high frequency rail service

High frequency train service between Toronto and Montreal is one step closer

A move to get a faster and more frequent train service between Toronto and Montreal is closer to reality.

Canada announced the plan for a High Frequency Rail service last year. The trains wouldn't reach bullet train speeds like those in Japan (up to 320 km/h), but the service would shorten travel times by 25 per cent on some routes with trains travelling up to 200 km/h.

Right now, VIA Rail passenger trains can run at a maximum speed of about 160 km/h, but it's not so much a speed boost that will make travel faster as it is the creation of dedicated tracks for the new service.

The trains would be more frequent, accessible and sustainable, with stops to Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Montréal, Ottawa, Peterborough and Toronto.

Canada is now moving forward with the plan and has launched a Request for Expressions of Interest seeking advice and views from the industry on the High Frequency Rail project through Buyandsell.gc.ca, the Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra, announced on March 9.

Alghabra said this is the first major step in getting the project started.

This would be the largest transportation infrastructure project Canada has seen in decades, and the Government of Canada is seeking world-class knowledge and private sector expertise for all aspects of the project.

"High Frequency Rail is a transformational project that promises to fundamentally change the way Canadians travel in southern Ontario and Quebec, improving accessibility, and providing more travel flexibility," Alghabra said.

The government is seeking feedback from experienced private sector companies to help shape the High Frequency Rail project; and will provide information to industry so interested parties can prepare for subsequent phases of the procurement process, including the Request for Qualifications and the Request for Proposal.

The process will also seek the views of Indigenous people and encourage collaboration with Indigenous businesses.

The federal government says VIA and its employees will continue to play a key role as Canada's national passenger rail provider.

The project is still years away from being up and running. The government suggests it could be fully operational in the early 2030s.

Lead photo by

Stephen Gardiner

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