Improvements to rail service, including electrification, benefit people in Guelph by providing improved transit services for regional connectivity. Whether commuting to work or enjoying events and amenities in other communities, better connections is a priority identified in both the Community Plan and the City’s strategic plan, Guelph. Future ready.
Metrolinx has the following projects underway that affect Guelph:
- A study for the future electrification of the rail line from Georgetown to Kitchener
- Speed River Bridge upgrades
- Other bridge work
- Signal upgrades
- Second track installation
- Guelph Central Station second platform
- Retaining wall repairs
Metrolinx consults the City of Guelph on projects related to rail service to and through Guelph. The City provides input from a community perspective, as well as technical information about aspects including existing infrastructure, transportation planning and the City’s Official Plan.
Future electrification of rail lines
Metrolinx initiated a study (transit project assessment process/environmental assessment) to prepare for the future electrification of their rail line from Kitchener to Georgetown. The purpose of Metrolinx’s study was to select sites for electrification infrastructure, including plans for a traction power substation (power station) in Guelph. Metrolinx has put this study on hold.
City staff was part of a technical advisory committee that Metrolinx consulted with for this work.
In April 2020, Metrolinx shared several possible sites for the power station along the rail line between Imperial Road and Alma Street. The City provided comments and information about each of these sites from a local perspective, including information about current and future planning and infrastructure.
Metrolinx reviewed feedback from all members of the technical advisory committee along with site feasibility to arrive at their preferred site for the Guelph power station: Margaret Greene Park. Metrolinx advised the City of their preferred site for the power station in June 2020.
We don’t think a City park is the right place for a new power station. Parkland is important to our community, and in fact the City wants more parkland, not less. We asked Metrolinx to consider other sites for this infrastructure. In January 2021, Metrolinx permanently ruled out Margaret Greene Park as a potential site for a traction power substation.
Metrolinx is also engaging the community in Guelph and beyond as they complete this study. Materials from past and current engagement are available online. We encourage everyone to join in the conversation and share comments and feedback throughout the study.
Review of at-grade rail crossings
An at-grade rail crossing is where there is no separation of roads and sidewalks from the rail line: people can walk, bike and drive across the rail line at these crossings. Also known as road level crossings. There are six at-grade rail crossings along the Metrolinx Kitchener GO Line in Guelph:
- Alma Street
- Edinburgh Road
- Yorkshire Street
- Glasgow Street
- Dublin Street (now closed)
- Watson Parkway North
City’s rail crossing study
The City is working with Parsons Inc. on a feasibility study of all travelers crossing the Metrolinx rail corridor. This study will include extensive community engagement and travel pattern studies. The study will examine the need for grade separation at the Edinburgh Road rail crossing and requirements for vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist crossings of Metrolinx tracks within the study area.
Speed River Bridge upgrades
The City and Metrolinx are working together to upgrade the Speed River bridge. This bridge carries GO and VIA passenger trains along with CN freight over Wellington and Arthur Streets, the Speed River and Guelph Junction Railway.
Metrolinx is working with a contractor to complete this work. The contractor began in-person site checks in spring 2021. The work began with maintenance work on the bridge abutments. Significant work began in September when over several consecutive weekends the contractor replaced one bridge span at a time (seven spans in total). Bridge span replacements occured from east to west.
Construction will be completed by November 30, 2021 with some seasonal plantings to be installed in spring 2022.
Other bridge work
Metrolinx will be replacing the Wilson Street railway overpass. Metrolinx is planning to complete this project in summer 2022 with sensitivities to Farmers Market activities, with work happening on weekdays instead of weekends. Work will be completed in two phases. The first will be the demolition of the south bridge span and installation of a new bridge span. The second phase is the demolition of the north bridge span and the installation of the new north bridge span. Wilson Street will be fully closed during this work, including sidewalks and bicycle facilities. Pedestrian/cyclist detours will be signed and included in communications. The art murals located underneath the bridge will be temporarily removed to avoid damage during the bridge replacement.
Rehabilitation work is also planned for the Norfolk Street bridge in from about early spring to fall 2022. This work will require some traffic lane, bike lane and sidewalk closures on Norfolk Street with a signed detour routes.
These bridge rehabilitation projects are necessary to address the condition of these structures and support increased rail traffic, specifically for two-way all-day GO service.
Beginning May 2021, Metrolinx is improving signals along their rail corridor. The first phase of work is planned between Edinburgh Road and Yorkshire Street. This work includes removing signal equipment at Dublin Street. Details are available in the Metrolinx notice.
Second track installation
Metrolinx is re-installing a second track between Silvercreek Parkway and Guelph Central Station to accommodate increased rail service. Metrolinx contractors are working on constructing new track segments which will be placed along the rail corridor. The final phase of this work will require short-term road closures on Alma Street, Edinburgh Road, Yorkshire Street and Glasgow Street, likely in spring 2022.
Guelph Central Station second platform
Metrolinx is constructing a platform on the south side of Guelph Central Station, currently scheduled to begin in summer 2022. The platform will extend from just west of Wyndham Street to the east to approximately where Neeve Street would cross the tracks.
Retaining wall repairs downtown
Metrolinx will be repairing two sections of the retaining wall along the south side of the rail tracks starting in late 2021 until summer 2022. One section is along the Waterloo Avenue park between Dublin Street and Norfolk Street and the other is from Wilson Street to the Guelph Armoury parking lot. During this work, the 11 bicycle racks and butterfly art display by the Farmers’ Market will be temporarily removed while equipment is set up and work completed on the retaining wall.
For more information
City of Guelph, Traffic Services
Metrolinx, Guelph-Wellington Community Relations