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Martin Imbleau talks about the need for speed to Montreal Chamber of Commerce

Martin Imbleau high-speed rail
ICE - InterCity Express High-Speed Trains in Munich Germany - credit Paul Langan

It is refreshing to continually hear Martin Imbleau, the CEO of VIA HFR, speak about the need for speed regarding the Toronto-Quebec City Corridor. During a speech to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Martin Imbleau unveiled an ambitious plan for a rapid passenger rail project between Quebec City and Toronto. This project has seen significant advancements with the establishment of a new federal Crown corporation dedicated solely to its development. It is worth noting that this is the most substantial transportation infrastructure initiative in Canada since the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway more than six decades ago.

High Speed Rail Canada Continues to Support Martin Imbleau in his goal for increased speeds for the HFR project.

The proposed railway network will span approximately 1,000 kilometers, featuring dedicated tracks that are fully electrified. The route will include stops in key cities such as Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Laval, Montreal, Ottawa, Peterborough, and Toronto.

During his address, Mr. Imbleau emphasized the transformative nature of this project for both Quebec and Canada as a whole. He stated, "We aim to bring cities closer together and connect three capitals along with the two largest cities in the country!"

The objective of this endeavor is to establish a fast and reliable electric train service that mirrors the standards set by European counterparts. By creating efficient transportation options along the Quebec City-Toronto corridor, passengers will be able to reach their destinations promptly and conveniently.

The three consortia that were invited to participate are:

Cadence (CDPQ Infra, AtkinsRéalis (formerly known as SNC-Lavalin), Systra Canada, Keolis Canada)

Intercity Rail Developers* (Intercity Development Partners, Kilmer Transportation, First Rail Holdings, Jacobs, Hatch, CIMA+, First Group, RATP Dev Canada, Renfe Operadora)

QConnexiON Rail Partners (Fengate, John Laing, Bechtel, WSP Canada, Deutsche Bahn)

The selected consortium is expected to be announced in late fall 2024 and will work collaboratively with VIA HFR to design and develop the High Frequency Rail project.