Welcome to High Speed Rail Canada. Canada's only national advocacy group on high speed rail. We have over 25 years of passenger rail advocacy experience. This blog will educate and keep you current on high speed rail information from Canada and the rest of the world. Please sign up for our free newsletter and stay engaged through our social media.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

VIA Rail Act Returns to Parliament

Well back in March we talked about then MP Olivia Chow's C-577 relating to VIA Rail Canada. With Olivia gone from federal politics it was up to NDP MP Philip Toone Gaspésie — Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC to bring back the VIA Rail Canada Act on June 12th, 2014. He moved for leave to introduce Bill C-614, An Act respecting VIA Rail Canada and making consequential amendments to another Act.

Fast forward to December 4th and this private members Bill C-614 by MP Philip Toone was back in parliament.

MP Toone stated," Mr. Speaker, this bill would give parliamentarians far more control over the decisions made concerning VIA Rail. It would also allow for a partnership to be established with the communities and industries involved in VIA Rail service. This bill is designed to create the legislative framework that VIA Rail has never had.

In the U.S., Amtrak was in rough shape without a legislative framework. Now, with that framework, Amtrak is on the right track. This company serves far more communities than it used to. We hope to learn from that and improve service in Canada.

VIA Rail is in crisis. Ridership is down and many routes have been cancelled. It is time that Parliament took this seriously. Do we really want passenger rail service in Canada? We must not forget that passenger rail service and the rail system built our country. We hope to maintain it for future generations.
The motions deem adopted and the bill read for the first time and printed.

There are pieces in the bill and the amendments to the Canadian Transportation Act that if implemented would definitely help VIA Rail survive in the future.

For fun I have included Bill C-614 and former Minister of Transport David Collenette Bill C-26 from 2003 on the same subject matter in the same folder for people to read. VIEW THE FOLDER HERE.

Will the private members bill pass or will Stephen Harper continue to let VIA Rail drift into extinction? Time will tell.

Friday, December 12, 2014

How Two Billionaires Are Destroying High Speed Rail In America

I highly recommend reading this article by Julie Doubleday about how the Koch Brothers are using their intense wealth to destroy public transportation systems, especially high speed rail. YES they are in Canada, funding the discredited far right Fraser Institute and have invested heavily in the Alberta tar sands.

Here is the link to the article. http://www.attn.com/stories/295/how-two-billionaires-are-destroying-high-speed-rail-america

Thursday, December 11, 2014

High-speed rail plan takes shape

by Johathan Sher - LONDON FREE  PRESS
 Pssst Londoners: do you want a glimpse of where high-speed rail might go through the city?

Location of tracks, number of trains and cost of a ticket: All are laid out in a report on ambitious plans to cut in half the time it takes to go from London to Toronto.

“This looks to be an unusually easy route for a high-speed rail line, about as easy as you can get, in fact, both in terms of construction, and community,” wrote Michael Schabas, a rail consultant with First Class Partnerships, whose team wrote the report for Ontario’s Transportation Ministry.

Trains should be stored and maintained in London, possible at the Electro-Motive Diesel plant on Oxford St. that closed in 2012, he wrote.

Ontario officials announced last week they were sufficiently convinced to take the first major step by conducting an environmental assessment.

The assessment may take six years, but in the meantime, the early report has created a buzz at city hall.

“High-speed rail could be a game-changer,” London Mayor Matt Brown said Wednesday. “This report represents the beginning of the conversation with the community of what it might look like.”

The consultants suggested two ways for high-speed trains to enter London and get downtown. The first would enter the city from the east on new tracks built just north of the current CN tracks now shared by freight and Via Rail.

The second would enter from the northeast, following a path on tracks from Stratford, crossing Oxford St. at Clarke Rd. and Dundas St. just east of Hale St. before curving sharply right.

The two routes merge at Egerton St., and then continue west to what could be a new $100-million station.

Building Toronto-Kitchener-London high speed rail line ‘unusually easy’

by Chris Herhalt WATERLOO REGION RECORD— A consultant's report the Ontario Liberals used to argue they could build a high speed rail line through Kitchener says a Toronto to London line would be a cinch, but it relies heavily on maps available to anyone with internet access.

"This looks to be an unusually easy route for a high-speed rail line, about as easy as you can get, in fact, both in terms of construction, and community and environmental impacts," consultant Michael Schabas wrote in a memo to Ministry of Transportation officials last March.

