Open Letter to the Minister of Transport: Train Service in Stratford and St. Marys

July 28, 2023

Hon. Pablo Rodriguez, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Transport

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Open Letter: Train Service in Stratford and St. Marys

Dear Minister Rodriguez:

On June 30, 2023 Metrolinx announced it would be discontinuing London to Toronto GO Train service effective October 13, 2023. This loss is yet another blow to the already extremely limited transportation options that exist in Southwestern Ontario.

Both Go Trains and VIA Rail Trains connecting Toronto and London pass directly through the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys. Unfortunately, these trains have operated at inconvenient times for residents who wish to make regular trips to London, Kitchener, Guelph, or Toronto.

For example, based on the current VIA Rail schedules, a resident of Stratford wishing to travel to Toronto on a weekday would not arrive at Union Station until 1:38 p.m. If that resident wished to return home that same day, they would need to depart Toronto to return to Stratford only four hours later.

Similarly, a resident of St. Marys wishing to travel to London on a weekday would not arrive in London until after 9:00 p.m. long after most businesses and services are closed. They would then need to stay in London overnight with the only option for a return at 9:54 a.m. on a subsequent day. This would make the entire trip either entirely useless or much too long given that the two stations are within 44 kilometers of each other.  

It should not surprise you or anyone at any level of Government that with these schedules, so few Canadians choose to travel by train between London and Toronto. Who can blame them for choosing automobile travel over the train?

Yet, members of your Government have consistently encouraged Canadians to use transit more often and drive less.

With Metrolinx now pulling their service from these tracks in October I urge you to take immediate action and direct VIA Rail to adjust their train schedules.

The residents of Stratford and St. Marys should have better options for commuting by train to London or Toronto on a regular basis with more convenient schedules.

Given the distances between these destinations, residents should be able to depart their homes in the morning and arrive in London or Toronto by 9:00 a.m. then have a departure time to return home between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.

Without sensible schedules, our trains will remain empty.


John Nater, M.P.


Note: A similar letter was sent to former Minister Alghabra on July 7, 2023.