The City of Hamilton, Ontario has proposed a number of light rail transit (LRT) lines to serve densely populated and high-ridership corridors. The first line, known as the B-Line, will operate between McMaster University and Eastgate Square by 2024. This is the same routing of the existing B-Line Express bus service. The project has since been cancelled.
The City of Hamilton released a Transportation Master Plan in early 2007 that examined the opportunity and feasibility of higher order transit along select corridors. Plans called for implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT), with LRT in the long term. Metrolinx announced their $17.5 MoveOntario 2020 plan in June 2007, which made LRT more feasible on the B-Line corridor. Five corridors were identified and form the "B-L-A-S-T" network. These are: B-Line (King Street and Main Street between McMaster University and Eastgate Square), L-Line (north-westward into Peel Region), A-Line (James Street between the waterfront and the airport), S-Line (Centennial Road and Rymal Road between Eastgate Square and Ancaster Business Park), and T-Line (Mohawk Road between Centre Mall and Meadowlands).
In May 2015, Government of Ontario committed $1 billion towards capital costs of the B-Line between McMaster University and Queenston Road, as well as a spur line (part of the A-Line) that would connect King Street to West Harbour GO Station and Hamilton's waterfront. In 2017, Metrolinx announced that it would instead build the A-Line in its entirety as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The City of Hamilton was dissatisfied with cutting the B-Line short at Queenston Road, and asked the province to consider building the line to its originally planned terminus. Construction of the line to Eastgate Square was approved in April 2017.
A Request for Qualifications process for the design, construction, equipment, financing and operations and maintenance of the Hamilton LRT line was started in February 2017. Three teams were shortlisted: CityLine Transit Group (composed of ACS, Aecon, CRH, TIAA, Dragados, Dufferin, Parsons, HDR, Amec, RDHA, Serco), Ei8ht Transit (composed of EllisDon, Fluor, Bombardier, WSP/MMM, Hatch, Gh3), and Mobilinx (composed of Astaldi, John Laing, Hitachi-Ansaldo, Amico, Transdev, Bot, IBI, Daoust Lestage, Morrison Hershfield, Exp Services, Arcadis). The teams were invited to respond to the Request for Proposals (RFP) in April 2018. The preferred team was expected to be selected in late 2019, with construction to start in 2020.
On December 16, 2019, the provincial government announced that the project would be cancelled due to an increase in the project's estimated cost. At the time of cancellation, the capital costs to construct the LRT was estimated at approximately $3 billion, with the total project costs (including provincial and municipal subsidies for 30 years of operating costs) announced by the Province to be $5.5 billion. It is unclear whether Hamilton will still receive the previously-announced $1 billion for other transit initiatives.
The 14-kilometre route would have operated between McMaster University and Eastgate Square. From McMaster, the B-Line would have run in a right-of-way along Main Street. After crossing Highway 403, the line would have run on King Street through Downtown Hamilton, then switched back to follow Main Street to Queenston Road, ending at Eastgate Square. The approved right-of-way would have alternated between the side of the road and running in a centre median, depending on the need/ability to acquire property and other restrictions.
- Ministry of Transportation. Ontario Moving Forward with More Transit Options for Hamilton. (02 February 2017). Press release.
- Infrastructure Ontario. Request for Proposals Issued for Hamilton LRT. (13 April 2018). Press release.
- CBC News. No provincial funding for LRT, mayor calls move a 'betrayal' of Hamilton. (16 December 2019). News article.