- High-speed rail in Canada
Canadadoes not have high-speed raillines, there have been two routes frequently proposed as suitable for a high-speed rail corridor:
* Edmonton to Calgary via Red Deer
A possible international high-speed rail link between
Montrealand Bostonor New York Cityis often discussed by regional leaders, though little progress has been made. Between Vancouverand Seattle, work is in progress to improve the existing Amtrak Cascadesservice, though it will not reach speeds normally associated with high-speed rail.
On April 10th 2008, a new Canadian National Citzens Advocacy Group High Speed Rail Canada [http://www.highspeedrail.ca] was formed to promote and educate Canadians on the benefits of high speed rail in Canada. [ [http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=842335 High Speed Rail Canada Citizens Advocacy Group and Website Forms ] ]
Early high speed rail in Canada
CN Rail placed some early hopes with the
UAC TurboTrain, in its Toronto-Montreal route during the 1960s. The TurboTrain was a true HST with the train sets achieving speeds as high as 200 km/h in regular service. CN's, and later VIA Rail's, TurboTrain service were marred with lengthy interruptions to address design problems and having to cope with poor track quality (accounting for dual passenger-freight use); as such, the trains were operated at a more realistic 160 km/h. The TurboTrain featured the latest technology advances such as passive coach tilting, Talgo attachment for rigid coach articulation and gas turbine power.
Beginning in the 1970s, a consortium of several companies started to study
Bombardier Transportation's LRC, which was a more conventional approach to high-speed rail, in having separate cars and locomotives, rather than being an articulated train. Pulled by heavy conventional-technology diesel-electric locomotives designed for 200 km/h normal operating speed, inspired by the English HST125, it entered full-scale service in 1981 for VIA Rail, linking cities in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, but at speeds never exceeding the 170 km/h limit mandated by line signalling. It was the world's first active tilting train in commercial service.
In 1998, the Lynx consortium, including Bombardier and SNC-Lavalin proposed a 320 km/h high-speed train from Toronto to Quebec City via Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal based on the TGV and the French Turbo-Train technology. Recently, Bombardier and VIA have proposed high-speed services along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor using Bombardier's experimental JetTrain tilting trains, which are similar to Bombardier's Acela Express, but powered by a gas turbine rather than overhead electric wires. These trains resemble the first TGV prototype (TGV001) powered by a gas turbine that were tested on the Strasbourg-Mulhouse line. As yet, no government support for this plan has been forthcoming, and Bombardier continues promoting the JetTrain especially for Texas and Florida routes.
Quebec-Windsor Corridoris the most densely-populated and heavily-industrialised region of Canada. With over 16 million people, it contains approximately half of Canada's population, the national capital and three of the four largest metropolitan areas in Canada ( Toronto, Montrealand Ottawa–Gatineau). It is already the focus of most VIA Railservice. Currently the area is served by several freeways, VIA Rail, commuter and local transit, and several airports. This corridor population density is comparable to the Rhône Rivervalley where the French TGVis very profitable.
There have been proposals for a high-speed service, such as
VIA Fast, but no action has been taken so far. However, the leader of the Liberal Party, Stéphane Dionhas said that he is in favour of developing a high-speed rail system as a way to fight climate change. [ [http://www.global-cool.com/en/2007/01/16/canada-sees-climate-change-dollar-signs/ Global Cool » Canada Sees Climate Change Dollar Signs ] ]
January 10, 2008, Dalton McGuinty( Premier of Ontario), and Jean Charest( Premier of Quebec) announced their two provinces will conduct a joint $2 million feasibility study into the development of high speed rail in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. The federal government has agreed to participate in the study. [ [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080110/viarail_snowfall_080110/20080110/ CTV.ca |Via Rail says snowfall behind spike in ridership ] ] [ [http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/01/10/rail-study.html Governments revive plans for high-speed trains between Quebec, Ontario ] ] [ [http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=228684 Ontario-Quebec to study rapid rail link ] ]
It is possible that any high-speed rail development would be connected with the
Ohio Huband the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative.
