GO Transit Hawker Siddeley RTC-85 No. 705 near Oakville, ON, July 6 1968.

(davidwilson1949, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


GO Transit green logo G O on white background.


GO Transit is a regional public transit system serving the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, Canada. With its hub at Union Station in Toronto, GO Transit's green-and-white trains and buses serve a population of more than seven million across an area over 11,000 square km (4,200 sq mi) stretching from Kitchener in the west to Peterborough in the east, and from Barrie in the north to Niagara Falls in the south. In 2023, the system had a ridership of 56,036,900. GO Transit operates diesel-powered double-decker trains and coach buses, on routes that connect with all local and some long-distance inter-city transit services in its service area.

GO Transit began regular passenger service on May 23, 1967, as a part of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Since then, it has grown from a single train line to seven lines, and expanded to include complementary bus service. GO Transit has been constituted in a variety of public-sector configurations. Today, it is an operating division of Metrolinx, a provincial Crown agency with overall responsibility for integrative transportation planning within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and is projected to grow dramatically with electrification, increased frequency and new stations through the GO Expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in phases through 2025–2032.



Early days
Cities in and around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) expanded greatly during the 1950s, influenced by growth in immigration and industrialization. Much of the existing commuter service was provided by the Canadian National Railway (CN), which faced mounting pressure to expand its service beyond the Lakeshore trains it ran between Hamilton in the west and Danforth in the east, to Toronto; however, CN lacked the financial and physical capital to do this. Real improved commuter service was not considered until the 1962 Metropolitan Toronto and Region Transportation Study, which examined land use and traffic in the newly created Metropolitan Toronto. The idea of GO Transit was created out of fear of becoming lost in years of planning; it was "approached as a test, but recognized to be a permanent service". In May 1965, the government of Ontario granted permission to proceed with the launch of Canada's first specially-designed commuter rail service, at a cost of CA$9.2 million (CA$77.5 million in 2021 dollars).


GO Transit GMD GP40TC with train rain at a level crossing near Port Credit in August 1977.

(Robert Taylor from Stirling, Canada, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Creation, growth and recession

Government of Ontario Transit (later shortened to "GO Transit") started as a three-year long experiment on May 23, 1967, running single-deck trains powered by diesel locomotives in push-pull configuration on a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline. GO Train service ran throughout the day from Oakville to Pickering with limited rush hour train service to Hamilton. The experiment proved to be extremely popular; GO Transit carried its first million riders during its first four months, and averaged 15,000 per day soon after. This line, now divided as the Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines, is the keystone corridor of GO Transit. Expansion of rail service continued in the 1970s and 1980s, aimed at developing ridership in with the introduction of the Georgetown (now Kitchener) line in 1974 and the Richmond Hill line in 1978. The Milton GO Train line opened in 1981, followed by the Bradford (now Barrie) and Stouffville lines a year later, establishing GO Transit's present-day service of seven rail corridors.

Other than establishing new rail corridors, GO Transit introduced the Bombardier BiLevel Coaches in 1979, in order to increase the number of passengers carried per train. These unique rail cars were developed in partnership with Bombardier Transportation. Also in 1979, the former Bay Street GO concourse at Union Station was built to accommodate these additional passengers. GO Bus service began on September 8, 1970, extending the original Lakeshore line to Hamilton and Oshawa, as well as providing service north to Newmarket and Barrie. It eventually became a full-fledged network in its own right after 1989, feeding rail service and serving communities beyond the reach of existing trains.

Near the end of 1982, Ontario Minister of Transportation and Communications James W. Snow announced the launch of GO-ALRT (Advanced Light Rail Transit), an interregional light rail transit program providing CA$2.6 billion (1980 dollars) of infrastructure. Although this plan was not implemented, certain key objectives from it were established in other ways: additional stations were built, all-day service to Whitby and Burlington was established and networks of buses and trains interconnected the network.

