What’s ahead in Canada’s passenger rail sector.

There are solid plans for growth in Canada’s passenger rail network.

This summer, the Government of Canada green-lit its planned high-frequency passenger rail service (HFR), as per the Global Construction Review. The proposed route will span more than 800 kilometres, connecting Canada’s most densely populated corridor – Toronto, ON to Quebec City, QC – with multiple stops in other urban areas. Although it’s in the early stages, the high-frequency train proposal will be the largest transportation infrastructure project Canada has seen in decades. 

There’s more good news: as per Transport Action Canada:

“Two highlights of the announcements were that the top speed for HFR had been raised to 200 km/h and that at least 90% of the route would be electrified… good news for both future passengers and for the environment.”

Transport Action Canada

The initiative is a joint project between the Government of Canada and VIA Rail Canada, funded in part by the Canadian Infrastructure Bank and a host of private investors. Projected costs range from $4.7 billion to $9.6 billion for the project and is set to be completed by 2030, according to Engineering News Record. The government had intended to start procurement this fall; however, this may be delayed due to September’s federal election. The project was first discussed in 2016 but getting stakeholders on board was time-consuming and required numerous consultations.

Meanwhile in Western Canada, a similar proposed endeavor is underway in the province of Alberta. Construction company EllisDon and multinational engineering firm AECOM formed Prairie Link, a partnership to advance the development of high-speed rail connecting Edmonton, Red Deer, and Calgary, reports the REMI Network. Unlike the HFR project in Ontario and Quebec, the Prairie Link Partnership is solely a private sector initiative.

“Prairie Link has secured a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from Alberta Transportation laying the foundation for cooperatively advancing project development. With an estimated capital cost of $9 billion, the project will be among the largest and most defining nation-building transportation projects in Alberta’s history.”

REMI Network

Both projects will require a solid network of suppliers and partners to secure success. Businesses providing equipment or services to the rail and transportation sectors may find opportunities in the procurement process for several Canadian high-speed rail projects.

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