In January 2008 The Federal Government announced it is revisiting studies for High Speed Rail between Windsor and Quebec City. With all the new found prosperity due to Oil and Gas, Natural Resource, and general economic prosperity (including budget surplus) we might actually see this happen in the next 10-15 years. A link to the media release so you can understand the background is posted below. However, this has an impact on our Commuter transit issues..
What does this mean to the North Mainline, or the other rail lines in Waterloo Region? This high-speed rail study is a very key development and *all* residents, Councillors, Mayors, MPP and MP’s should be aware of the consequences if High Speed Rail becomes a reality.
Basically, all freight traffic between Chicago, the Southern US, and Toronto runs on the two railway lines south of us: the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National mainlines between London and Toronto. If one of these lines is upgraded to become the high speed rail link, *the north mainline will be forced to host that lines freight traffic through our cities*.
What do North Mainline residents prefer? High speed rail improvements, or oodles of long and slow freight trains running through your city?
Reasons why this argument holds:
* The North Mainline also is the same corridor that would link up to Toronto Pearson Airport — a Pro for the North Mainline to recieve high speed rail
* The North Mainline currently holds 90% less freight traffic compared to the other two mainlines through the Toronto – London Windsor/Sarnia Corridor. The existing freight traffic will simply coexist with passenger service as it currently does. It will not require rerouting. Therefore we have a relatively-blank slate when considering our line for high speed use.
Therefore we have a strong case for hosting the High Speed Rail corridor between Toronto and London IF and ONLY IF our councillors, provincial (MPP), and federal politicians (MP) lobby for us to recieve it. This week this was confirmed when Waterloo Region concillors approved lobbying for the high speed rail link. (as discussed in post below this one)
Reasons that will counter our argument:
* Most passenger service is concentrated on the Toronto-Oakville-Burlington-Brantford-London route with heavy emphasis on the densely populated GO Lakeshore line. This line has been marked on many ocasions for what is dubbed “SuperGO” — an electrified higher-speed commuter service.
* The North Mainline route is longer by 10 KM (Source: VIA Rail timetables, Union Station to London Ontario)
* There may be a fouth option: Goverment opts to build a fouth, and brand new Railway Corridor to host high speed rail. This is ultimately the most expensive (billions of dollars) and least likely option. Construction of this magnitude has not happened in Ontario since the 19th century.
Comments, questions? Please fire me an e-mail at steve [ a t ] hostovsky.com