Minister of Transport announces external advisors to help deliver improvements to passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario
November 10, 2022 Ottawa Transport Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to creating a faster, greener, more sustainable passenger rail service. The High Frequency Rail project, running from Toronto to Québec City, will deliver this commitment, by transforming passenger rail through the creation of a more frequent and sustainable rail service. The Government of Canada will also be exploring options to improve passenger rail frequencies, on-time performance, and to shorten travel times in Southwestern Ontario.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra announced that two consulting firms with significant expertise in the field of transportation, CPCS Transcom Limited (CPCS), in association with WSP, will act as external advisors to the federal government. CPCS and WSP will analyze options to enhance passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario, and submit their findings by the end of 2023. Their analysis will include examining present and future passenger rail demand, evaluating existing routes, identifying options for new alignments as needed, and providing a financial analysis.
The Minister also reiterated that the Government of Canada is committed to working with Indigenous Peoples to take into consideration their views as it develops options to enhance passenger rail service in Southern Ontario.
“High Frequency Rail is a transformational project that will provide more frequent, faster, and more reliable service on modern accessible trains. We’re pleased to announce that we now have external advisors with expertise in railway planning, engineering and operations to analyze options that will support our commitment to improved railway service in Southwestern Ontario.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
HFR is expected to transform intercity passenger rail in the Toronto to Québec City corridor through a variety of project outcomes, including:
- Shortening travel times, with reductions of up to 90 minutes on some routes;
- Increasing trip frequencies between major cities;
- Offering more reliable and improved on-time performance;
- Adding new services to Peterborough and Trois-Rivières; and
- Providing a greener rail system and cleaner travel option using electrified technology.
Budget 2022 provided Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada with $396.8 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to continue advancing key project activities and to undertake the procurement phase of the project.
The next steps in the High Frequency Rail project procurement and expected dates include:
- Government of Canada issues Request for Qualifications: early 2023
- Request for Qualifications period ends: early spring 2023
- Government of Canada evaluation of Request for Qualifications and identification of Qualified Respondents: Early spring 2023
- Government of Canada issues Request for Proposals: Late spring 2023
- Request for Proposals period ends: early spring 2024
High Frequency Rail will transform passenger rail services for Canadians in the Toronto to Québec City corridor. In parallel, VIA Rail continues to rebuild the passenger rail services in Canada following the pandemic. Through the external advisors, the Government is looking for options to enhance service in Southwestern Ontario.
The Government of Canada is committed to engaging the public, including communities currently served by VIA Rail between Toronto and Québec City, and consulting Indigenous Peoples to inform the Project’s design and development. Anyone interested in sharing their views on the project, asking questions, or signing up for project updates is encouraged to visit the HFR website (https://hfr-tgf.ca/contact-us/).
In early 2023, the Minister will host a stakeholder roundtable on passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario.
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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