Ontario to establish High Speed Rail Planning Advisory Board
CANADA: Plans to establish a High Speed Rail Planning Advisory Board to support the development of proposals for a 250 km/h electrified passenger service on the Windsor – Toronto corridor were announced by the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne on October 23.
The High Speed Rail Planning Advisory Board would bring together experts to provide strategic advice on business issues, and would engage with stakeholders, the private sector and indigenous communities during the environmental assessment, design and ridership forecasting processes. A formal environmental assessment process is expected to get underway in spring 2018.
The project would comprise a mix of upgraded existing infrastructure and new dedicated tracks. The first phase is envisaged for completion by 2025 at the earliest, and would run from Toronto Union Station to Pearson airport, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and London. The second phase would extend the route to Chatham and Windsor in 2031. On completion the project would reduce end-to-end travel times from more than 4 h to just over 2 h, and serve a region of more than seven million people.
‘High speed rail will dramatically change what’s possible for people in Southwestern Ontario’, said Wynne. ‘Whether that’s giving people a faster, greener way to get to a great job in the tech industry, allowing family members to visit more often or helping people discover more of our beautiful province. Canada’s first high speed rail service will also help companies along the Toronto – Windsor corridor to continue to attract top talent and take their business to the next level.’