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Passenger Rail Innovation Corridor Waterloo Region - Toronto

(notice the footers for catenary masts for electrification of the line when exiting Pearson)

Perhaps it is fitting that the modernization of passenger rail service happens on the North Main Line(NML) running from London - Kitchener - Toronto. The Waterloo Region and Toronto are the leaders in Canada in attracting technology companies. The Innovation Corridor has been created.

Unfortunately the passenger rail transportation between the two areas is painfully slow with 2 hours using Go Transit or ridiculously high priced with VIA Rail ($74.45 Kitchener-Toronto).

There have been some substantial investments and successes in updating the NML corridor since the FCP World consultants released their 2014 pre-feasibility study about possible high speed trains on the line. The line has long been ignored by the previous owner CN and does require a substantial financial investment.

The good news is GO Transit did buy the line between Georgetown-Kitchener and have also come to an agreement with CN about getting them off their remaining section between Georgetown-Bramalea. Ownership of the line is critical to be being able to improve the passenger rail infrastructure needed for modern trains.

The completion of the Go Transit Georgetown South Project,  has already resulted in an increase in Go Train service and the introduction of the Union-Pearson Express trains to the airport.

The electrification of the NML line has already been assessed from Union Station to Pearson. It is now being extended from Malton to Bramalea.

david collenette
David Collenette
Former Federal Transport Minister David Collenette will soon be giving his recommendations to the Ontario government regarding the implementation of high speed rail trains between London-Kitchener-Toronto.

Whatever is recommended by Mr. Collenette will be require significant capital investment. The federal government and private partners must come on board to finance high speed rail.

If real change is to happen along the NML groups like the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation, Communitech and the Chamber Of Commerce Greater Kitchener-Waterloo have to get active in their advocacy on this issue.

I am hopeful that the Waterloo Region to Toronto will be the first location for high speed trains in Canada.


  1. The 2014 study is interesting. So it gave me an idea. They propose spending $800 million on a new line between Kitchener & London. As long as we're building brand new rights of way, I estimate it would be another $500 million to build a new line to Aldershot. Trains are already a lot faster on the Lakeshore corridor than on the NML, so the travel times should be comparable as should costs, but it's a more heavily populated corridor. But what excites me about this is that Aldershot is a great transfer station and as a result this route would create great transit options for some non-Toronto-oriented commutes that are poorly served today.


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