Toronto To Windsor High Speed Rail Project Takes Another Step

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 19, 2017

Reports say the premier will lay out plans for the first stages of a high speed rail line connecting Windsor and Toronto with proposed plans for stops in Kitchener and Guelph.

Premier Kathleen Wynne will visit London, then Kitchener's Google to deliver the announcement which is expected to include some of the preliminary design work on the right speed rail line. Design work is said to actually be in process with a $15-million environmental assessment aimed at trains in revenue service by 2031.

"The Toronto to Windsor corridor is home to over seven million people and over 60 per cent of Ontario's economic activity". A GO Train trip from Kitchener to Union Station now takes about two hours.

While an initial "pre-feasibility" assessment has already been completed, Wynne said a second, more complex evaluation will examine specifications of the line and "all other aspects of major infrastructure work".

In 2015, special adviser David Collenette was asked to assess the possibility of a high-speed rail project.

In this plan, the Ontario government would seek out partners to help finance and build the line.

In 2008, then premiers Dalton McGuinty of Ontario and Jean Charest of Quebec proposed a joint feasibility study of a fast train line linking the two provinces. In the other scenario, the maximum speed would reach 250 kilometres per hour, bringing the cost down to $55 million per kilometre.

Cost of $ 19 billion, including $ 11-12 billion for the first phase between Toronto and London.

It's likely agreements with CN and CP will be required for some sections of the proposed high-speed rail route, Collenette's report says.

Under this scenario, passengers could travel between Windsor and Toronto in just two hours, instead of four hours with the current train service. The projected cost sits at more than $4 billion for the Toronto-London segment and $3.4 billion for London-Windsor. "With high-speed rail, the trip will be cut down to 25 minutes".

Wynne says the long contested rail line is an "extremely ambitious" project that will ultimately "cut travel time significantly" and encourage economic development to the communities involved.

Wynne acknowledged that "excuses" have fueled the delay of the line, which has been debated since the 1970s.

"When I was the Minister of Transportation I met officials who had been working on high-speed rail for decades because his is an idea that has been around for a very long time", she said. The report recommends three high-speed rail trains between Kitchener and Toronto each hour during the busiest hours of the day, and two trains per hour during off-peak times.

High speed rail will support Waterloo Region's innovative business climate by reducing travel times, giving people more low-carbon transit options, and creating new opportunities for workers and businesses.

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