Almost every day for the past five and a half years, I've walked my dog by the nicely kept grounds of LIUNA Station on James Street North. This beautiful building was completed in 1930, moving people along the Windsor-Hamilton-Toronto corridor until the construction of highway 401 took a big bite out of rail traffic in the early 1960s.
After it was bought and wonderfully restored by the Laborer's International Union of North America at the turn of this century, Hamiltonians were further heartened by announcements in 2008 and 2010 that indicated commuter service would return to James North, if not LIUNA itself.
If you're like me and have been patiently waiting for a new station that will cut precious minutes off the 75 it takes to commute to Toronto, you might also have wondered what's going on with the project.
Last week curiousity got the better of me and I contacted Metrolinx asking about the progress of the new James North Station.
Dwayne Newfeld, Senior Project Officer for Railway Corridor Infrastructure kindly reaffirmed the plans laid out in the Environmental Assessment, completed in May 2011, that call for one additional track to be built on the CNR corridor from the Desjardins Canal to approximately Centennial Parkway.
He also confirmed that one new platform is to be built underneath the Bay Street and McNabb Street bridges, and that the new station is to be constructed on the west side of James North opposite LIUNA.
Though we already knew these were the plans, Mr. Newfeld was also able to confirm that the first part of the new track, from the canal to Wellington St., is currently being designed and Metrolinx/GO has committed to having this track in place with service in time for the 2015 Pan-Am Games.
Though I'm not sure what a new James Street North station has to do with the Pan Am Games anymore, I'm still pretty sure that fellow commuters will happily greet enhanced Hamilton-Toronto train service when it finally arrives.
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