The ultra-high-speed train that is planned to travel between Calgary and Edmonton now has another stop in the works.
The train will meet in the middle of Alberta’s two biggest cities and stop in Red Deer.
Red Deer is almost the exact midway point between Calgary and Edmonton. It is 147 km from Calgary to Red Deer and 155 km from Red Deer to the Alberta capital.
TransPod Co-founder and CEO Sebastien Gendron says the reason for this decision is all about how much it would help Red Deer.
“It’s really more on the social responsibility aspect because if we bypass Red Deer it’s not going to help the city to grow economically speaking, so for that community and it’s a must. And we want this project to be inclusive and not to do that, only for profit, I would say, even if it’s it’s important, but it’s also important to include everything and to support the economic development of that city.”
Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston says this would be an exciting development for the city.
“The City of Red Deer would support any ultra-rapid transportation project that includes a local stop in our community. It’s fundamental to our economic development. Having a high-speed rail or tube service stopping in Red Deer would be exciting and transformational for this city and its residents, and Council and I look forward to learning more about this, and any other exciting opportunities for our region,” he said.
The train project is privately funded and would take people from Calgary to Edmonton in 45 minutes. Adding a Red Deer stop will be a big boost for that city, but it is coming at a significant cost for the project.
“We have to spend an additional $1 billion to do everything from the stations to the additional infrastructure required to do other stuff.”
This was not a decision they came to lightly, and Gendron says the upside outweighs any risk they are taking on.
“On the pros and cons, it’s the overall bill for the projects we’re talking about $18 billion US or $22 billion in Canadian dollars, and I think adding a billion to the deal is pushing the return on investment for our investors by one year. So instead of doing the breakeven in 20 years, they will do it in 21. So it’s kind of okay, we can make the effort and build the station. Because it’s not affecting the overall business case of the project.”
TransPod says the trains will be fossil-fuel-free and fully electric, ushering in a new era for ultra-high-speed ground transportation that is safe, and cost-efficient.
So far, the majority of the planning has been done in the Edmonton area with most of the conversations happening with the city and the airport. Gendron says it has been a smooth process so far.
“They’ve been quite supportive of the project and there are no roadblocks, as of today. So, fingers crossed, hopefully, is going to continue like that,” he explains. “The other key aspect is to bring people from the European Competition Commission because we started to work to define the regulatory framework with them, and the plan is really to bring those international experts to work with Alberta transportation, the government to make sure that what we’re doing is will be safe to transport passengers.”
- You might also like:
- Worth the Trek: 5 things to do in Vulcan, Alberta
- We checked out Jasper's new Forest Park Hotel and this is what we saw (PHOTOS)
- The massive Banff SnowDays Winter Festival starts soon and has so many events
Once completed, the trains would reach speeds of 600 km/h and TransPod says the tickets will be 45% cheaper than a flight. There is a lot of work to do between now and then. Gendron says they are on track to start work on this early next year.
“This year is really all the admin work. We also have the training material to establish with the building trades of Alberta and with the objective to start construction, spring audits to be ready by the end of this year and like December 2023 and start construction probably spring 2024.”