B-Line is the first line of the proposed B-L-A-S-T light rail transit (LRT) network in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is a Top 15 Priority Project in ‘The Big Move’, which is the regional transportation plan prepared by the provincial agency Metrolinx for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
The light rail transit system will offer fast, reliable and frequent public transport for the residents of Hamilton. The LRT and B-Line in particular are expected to reduce car traffic in the downtown area, while delivering better travel comfort and convenience for commuters.
The rapid transit system will also spur economic activity in Hamilton by attracting new developments that revitalise the city.
Construction of the project is slated to begin in 2019, with completion scheduled for 2024.
The Hurontario-Main Light Rail Transit is a new public transit project connecting the cities of Mississauga and Brampton.
B-L-A-S-T is a rapid transit network proposed to be built in the City of Hamilton, as a part of the $17.5bn MoveOntario 2020 capital investment programme.
The network will comprise five rapid transit corridors, namely B-Line, L-Line, A-Line, S-Line and T-Line. Also known as the Main / King corridor, the B-Line will run between McMaster University and Eastgate Square alongside the Main Street / King Street corridor.
The L-Line will connect Downtown with Waterdown, whereas the A-Line will link Downtown with Airport. The S-Line will be laid between Centennial and Ancaster Business Park, while the T-Line will be constructed between Mohawk and Meadowlands.
Based on a benefits case analysis conducted by Metrolinx in 2010, the B-Line would be costly to construct, but would generate net benefits for Hamilton while catering to long-term demand for public transportation in the corridor.
A planning, design and engineering study commenced in March 2010 and was concluded in the third quarter of 2011. The environmental project report was completed in October 2011.
Hamilton City Council approved a 2012 Work Plan for the east-west B-Line corridor in 2012. The plan calls for the location, technical analysis and environmental assessment for a maintenance storage facility for the LRT vehicles, electro-magnetic field and vibration study, phased-development strategy for the B-Line, and a financial project analysis.
Three teams were shortlisted in the procurement process that began in February 2017. The prime members of three teams include CityLine Transit Group, Ei8ht Transit and Mobilinx.
Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx issued a request for proposals to the shortlisted groups in April 2018, to design, build, finance and maintenance of the LRT project. The contract will be awarded to the preferred bidder in 2019.
B-Line routing and operations
The B-Line will be a 14km-long east-west line running between Eastgate Square and McMaster through Downtown. It will have 17 stops, with the full route taking 31 minutes. The line is anticipated to be extended from Eastgate Square to a proposed transport hub at Fifty Road in the future.
The light rail vehicles will run on tracks separated from normal traffic. The line will require a fleet of 20 LRT vehicles, which includes 17 running at peak times. The vehicles will operate every four minutes in peak times, and at approximately ten-minute intervals during non-peak hours in early mornings and late evenings. The services will be offered between 5:30am and 1:30am from Monday to Saturday, but will stop earlier on Sundays.
Financing for the Hamilton B-Line LRT
The Hamilton B-Line LRT project is estimated to be completed at a cost of $1bn, which will be fully funded by the Provincial Government.
The 25th Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, announced funding of $1bn for the project in May 2015.
The investment in Hamilton LRT project is part of the government’s plan to develop rapid transit projects linking GO Transit and other transport infrastructure across the GTHA.