GO extended limited rush hour train service on the Bradford, Georgetown and both Lakeshore lines and began offering off-peak service on the Milton line in 1990. Train service was also extended to Burlington on the Lakeshore West line in 1992. In a series of cost-cutting measures, then–Ontario Premier Bob Rae announced a "temporary" reduction in spending on services, causing all of the expansions of the 1990s to be reduced or eliminated.


A typical GO Transit train with Bombardier BiLevel Coaches.

(GTD Aquitaine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Reconfiguration and revival

All day train service was restored from Burlington to Whitby, and peak service was finally brought to Oshawa in 2000. A large initiative to expand the GO Transit network, under the GO Transit Rail Improvement Plan, or GO TRIP, started in the mid-2000s. $1 billion was invested in multiple rail and bus projects, making it the largest commuter rail project in Canadian history. This was later dwarfed by a further slate of new GO infrastructure proposed in MoveOntario 2020, the provincial transit plan announced by Premier Dalton McGuinty in the leadup to the 2007 provincial election. With re-investment in regional transit, GO experienced growth in its train network: all day service was restored to Oshawa in 2006 and Aldershot in 2007; service was expanded to Barrie South in 2007, to Lincolnville in 2008 and to Kitchener in 2011; and an excursion train operated on summer weekends to Niagara Falls. This service was later expanded to all year round.

GO Transit also went through three major reconfigurations. In January 1997, the province announced it would transfer funding responsibility for GO Transit to GTHA municipalities. The Greater Toronto Services Board, composed of regional municipality chairs, city mayors and municipal councillors, was created as a municipal agency in January 1999, and GO Transit became an arm of this agency in August 1999. However, then-Premier Mike Harris announced the province would re-assume funding responsibility for GO Transit two years later, and this was completed with the abolition of the Greater Toronto Services Board on January 1, 2002. The Greater Toronto Transportation Authority was created in 2006, with the responsibilities of co-ordinating, planning, financing and developing integrated transit in the GTHA. This agency was merged with GO Transit in 2009 under the name Metrolinx. GO Transit continued as an operating division alongside two other major initiatives: the Union Pearson Express and Presto card.



As part of the 2011 provincial election, Premier Dalton McGuinty made a campaign pledge to provide two-way, full-day train service on all corridors. Metrolinx continues to plan for this service expansion, which is now known as GO Expansion. Part of Metrolinx's Big Move regional transportation plan, it is estimated to cost CA$4.9 billion and serve 30 million additional riders by 2031. Other possible future rail service extensions identified in GO Transit's 2020 plan include Niagara Region, Bolton, Brantford, Peterborough and Uxbridge. Metrolinx also announced plans in January 2011 to electrify the Lakeshore West, Lakeshore East and Kitchener rail lines, as well as the Union Pearson Express.

In 2021, Metrolinx announced a pilot service to London, Ontario, with one train towards Toronto in the morning and one train returning to London in the evening. At this time, the Presto card cannot be used for such trips and riders must pre-purchase digital tickets in advance.

Improvements are being made to Union Station, which is the busiest passenger transportation facility in Canada, and is expected to have its current passenger traffic double in the next 10 to 15 years. Improvements underway include a new roof and glass atrium covering the platforms and railway tracks, new passenger concourses, additional staircases and vertical access points and general visual improvements to the station. Other longer term options such as a second downtown station and/or connections to a future Relief Subway Line are also being studied to meet future demand.

GO Transit is currently undergoing a major expansion project to improve train service. The project will electrify the Lakeshore East, Barrie, and Stouffville lines, the Lakeshore West line as far as Burlington, the Kitchener line as far as Bramalea, and increase train frequency on various lines to 15 minutes or better on these corridors, with several new stations being built both within Toronto and throughout the GTHA. It will also bring all-day, two-way service to the inner portions of the Barrie, Kitchener and Stouffville lines. GO Transit will increase the number of train trips per week from 1,500 (as of 2015) to about 2,200 by 2020 and expand to 10,500 weekly trips upon completion. Most of the extra trips will be in off-peak hours and on weekends. The expanded services, new infrastructure and electrification is projected to roll out in phases between 2025 and 2030. The 10-year regional express rail plan will cost $13.5 billion and will require 150 km (93 mi) of new track, including new bridges and tunnels.