The most advanced proposals are in the
Calgary-Edmonton Corridorin Alberta. The cities are approximately 260 km apart (About 3 hours by car), and are connected by the Queen Elizabeth II Highway.
A study by the Van Horne institute concluded that "high speed rail would bring significant benefits to the Calgary-Edmonton corridor and Alberta as a whole". The report also stated that the project would "generate between CAD $ 3.7 and $ 6.1 billion in quantifiable benefits". The study considered three options:
# Upgrade of an existing
Canadian Pacificfreight route to allow trains up to 240 km/h using Bombardier's JetTrain, costing approximately $ 1.8 billion.
# A new dedicated passenger route, known as the "Green Field" route, also using the Jet Train, and costing approximately $ 2.2 billion.
# An electrified version of the Green Field route, using
TGVstyle trains running at 300 km/h, costing approximately $ 3.7 billion.
The report found that there was little incremental benefit in running at 300 km/h rather than 240 km/h, and so recommended the first option.
September 22, 2006it was announced the Provincial government was deploying video cameras along a stretch of the Queen Elizabeth Highway to determine just how many cars travel between the three cities. [cite news |title=High-speed rail topic of survey |url=http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/2006/09/22/1879651.html |date=2006-09-22 |publisher= Calgary Sun]
Some figures quoted for the cost of the project are far larger than the above. For example, "Vue Weekly" gives the cost as "$ 3 - $ 5 billion". [cite news |title=Railing against traffic and congestion on Highway 2 |url=http://www.vueweekly.com/articles/default.aspx?i=4800 |date= |publisher=Vue Weekly]
Calgary Heraldannounced on April 18, 2007that the provincial government had purchased land in downtown Calgary for a possible station or terminal. [cite news |title=Land bought for rail terminal |url=http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/city/story.html?id=43b5d9a6-87ea-4b58-87d8-4714f6a6137e |date= |publisher= Calgary Herald] The provincial government also maintains ownership of the top deck of Edmonton's High Level Bridge so a potential high speed rail line can reach downtown Edmonton.
Calgary Heraldhas put on a "special topic section" about the prospect of a high-speed rail in Alberta over the 2007 Thanksgiving long weekend. It is called [http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/features/train/index.html "On Track: Alberta's Bullet Train Debate."]
Montreal - United States
In order to link with the
Acela Expressand Acela Regionalservice from Washington, D.C.to Boston, and to serve northern New England communities along the route, the United States Federal Railroad Administrationproposed in 2000 an accelerated line (200 km/h) between Boston and Montrealas one of several high speed rail corridors identified across the country. Public hearings and the first phase of a study were conducted in 2002 with the participation of the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The second phase of the study was cancelled after New Hampshire withdrew its support.
In the 1970s, the mayor of Montreal,
Jean Drapeauannounced his project to build a TGV(High Speed Line) to New York in order to replace the slow and unreliable Adirondack service operated by Amtrak. More recently, Mayor Bourque tried to revive the TGV to New York project. [ [http://lcn.canoe.com/infos/regional/archives/2001/01/20010114-081729.html Pierre Bourque intéressé par le projet d'un TGV entre Montréal et New York] ] The topic has also been discussed between the governor of New York and the premier of Québec, but no progress has been made since a pre-feasibility study conducted in 2003. [ [http://www.mtq.gouv.qc.ca/portal/page/portal/entreprises/transport_ferroviaire/projet_train_haute_vitesse_montreal_new-york Projet de train à haute vitesse Montréal-New York] ] The line is problematic because most of the investment would need to be made through the sparsely-populated Adirondack Mountainsnorth of Albany. Between Albany and New York, fast and frequent rail service is already available.
* [http://www.railwaypeople.com/rail-projects/quebec-windsor-corridor-jet-train-canada-30.html Quebec - Windsor Corridor Jet Train, Canada]
* [http://www.vanhorne.info/files/vanhorne/HSRFullReport(1062004).pdf Calgary / Edmonton High Speed Rail] - a report by the Van Horne Institute (2.45MB PDF)
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