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Friday, May 26, 2017

Why high speed rail will work in southern Ontario

Michael Schabas , who prepared the 2014 High Speed Rail study for the province, has an excellent article refuting the recent critics of the Wynne government high speed rail plan. A recent Toronto Star interview and CBC interview with people, who know seem to now have turned into high speed rail expert,s suggest that the population density does not warrant HSR and that we should use an incremental approach in passenger rail development (Note: We are 50 years behind the rest of the modern world in passenger rail speeds)

The Toronto-Kitchener-London corridor has the population density and traffic demand to support HSR service. Read the excellent article HERE in the Toronto Star.

2 comments:

  1. Like you I mostly agree with Michael Schabas's article in the Toronto Star. However there are some unanswered questions. The impression I get is that the route would run on existing GO / CN track at least as far as Bramalea, and maybe even as far as Kitchener, only between Bramalea / Kitchener to London does it appear to be running on dedicated track. Surely for this to be a real success it would need to run on dedicated track throughout ? Will the section between London and Windsor run on existing CN track, or on a dedicated route ? In Windsor will provision be made for a future link into Detroit and further into the US. Will this route run into a new station in Windsor, or into the inconveniently located Via Station at Walkerville ? I note that the top speed of this service is proposed to be around 155 mph. That's just slightly quicker than the top speed of the Acela's on Amtrak's North East Corridor. Surely the plan should be for a top speed of around 186 mph (300 kph) ? Yes it would cost a lot more, but I've never heard any politician of any party moan about the high cost of building highways. Finally yes it's great that the Provincial Government want this, but what about the National Government ? I've still not heard any word from them.

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  2. It would run on the existing Metrolinx Kitchener line all the way to Kitchener. It would not get onto a "true high speed" line until it is past Kitchener. So much for high speed rail from Toronto to Kitchener.

    It also has the problem that the proposed equipment does not meet current North American standards for the proposed speed, 250 km/h. They are proposing 8 car EMUs but current regulations forbid passengers from the lead unit at speeds over 125 mph. This is why Amtrak, Brightline and California High Speed Trains have a Locomotive at either end.

    They also propose high level platforms 48 to 50" above rail head which will require major modification to the existing stations in Toronto, Malton (Pearson) Guelph and Kitchener. There is no need for high level platforms as most European HSR is at a height of about the same level as the GO accessibility platform.

    Recognize this for what it is; a pre-election announcement by a government in panic mode. It has about as much chance of being built as Trump's wall. What is needed is for major track improvements on the Kitchener line all the way to London to get the running time down to 2h15 while still providing service to St. Marys, Stratford and Brampton.

    If this line were to be built it would effectively kill of VIA and Greyhound in Southwestern Ontario.

    Robert Wightman
    President, Transport Action Ontario

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