Starting January 1, 2025, the consortium ONxpress will take over the operation and maintenance of the GO Transit train system in addition to introducing the improvements required for GO Expansion. ONxpress has a division named ONxpress Operations Inc. which consists of Deutsche Bahn International Operations and Aecon Concessions.


GO Transit rail services

GO Transit rail services are provided throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The GO Transit rail fleet consists of 90 MPI MP40 locomotives and 979 Bombardier BiLevel Coaches. In 2023, the system had a ridership of 40,807,100 passengers per year. GO Transit started on May 23, 1967, running single-deck trains powered by diesel locomotives in push-pull configuration on a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline. When GO trains began operation, they ran on tracks mostly owned the two major freight railways of Canada: Canadian National (CN) and CPKC. Over time, GO Transit (and subsequently Metrolinx) have acquired tracks, ensuring GO Transit has control over track maintenance and expansion. Metrolinx currently owns 80% of the GO's rail corridors.

All GO Transit fares are calculated by the fare zones that the origin and destination of the trip are in, as well as by passenger category (adult, student, senior or child). GO train fares are not differentiated based whether or not buses are used for part of the trip.



GO Transit rail service began on May 23, 1967, on a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline. GO Train service ran throughout the day from Oakville to Pickering with limited rush hour train service to Hamilton. This line, now divided as the Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines is the keystone corridor of GO Transit, and continued to be its only rail line for its first seven years of operation. GO's other five lines were opened between 1974 and 1982, significantly expanding the rail network from 86 to 332 km long, and from 16 to 43 stations.

To that point, all of GO's rail services ran on tracks mostly owned by the two major freight railways of Canada: Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP). in 1988, a small but significant milestone in network growth occurred when it expanded its Lakeshore East line on new track it built by itself. But following that, the network experienced two long distance extensions to southern Barrie and Guelph in 1990, only to have those extensions reversed three years later. GO did extend its Lakeshore East line again in 1995 from Whitby to Oshawa, finishing that line as it exists today.

The reach of GO's network remained relatively unchanged between 1996 and 2005. However, seven new infill stations were opened along the Bradford and Stouffville lines. This coincided with GO's initial purchases of the rail corridors it operated on, taking ownership of the entire Stouffville line past Scarborough station, and most of the Barrie line north of the Toronto border. In addition, GO took control of the critical Union Station Rail Corridor, which all GO trains on all lines used. By the end of 2005, GO owned over a third of its rail network.

From 2007 to 2017, GO's network saw six extensions, requiring the Bradford line to be renamed as the "Barrie line", and the Georgetown line to "Kitchener line." These long distance extensions, along with the other extensions on the Lakeshore West, Richmond Hill and Stouffville lines, expanded GO's network length by 29%. Six critical corridor purchases were also made, tripling its length of owned corridors and bringing its ownership percentage to over 80%. Finally, 10 new stations were added, one of which coincided with the opening of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, creating a new interchange between GO and the TTC subway.



Since the founding of GO Transit in 1967, GO trains have operated in push-pull configuration. Each train has a locomotive on the east end and a cab control car on the west end. In push configuration, the cab car has a complete set of engineer's controls built into it, allowing the engineer to remotely control the locomotive pushing the whole train from the back of the train. This enables trains to travel in either direction without requiring one locomotive on each end.


A CSA points at the doors at Rouge Hill Station after closing them for safety. This "shisa kanko" method was adopted by GO Transit in March 2021.

(Félix An, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Onboard procedures

All GO trains have a total of three crew members. The conductor and engineer are located in the locomotive or the cab car to operate the vehicle. Another guard-like staff member, the Customer Service Ambassador (CSA), is located in the accessibility coach, which is the fifth car from the locomotive. The CSA is responsible for opening and closing the train doors, making announcements over the PA system, and acts as the first responder in case of an emergency on board.

