This summer, VIA Rail announced a proposal to increase high frequency rail in the Québec City to Toronto Corridor. This is going to be a joint project between Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail Canada.
In 2018, approximately 72% (or 66% of revenue) of VIA Rail Canada traffic runs through the Quebec City to Toronto Corridor, so it does make sense to invest in this region.
For those of you who loves trains like I do, I think this graph below says it all:
Serve to More Regions
The dotted blue lines are the newly proposed dedicated tracks. The new tracks would basically between Smith Falls and Toronto, as well as Montreal to Quebec City (via Laval, Trois-Rivières). This would be absolutely amazing, as it creates more options (i.e. service more regions) and reduces the amount of traffic on existing lines.
Dedicated tracks means they won’t have to share the rail lines with another company, meaning that the trains can potentially travel at its highest speeds (up to 177 kilometers or 110 miles per hour). VIA is saying that it can make the trop between Ottawa and Toronto to as low as 3 hours and 15 minutes, compared to the current 4 hours and 30 minutes. Hopefully by alleviating the Ottawa to Toronto trains on the mail line, it gives more breathing room for the Montreal to Toronto trains.
This is really the kind of innovation that I want to see from VIA Rail. I have wished to see high speed trains for a while now, but with the current configuration of the rails, it is probably very difficult to do. However, this is an amazing alternative solution.
Canada is a such a large country, so I think that it would only make sense to have a strong train system across the country to make us all more interconnected. All this comes at a time when VIA Preference decided to never let is points expire. I really do hope that this will encourage more people to take the train. I understand that it is a tough balance, but they will need to find ways to keep the cost of travel affordable to ensure high capacity.
Personally, I am very excited by these announcements. What has been your experience with VIA Rail? Please share with us in the comment section below.