The Government of Canada has announced its first steps in building a new train service from Toronto to Quebec City.
The High Frequency Rail proposal, as it’s called, in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor involves building dedicated passenger rail tracks to provide key benefits to travellers.
These include shorter travel times and faster trains that would reduce average trip times between Toronto and Ottawa by up to 90 minutes, more reliable on-time arrival performance up to 95 per cent from a current average of 67 per cent, more direct routes with improved connectivity between cities and to other modes of transportation and new stations in targeted locations including near Jean Lesage Airport.
“Canadians deserve a fast and reliable train service,” said Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra on Monday (July 5). “High Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor is a massive transportation project with the potential to transform passenger rail service by offering faster, more reliable, more frequent, and cleaner transportation service.”
The project will also add new services to certain communities, such as Peterborough, Trois-Rivières and Laval and provide a cleaner travel option using electrified technology.
Working with VIA Rail, the High Frequency Rail proposal would be the largest transportation infrastructure project seen by Canada in decades.
VIA Rail says the trains will travel at speeds of up to 177 km/h although Alghabra, in his announcement on Monday, said speeds of up to 200 km/h would also be possible.
Meanwhile, Ottawa is “doing its due diligence” by undertaking a phased approach to launch the service.
As such, the government has outlined several steps it is taking to ensure a smooth launch.
The steps include engaging with Indigenous groups and communities to obtain feedback on the project, consulting with the private sector to determine capacity, and seek perspectives on the best possible delivery model.
The Government of Canada plans to finalize the delivery model and launch this fall.
The request for proposal for the procurement process is expected to launch in fall 2021.
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