High speed train between Toronto and Montreal is getting closer to reality

Feb 17 2023, 2:07 am

A high speed train between Toronto and Montreal is starting to look more and more likely, a highly anticipated endeavour as Canada is currently the only G7 country without a High Speed Rail (HSR) network.

With most Canadians probably wondering what’s taking so long, we’re still cautiously optimistic, as the Ford government’s election in 2018 killed the former Liberal government’s HSR plan.

However, two Montreal city councillors have just officially tabled a motion for the next Montreal City Council meeting on February 20, calling on the federal government to support the HSR project in the Quebec-Toronto corridor.

The motion follows a series of favourable stands across Quebec in support of a high speed rail network, including the Quebec government and the mayors of Quebec City and Laval.

“The enthusiasm is palpable for high-speed rail in the Quebec-Toronto corridor. It would be a huge legacy for quality of life and for the environment,” says the co-author of the motion, Councillor Craig Sauvé.

According to the brief, an HSR journey between Toronto and Montreal would be reduced to just 3 hours versus the 4.5 hours conventional trains currently take.

Trips between Montreal and Quebec City would take just 1 hour 40 minutes, and trips between Montreal and Ottawa would be reduced to 1 hour.

Councillor Serge Sasseville, the motion’s other co-author, hopes the motion is adopted unanimously by Montreal City Council. “[Their support] will ensure the success of the most significant transport infrastructure in Canada: namely the modernization of the passenger train network between Quebec City and Toronto.”

The time and hassle saved by HSR would reduce flight demands therefore cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, producing just two grams of emissions per passenger kilometre compared to 160 grams for airplanes.

“As the government of Canada is ready to invest massively in rail transport, we must seize this opportunity to provide ourselves with a passenger rail infrastructure which is truly competitive with domestic flights,” says Councillor Sauvé.

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