The CSA announces the next station after the train departs a station, and an automated voice will repeat the announcement when the train arrives at its next station. Automated public service announcements are made in both English and French.

When a train arrives at a station, the CSA puts a small accessibility bridge across the gap between the platform and the doorway. This is to allow passengers with mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, or strollers to board and exit the train. Each car has a number of accessibility seats provided. If the CSA sees a passenger with a physical disability and there are no accessibility seats available, they could ask that a passenger sitting in one of those seats to move to another area in the train to allow the passenger with a disability to sit in an accessibility seat.

Before closing the doors, the CSA will make an announcement that the doors are closing and will remind passengers to stand clear of the doorways. All cars have a speaker above the doors, which plays a door closing chime in the form of a descending major triad. The chimes are an accessibility feature intended to warn the visually-impaired that the doors are closing.

In March 2021, Metrolinx adopted the Japanese shisa kanko (pointing and calling) method. Upon entering a station, but before opening the doors, the CSA is required to point towards both ends of the train and announce that the platform is clear as a way to confirm that the train is stopped properly. After the CSA closes the doors, the same process is repeated to confirm that nobody is caught in the doors. According to Metrolinx, incorporating the pointing and calling procedure within GO Transit's daily operations is an important way to enhance safety, "especially as the transit agency gets ready to launch the largest expansion of GO service in it’s [sic] history".


GO Transit 664Date7 November 2015. (Richard Eriksson, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

GO Transit F59PH at Oakville Station, August 2008. (Ibagli, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

GO Transit Bombardier bilevel coach 2843 at Scarborough, December, 2015. (Secondarywaltz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

GO Transit Bombardier Bilevel CEM cab car No. 322 at Union Station, May 2016. (분당선M, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Rolling stock


The following table shows the GO Transit locomotive fleet by vehicle type.

GO Transit locomotives

Vehicle Manufacturer Number of vehicles
F59PH Electro-Motive Diesel 8
MP40PH-3C MotivePower 67
MP54AC MotivePower 16

GO Transit GMD FP7 No. 903 with train, March 1981, Ontario.

(Roger Puta, courtesy of Marty Bernard, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


The EMD F59PH is the oldest of the three currently active series of locomotives used by GO Transit. They are 3000-horsepower diesel-electric locomotives capable of traveling up to 134 km an hour, and can accelerate a ten-car train from 0 to 100 km/h in about 75 seconds. The F59PH was also the first series of locomotives used by GO Transit that feature dynamic braking, the effectiveness of which was greatly increased to as low as 8 km/h.

The introduction of the first sixteen F59PH series locomotives in 1988 allowed for the retirement of the previously used EMD GP40TC locomotives. Eleven additional locomotives, delivered between 1989 and 1990, replaced the EMD F40PH and some of the EMD GP40-2L (W) locomotives. The remaining GP40-2L (W)s were replaced by fourteen more F59PHs in 1990. Finally, in 1994, six additional F59PHs replaced the EMD GP40U series. By 1994, GO Transit's locomotive fleet consisted of only the F59PH, which allowed easier maintenance.

Despite the fact that the F59PH was designed to last 30 years, the locomotives were less reliable than hoped. In 2009, when the MPI MP40PH-3C series locomotives became available, GO Transit began retiring the F59PH series. In the end, only eight F59PH units remained on the GO Transit roster. These units have been rebuilt for continued service in 2011, but will be replaced by the MPI MP54AC in future years.



The MPI MP40PH-3C is the older of the two currently active series of MotivePower locomotives used by GO Transit. They are 4000-horsepower locomotives capable of hauling twelve passenger cars, and have a speed of up to 150 km/h. The MP40PH-3C is GO Transit's first series of locomotives capable of supplying power to power a 12-car train all by themselves, as opposed to the F59PH which is slower and can only pull 10 cars.

In 2005, GO Transit contracted with MotivePower to build 27 MP40PH-3C units in order to expand its fleet and replace the existing F59PH locomotives which had been in service for almost 20 years. The first set of MP40PH-3Cs began arriving in late 2007 and operated on the Lakeshore East and West lines, followed by the Milton line.

