New high-frequency train could reduce Ottawa-Toronto travel times by up to 90 minutes

Jul 6 2021, 7:17 am

Canada’s proposal for the new high-frequency train would reduce Ottawa to Toronto travel times by up to 90 minutes.

During a Tuesday morning press conference, Canada’s Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra said the HFR (High-Frequency Rail) proposal would be the “largest transportation infrastructure project seen by Canada in decades.”

Alghabra says the Government of Canada is “doing its due diligence” and undertaking a phased approach to put in place the right conditions to ensure the “greatest amount of success” for the project.

The HFR train would primarily offer shorter travel times and faster trains to the Quebec City to Toronto corridor. A dedicated passenger track would allow a travel speed of up to 177-200 kilometres per hour (or 110-124 miles per hour).

According to Transport Canada, the HFR could nearly triple the number of annual trips taken by passengers in the Quebec City to Toronto corridor — rising from 4.8 million (in 2019) to a projected 17 million by the year 2059.

VIA Rail

The trains would have “more direct routes” with improved connectivity between cities compared to other modes of transportation, offering a “cleaner travel option” using electrified technology.

“Canadians deserve a fast and reliable train service,” said Alghabra. “Today, we are taking the first steps in preparing for the procurement process to build a new train service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor. High-Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor is a massive transportation project with the potential to transform passenger rail service by offering faster, more reliable, more frequent, and cleaner transportation service.”

The minister says the HFR will allow Canadians to get to their families faster and be better connected to the country’s businesses while reducing road congestion and providing a low-emission travel alternative.

The turnaround time on the project is expected to be rather quick (for a large-scale transportation undertaking, anyway), with HFR service expected to start by 2030.

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