to it, and that there is value in local stops for GO.
I am still struggling to understand what local service you think is being lost along the GO corridor in this concept. The Ontario Line would provide exactly the same service that GO's local trains would do, except with higher frequency and faster acceleration. The only downside I see is that people travelling specifically from a local station west of Port Credit to a local station east of Port Credit (e.g. from Clarkson to Long Branch) have an extra transfer at Port Credit. Nearly every other possible station combination is better off.

Keep in mind that even in the current plan, local trains will not be covering the whole distance to Hamilton, let alone Niagara. People west of Burlington will already need to transfer from a diesel express train to an electric local train if they want to access a local station such as Long Branch.

It's also worth noting that from further-out destinations such as Appleby and Bronte, the frequency of local service becomes irrelevant for passengers to/from Toronto if the express service is frequent enough. For example, if there's an express train every 10 minutes and it's 10 minutes faster than the local train, then it doesn't matter how many local trains there are. So while the number of trains serving local stations west of Port Credit may be slightly lower, the utility of those trains is actually higher becuase they all run express east of Port Credit.
 
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^Queensway is ripe for higher-order transit, but I question the need for extending the Ontario Line. A surface LRT from Park Lawn to Sherway would suffice, and for the same money as a subway could possibly spawn some branches such as down Browns Line or Kipling from Six Points to Lakeshore..

It would be tragic if we spend billions to push the Ontario Line out along the Queensway just because we can't bring ourselves to make the Queensway grade separated right of way operate like an LRT instead of a traditional streetcar.

Tunnelling the 501 along Queen from Dufferin to Roncy would greatly improve the street congestion, speed up 501 to the point of being really useful, and again would be far cheaper than extending the Ontario Lne. We could probably get that designed and done before the Ontario Line opens, so that when we are ready to restore the 501 it's a really useful line.

- Paul
Right of Way LRT and elevated transit seem to be equalizing in price. The sheer amount of labour for building an at grade LRT needed to move utilities etc is a huge cost driver. If the two transit typologies are roughly similar in price, you may as well go with the higher quality and faster transit mode, that being elevated.
 

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