The 51-page pre-feasibility report says an electrified 320 km/h rail line stopping in London, Kitchener, Guelph, Pearson International Airport and Toronto could cost $2.5 billion, requiring a maximum of 100 buildings be demolished. But because the government wanted the report before it tabled the 2014 budget, the report has done without a significant in-person examination of potential routes, with the London,

England-based consultants opting to use Google Earth satellite images instead.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

HIGH SPEED RAIL CANADA RELEASE - London - Kitchener - Toronto High Speed Rail Study

High Speed Rail Canada is releasing to the public the previously unreleased March 2014 high speed rail pre-feasibility by United Kingdom based independent transportation consultant First Class Partnerships (FCP)


WireService.ca Press Release (12/10/2014) - High Speed Rail Canada is Canada's only advocacy groups dedicated to promoting the modernization of passenger rail in Canada.

The March 2014 study by FCP was funded by the Ontario provincial government and examines the London-Kitchener-Toronto high speed rail route.

Like the two previous Ontario high speed rail studies not released to the public,High Speed Rail Canada has once again obtained a copy of this new study and is releasing it today to the public before the official government release.

High Speed Rail Canada's mandate is to educate people on the benefits of modern passenger rail. They do it through their website, Youtube channel, Facebook, Twitter ;@HSRCanada and public educational sessions.

Paul Langan, Founder of High Speed Rail Canada states," Although this is just a pre-feasbility study of the line, it is definitely building up excitement on the return of high speed rail to Ontario. With the environmental assessment process announced, the Liberal government under Kathleen Wynne has done more to bring high speed rail back to Canada then any other Canadian federal or provincial government in the last 30 years."

To download the study,(there are 2 parts to it)
PART 1 - FCP Pre-feasibility Study
PART 2 - FCP Social Environmental Impacts Memo

To contact Paul Langan, use or Contact Tab.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Toronto – Kitchener - London Ontario High Speed Rail - FCP study

Toronto – Kitchener - London Ontario High Speed Rail - Pre- Feasibility Study prepared for Ontario Ministry of Transport Commercial in Confidence March 11, 2014 by FCPWorld will be released Wednesday December 10th, 2014.

Chatham Wants In on High Speed Rail in Ontario

Chatham-Kent's mayor is seeking more information after a recent announcement concerning high-speed rail made no mention of the municipality.

Randy Hope said once he learned of the plans concerning the next phase of the project, he sent a message to the premier's office for further details.

“Number one, I agree with high-speed rail. Number two, I don't agree that it's not stopping in Chatham-Kent,” he told The Daily News on Friday. “You're going to get more value, more returns … if you're looking at centres like Chatham. It's not all about the GTA, London and Windsor.”

On Friday, London municipal officials and MPP Deb Matthews were on hand as Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca announced the next steps for the rail line, which will eventually link Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ontario Moving Forward With High-Speed Rail - Environmental Assessment Starts

It is good news that the Ontario Liberal government are moving forward with high speed rail plans with the Environmental Assessment stage. There is some concern as the press release was done a Friday which is the worst time to get any publicity out of the announcement. Some cynics would say this is another HSR study to add the pile already existing in Ontario. We like to think this announcement is a positive step forward.

Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation states,“We are moving forward with an environmental assessment process for a high-speed rail line that would connect Windsor, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Toronto. The high-speed rail line would improve travel options, reduce travel times and support economic development across the province.”

Read the whole press release here - http://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2014/12/ontario-moving-forward-with-high-speed-rail.html

Via Rail eyeing private capital to build its own dedicated rail lines

Just two days ago we posted an article about VIA Rail CEO in Italy talking high speed rail partnerships now the Financial Post has a similar article. Here is the problem nobody will partner with VIA unless the federal government is committing some substantial funding also. The good news is VIA is trying to do something!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

CEO of VIA Rail and CEO of Italian State Railway talk High Speed Rail

Michele Mario Elia, CEO of Italian State Railways met December 1st in Rome with Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, CEO of Via Rail.

Italferr, the Italian State Railways Group engineering firm, operates on the Italian and international markets in the field of railway transport engineering.

The article states that Italferr is doing exploratory work in Canada. What could it all mean, especially while the current anti-passenger rail Conservative government is still in power?

Read the full article here http://www.agenparl.com/?p=130149