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The HSR Study Paralysis Phenomenon!

As we patiently wait for two more HSR studies to come out relating to the Ontario-Quebec corridor (the SNCF-Quebec Study and the Federal/Ontario/Quebec study) we have unwittingly fallen into the same paralysis that has prevented high speed rail from becoming reality for the last twenty years. I call the phenomenon "study paralysis". Indeed this phenomenon is not unique to the subject of high speed rail but study paralysis is epidemic in Canada relating to HSR.

In Alberta, there are two new positive HSR studies already completed and nothing has happened. In fact the provincial government has gone backwards to 1960s era planning by announcing 5 billion dollars in provincial highway spending in the next few years.

In Ontario, the study paralysis phenomenon is beyond belief. Twenty years of studies completed and we are anxiously awaiting two more studies to be done. We have had zero commitment from any federal government in the past. The present government has also never stated a commitment to HSR. Yet we wait for these studies as if they will be the ones to get the government to act. If twenty years of studies stating HSR is viable in the Ontario-Quebec corridor have not gotten the previous governments to act, why will things change now.

In Quebec, Premier Charest recently announced with his USA counterparts that there will be yet two more HSR studies. They will be relating to the Boston-Montreal and the Montreal-New York possible HSR corridors.

The 2004 pre-feasibility study for the Montreal-New York corridor stated that true HSR was not feasible and that incremental improvements to the existing service should be done. In the Boston-Montreal corridor there has not been passenger trains of any kind in 43 years!

There are two viable HSR corridors in Canada.(Edmonton-Calgary and the Ontario-Quebec) Decades worth of studies have proven that. Mores studies saying the same thing will not change anything.

Its up to the public to pressure the politicians in power to make a decision to move forward to have modern passenger rail service in Canada. We must elect politicians at all levels of government that have modern vision on the issue of passenger rail.

How much further behind can Canada lag behind the rest of the world regarding the issue of higher and high speed passenger rail? The simple fact that we had faster train service between Toronto and Montreal 30 years ago is embarrassing.

Lets end this study paralysis phenomenon.


  1. Completely agree it is embarrassing.

    Our very own Canadian Bombardier sits idle while government "studies"...

    The Government Job to Private Job ratio, especially in Ontario, is getting dangerously high...

    Although the initial costs are "being studied", the longterm benefits can not be ignored!


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