After years of discussion, the Ontario government is investing $ 15 million to conduct an environmental impact study on the project to link Toronto to Windsor via Kitchener-Waterloo through a new high-speed train.
“It’s time to look seriously at this idea that has been around for decades,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Highlights of the proposed new rail line:
- Stations in Toronto (Union Station), Chatham, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, as well as connection to Pearson Airport;
- Maximum speed of 250 km / h;
- Would use both existing rails and new dedicated corridors;
- Travel time between Toronto and London is 73 minutes;
- Travel time between Toronto and Windsor reduced to just over 2 hours (rather than 4 h, currently);
- Cost of $ 19 billion, including $ 11-12 billion for the first phase between Toronto and London.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said the new stretch could attract 10 million passengers a year. That is, however, ten times more than VIA Rail’s current customer base in these regions.
A call for tender will be launched in the fall for the design of this new rail corridor. A new agency will also be set up to oversee the work.
However, carrying out the environmental impact assessment could take six years. Transport Minister Steven Del Duca hopes that this will be done in four years.
For his part, former Transport Minister David Collenette concluded in a report to the province that the project was viable. The Wynne government had given him the mandate in 2015 to assess the feasibility of the high-speed train. Consultations were held and there was an opportunity to involve the private sector in the financing and implementation of the project.
Constructed by sections
David Collenette’s report suggests building the high-speed train in sections, beginning with the section between Toronto and London, which would be completed in 2025. The entire corridor would be in service by 2031.
Estimated costs are $ 55 million per kilometer. A faster train traveling at 300 km / h would be much more expensive, with estimates at nearly 150 million for every kilometer.