The Government of Canada and Canada Infrastructure Bank are providing a total of CAD 71.1 million (USD 53.9 million) to further explore VIA Rail Canada’s proposal for High Frequency Rail in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor.
The funding will be used to establish a Joint Project Team and fund work to preserve the option of interoperability with regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto.
The Joint Project Team, between Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail Canada, will be established using the CAD 55 million (USD 41.7 million) in funding from Canada Infrastructure Bank. This team will explore the possibility of High Frequency Rail in Quebec City-Toronto Corridor, focusing on finalizing legal and regulatory work related to safety and environmental assessments, examining required land and track acquisition; and completing the technical, financial and commercial analysis required for a final investment decision on High Frequency Rail in the Corridor. This will be done by 2020.
High Frequency Rail in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor project would see new trains on dedicated tracks between major centres (Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto). New routes would be established on discontinued and lower density freight rail infrastructure between Toronto-Peterborough-Ottawa, Ottawa-Dorion-Montreal and Montreal-Trois-Rivières-Québec City.
The High Frequency Rail project involves separating passenger and freight rail operations, creating more capacity for sustainable transportation for both people and goods, as well as the opportunity to optimize current services along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Approximately 72% of VIA Rail Canada’s passengers travelled through the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor in 2018, which accounts for 66 % of the network’s revenues. Ridership within the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor is the most diverse, consisting of students, seniors, tourists and business travellers who do not typically travel by train outside of this area.