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Extra GO service in place as thousands expected to travel to see total eclipse | CBC News

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With the April 8 total solar eclipse just a day away — and huge numbers of people gearing up to see the historic event— Metrolinx says it has increased GO Transit service to help them get to and from prime viewing locations.

But the eclipse won’t be the only show in town. The provincial transportation agency will be running extra service on some lines Monday to help customers get to a variety of major events, including in Hamilton and Niagara where the total solar eclipse is expected to draw large crowds, as well as in downtown Toronto for the Toronto Blue Jays home opener and Toronto Maple Leafs game. 

Metrolinx is running special event service to and from Niagara Falls on the Lakeshore West line to help customers travelling to solar eclipse celebrations.

Here are the trip times and other information that will help customers travelling to take in the eclipse:

  • On April 8, three trips will depart Union Station for Niagara Falls in the morning at 9:02 a.m., 10:02 a.m., and 11:02 a.m.
  • Four return trips will depart Niagara Falls that evening at 4:24 p.m., 4:54 p.m., 7:21 p.m., and 10:51 p.m.
  • All Niagara trains will be 12 cars long to provide as much room as possible.
  • Regularly scheduled GO bus service will also be available for customers via Route 12 Niagara Falls/ Burlington.  
  • Metrolinx will have extra staff at various locations across the GO network to help customers along their journey.

How the eclipse will hit Toronto

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. The eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada, where some people will see the sky darken as if it were dawn or dusk.

How to watch the solar eclipse safely

A total solar eclipse is set to pass through parts of Canada, the United States and Mexico on April 8. CBC News spoke with an expert at Toronto’s York University to learn three easy ways to view the cosmic event without harming your eyes.

While Toronto isn’t quite in the narrow path of totality, the city is expected to to see partial totality at more than 90 per cent, according to Hanno Rein, an astrophysics professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough. A partial eclipse means people should see the moon cover parts of the sun throughout the afternoon, which will cast unique shadows on the ground and potentially even impact local weather and animal behaviour, he said.

Monday’s weather is forecast to be a mix of sun and clouds, which could impact how much of the eclipse is visible.

Still, said Rein, “This will be an event that will be hard to miss.”

Province preparing for ‘significant’ number of travellers

A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation says the province is preparing for a “significant number of people” travelling to and from dedicated viewing locations in Niagara Region, Pelee Island and other communities within the path of the eclipse. 

“People across southern Ontario should expect busy roads and longer than normal travel times,” Brian Crosby wrote in an email.

“We’re encouraging everyone to plan ahead and consider options such as carpooling or taking public transit.” 

Crosby said the ministry is also working with partners to preemptively address and adjust highway closures and detours, share public information and is also communicating with ONroute locations about the potential need to prepare for an influx of visitors. 

“In terms of road safety, drivers experiencing reduced lighting conditions should turn on their headlights and proceed at a safe speed. They should not stop on the highway. This means they should not pull over to the shoulder or exit their vehicles to view the eclipse,” Crosby said. 

Prioritize safety while travelling: OPP

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding residents and tourists to prioritize safety while travelling or attending events and celebrations during the solar eclipse.

The OPP has shared the following safety tips:

  • Do not photograph or video the eclipse while driving.
  • Share the road when attending large gatherings. Never pull over or stop on the roadway and/or shoulder of the road to view the eclipse. Exit the roadway and park in a safe area away from traffic to view the eclipse.
  • Be prepared for delays in getting to and from your destination. Be aware of possible increased pedestrian traffic.
  • Check local community news for advisories relating to traffic management such as detours and parking.
  • No amount of alcohol or drugs in your system is safe while driving. If you suspect that someone is driving while impaired, it’s important to call 911 to report it.

Road closures in Niagara Falls, Fort Erie

Meanwhile, Niagara police say there will be planned road closures in Niagara Falls and Fort Erie.

Niagara police say despite the closures local traffic will be able to get through, such as people going to work, emergency vehicles and people driving to obtain some services like going to the hospital.

Motorists may experience short stoppages at controlled barriers, police say.

The full list of road closures can be viewed here

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