The new locomotives proved to be powerful and reliable, prompting GO Transit to place an order for an additional set of 20 locomotives. Deliveries of the new set began in late 2009 and continued into 2010. An additional set of ten locomotives was delivered in 2010.

The introduction of the MP40PH-3C allowed GO Transit to retire the older F59PH locomotives. Another ten MP40PH-3C locomotives were purchased later and were delivered in 2013 and 2014 when GO Transit found that additional equipment was required to expand rail service.


The MPI MP54AC is the latest series of locomotives used in the GO Transit rail system. It is a 5400-horsepower locomotive that MPI calls "the most powerful diesel passenger locomotive in North America".

GO Transit was the first customer to use the MP54AC. In 2012, GO Transit MP40PH-3C No. 647 was sent back to MPI and was converted into an MP54AC. It was returned to GO Transit in 2015. Testing of the converted locomotive was conducted December 12, 2015.

The original plan was to convert ten MP40PH-3Cs into MP54ACs if the first conversion was successful. However, increasing service demands led to the order of sixteen brand new MP54ACs instead. Once delivered, these new MP54ACs would allow for the retirement of the remaining eight F59PH units.


Passenger cars

The following tables shows the GO Transit’s 979 Bilevel passenger cars.

GO Transit Bilevel passenger cars

Vehicle Manufacturer Number of vehicles Number of seats
Series I Hawker Siddeley 70 162
Series II Hawker Siddeley 56 162
Series III Can-Car Rail 54 162
Series IV Can-Car Rail 42 162
Series V Can-Car Rail 100 162
Series VI Bombardier 22 133
Series VII Bombardier 85 133
Series VIII Bombardier 155 133 or 151
Series IX Bombardier 267 133

GO Transit Bilevel cab cars

Vehicle Manufacturer Number of vehicles Number of seats
Series II Hawker Siddeley 15 161
Series III Can-Car Rail 9 160
Series IV Can-Car Rail 17 160
Series VII Bombardier 9 147
Series VIII Bombardier 7 147
Series IX Bombardier 82 133


From 2004 to 2011 Ontario Northland Railway overhauled 121 Bi-Level cars at their North Bay Yard.


Train layovers

Click HERE for more information.


Maintenance and storage

Maintenance facilities
The Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility is GO's original rail maintenance facility, covering 18,600 m2 (200,000 sq ft). It is along the Lakeshore West line, directly west of Mimico GO Station, and directly north of Via Rail's Toronto Maintenance Center. The yard includes four progressive maintenance bays, a locomotive shop, a coach repair shop and storage tracks for 21 trains.

In 2018, GO Transit opened the Whitby Rail Maintenance Facility, along the Lakeshore East line. This second rail maintenance facility is 46,000 m2 (500,000 sq ft), more than twice the size of Willowbrook. It includes two progressive maintenance bays, repair shops for 11 coaches and 12 locomotives, two washing stations and storage tracks for 13 trains. The facility was constructed to handle service expansions, which include the GO Transit Regional Express Rail program.



In December 2018, GO Transit banned CSA Gordon "Gord" Plumridge from singing Christmas carols over the PA system on the train after a complaint from a passenger. Plumridge, who had been singing Christmas carols for over a decade, created parodies of popular Christmas carols inspired by GO Transit (for example, he changed the lyrics of "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" to "Take the GO, take the GO, take the GO!") and sang them on the Barrie line and Lakeshore West line. Many passengers were fond of Plumridge's service and singing. When asked about the reason for the ban by CTV News, Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said, "We understand that a customer didn't appreciate the singing, 'cause he was up in the Quiet Zone, and the Quiet Zone, people really like it that it's quiet, and that they can sleep." She stated that a compromise was made between Plumridge and Bombardier, the company who was contracted to provide services to GO Transit. Plumridge was now allowed to sing only to the people in his train coach with permission.


See Also:

Railroads A-Z