Canada’s new high-frequency rail service will include Ottawa

Ottawa is included in Canada's high-speed high-frequency rail service

TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QC, July 6, 2021 – Today, the Government of Canada declared its commitment to modernizing intercity passenger rail services in a way that will best meet the transportation needs of travellers, while also creating jobs and economic growth.

Canada plans to build its first high-speed high frequency rail service connecting Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announces Canada’s high-speed high frequency rail initiative.
VIA Rail high speed rail network will include Ottawa

Making today’s announcement, are the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Via Rail, Cynthia Garneau, and the Mayor of Trois-Rivières, Jean Lamarche. The Government of Canada says it is taking the first steps in preparing for the procurement process to build a new train service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor. The high-speed high-frequency rail service will also include Ottawa and Montreal in addition to other major stops between Quebec City and Toronto.

The next steps in the process include:

  • Engaging Indigenous groups and communities to obtain feedback on the project. 
  • Engaging with the private sector to determine capacity, and seek perspectives on the best possible delivery model. The Government of Canada plans to finalize the delivery model and launch the process to select a private partner in the fall.
  • Accelerating dialogue with partner railways to negotiate dedicated routes in and out of city centres.

The request for proposal for the procurement process is expected to launch in fall 2021.

The High Frequency Rail proposal in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor involves building dedicated passenger rail tracks which would provide many key benefits to travellers, including:

  • shorter travel times and faster trains that would reduce average trip times between Toronto and Ottawa by up to 90 minutes;
  • more reliable on-time arrival performance up to 95 per cent from a current average of 67 per cent;
  • more direct routes with improved connectivity between cities and to other modes of transportation;
  • new services to certain communities, such as Peterborough, Trois-Rivières, and Laval, and new stations in targeted locations including near Jean Lesage Airport;
  • more frequent departures between cities; and
  • a cleaner travel option using electrified technology.

Working with VIA Rail, the High Frequency Rail proposal would be the largest transportation infrastructure project seen by Canada in decades, which is why 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 this project.

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