Canadian Geographic
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Tracking rail


Canada’s commuter rail carried 66 million riders in 2009. Operated by regional transportation authorities in Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Ottawa, commuter trains represent the fastest-growing segment of Canadian passenger rail.

Commuter trains significantly reduce traffic congestion and generate about one-quarter the greenhouse-gas emissions that private automobiles produce. For example, Toronto would have to build an additional 48 lanes of freeway just to handle the number of GO Train riders who pass through Union Station during an average rush hour.

GO Transit is the largest commuter rail system in Canada, carrying about 180,000 daily riders on seven lines in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton region. Designed for GO by Montréal-based Bombardier in the 1970s, the easily recognizable green and white GO trains are now being used by a number of other commuter railways across North America. GO is planning several expansion projects, including electrification of its Georgetown and Lakeshore lines, along with new service to Bolton, Seaton and Locust Hill.

Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT), operating both electrified and diesel-electric trains, conveys about 62,000 daily riders on five lines that converge in Montréal. Planned AMT expansions include new lines to eastern Montréal and the northeastern suburbs. AMT is also studying the restoration of light rail.

The West Coast Express carries about 10,500 daily riders on a single 69-kilometre line that reaches eastward from downtown Vancouver to a platform in suburban Mission, B.C. And the O-Train is a light-rail transit service that transports about 13,600 daily riders over a single eight-kilometre line running south from downtown Ottawa.


This piece describes the history of Canada’s GO Transit system, and is supported by a detailed map of its current reach, as well as modern photos of the system’s Union Station.


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Quiz :

The gamma-ray imageing system used to scan rail cars as they approach the Canada-U.S. border is known as: