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Niagara Region leading transformation of iconic train stations in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines

Niagara Region is playing an active role in the transformation of Niagara’s two iconic train stations to enable enhanced GO service to Niagara.

The Region has acquired the historic train stations at St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, along with the surrounding station lands, as part of a significant redevelopment of the two station sites.  

Niagara Region and VIA Rail have been working since 2019 to transfer the St. Catharines and Niagara Falls station to Niagara Region. Niagara Regional council has approved the terms of the station transfer, VIA Rail’s Board of Directors has also approved of the transfer in principle pending approval from Parks Canada for the disposition of a heritage railway station. Upon approval from Parks Canada the two parties are positioned to immediately transfer station ownership.

This implements a critical piece of the Region’s GO Station Development Strategy and when complete, will see new multi-modal bus-meets-train connections at the two heritage station sites, and ensures a firm foundation is set for planned increases of GO train service to Niagara.

The Region committed $40 million as part of its station development strategy back in 2016 to be a catalyst for GO expansion and has been advancing numerous station-enabling projects across the two station sites along with the Cities of St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

The significant investment includes updates and expansions to VIA Rail/GO Rail stations in Niagara Falls (4267 Bridge St.) and St. Catharines (5 Great Western St.). These updates include but are not limited to:

Niagara Falls

  • ​Acquired the VIA/GO Rail station and surrounding station property
  • Planned station building and site improvements including:
    • A new multi-modal mobility hub preserving the historic VIA/GO Rail station, while modernizing the interior structure for multiple transit tenants
    • New bus loops with nine bays split between the east and west side of the building, moving the existing transit plaza on Erie Avenue to be adjacent to the station for safer and more efficient movement of people
    • Modernized washrooms and customer waiting area, including a dedicated space for bus operators
  • ​New Victoria Avenue roundabout that connects Victoria Avenue, Thorold Stone Road (extension) and Bridge Street; thus, improving traffic flow/function in the station area
  • Bridge Street reconstruction providing active transportation connections; accommodations for future growth; safe movement of transit; and accommodating increased pedestrian volumes at the station

St. Catharines

  • ​Acquired the VIA Rail station and surrounding station property
  • Complete reconstruction of the VIA station site including:
    • ​A new multi-modal mobility hub preserving the historic VIA/GO Rail station,
    • Establishing new bus connections for Niagara Region Transit (NRT) and GO Transit; parking enhancements; public plaza space; active transportation connections
    • Constructing a new site access road connecting the station to Ridley Road in partnership with the City of St. Catharines and Ridley College.
    • Anew bus loop with six bays resulting in overall improvements to the property, including appropriate site access and servicing
  • Replacement of the one hundred year old CN overpass (St. Paul Street West Bridge) to improve sight lines; providing flatter slopes on the approaches and improved public safety for all modes of transportation (vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians)
  • Streetscape improvements on Ridley Road such as sidewalks, on-street parking configuration, boulevards and driving lane configurations

These investments in public transportation have allowed for strategic property acquisitions; station-enabling road network improvements; station infrastructure upgrades and enhanced local transit connections. As a result, Niagara Region will be able to move thousands of riders in and out of these stations successfully each year.

Niagara Region continues to work in collaboration with its local municipal partners in support of bringing all-day, two-way daily GO Train service to Niagara. In addition to these partnerships, the Region is also working closely with partners to ensure that rail and bus connectivity into these stations is seamless, frequent and reliable.

For more information, please visit Niagara Region’s GO Rail Expansion webpage.​

Quotes

"This is good news for local residents in Niagara who have been looking forward to expanded rail service. The transfer of the St. Catharines and Niagara Falls rail stations to the Region is an important step forward in Niagara's GO Transit development strategy. Today's regional announcement builds on our government's announcement last week of bringing back year-round weekend GO rail service between Union Station and Niagara Falls."
~ Sam Oosterhoff, MPP, Niagara West
"Regular, enhanced GO Train service will provide superior connectivity between Niagara and the rest of the GTHA through public transit allowing people to travel seamlessly along the GO network. The station and infrastructure improvements we are making will create a generational impact on this area, this community, and the way in which transit options are leveraged for decades to come. I look forward to continuing the Region’s collaboration with our partners."
~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair, Niagara Region
"This project will completely change the way people travel to and from Niagara Falls and spur major upgrades in our downtown core. The scope spans from underground updates to prioritizing safe traffic flow and modernizing the VIA/GO Rail Station into a warm, welcoming hub for travelers. We can’t wait to see it all come together!"
~ Jim Diodati, Mayor, City of Niagara Falls
"The acquisition of the VIA station is an important milestone that will allow Niagara Region to progress on developing a multi-modal hub that not only supports GO Transit services, but also regional transit and other transit tenants. It will also serve as catalyst for transformational change in the area around the station, as envisioned in the St. Catharines GO Transit Station Secondary Plan."
~ Walter Sendzik, Mayor, City of St. Catharines
"The transfer of ownership to the Niagara Region of these two stations, pending the usual regulatory process involving a formal approval from Parks Canada, will benefit the community and will give options in order to enhance service to the region. This agreement will also allow VIA Rail to continue offering the Maple Leaf service with our partner, Amtrak, and therefore bring thousands of tourists to the region."
~ Bruno Cacciola, Chief Business Transformation Officer, VIA Rail Canada

Media Inquiries

Sean O'Brady
Niagara Region
905-980-6000 ext. 3742
sean.obrady@niagararegion.ca


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