Via Rail train

CANADA: The federal government has appointed two consultancies to study options to improve passenger train frequencies and on-time performance and to shorten travel times in southwestern Ontario.

CPCS Transcom and WSP will examine present and future demand, evaluate existing routes, identify options for new alignments as needed and provide a financial analysis. Their conclusions are to be submitted by the end of 2023.

‘CPCS values high-impact projects that involve improving Canada’s passenger rail system through evidence and analysis, and ultimately lead to better rail access and economic competitiveness’, said Adrian Lightstone, Global Director at the consultancy’s Major Projects Unit.

The year-long study focusing on southwest Ontario will support planning for the High Frequency Rail project to enhance inter-city services between Toronto and Québec City.

The government’s 2022 budget allocated C$396·8m over two years for planning and procurement of High Frequency Rail. A request for qualifications is to be issued in early 2023, followed by a request for proposals in late spring 2023 which will run until early spring 2024.

‘High Frequency Rail is a transformational project that will provide more frequent, faster and more reliable service on modern accessible trains’, said Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra on November 10. ‘We now have external advisers with expertise in railway planning, engineering and operations to analyse options that will support our commitment to improved railway service in southwestern Ontario.’