Canadian high-speed train stuck in station

Editorial from the Toronto Star:

Of all the issues endlessly studied without resolution in Canada, high-speed rail (HSR) tops the list.

The latest unreleased HSR study, which was revealed by the Star last week, only confirms that more than 30 years of rosy political promises and large consulting fees have accomplished nothing. Canada remains the only G8 nation that hasn’t taken the first step on the high-speed trail, while even China, Russia, Turkey, Morocco and Uzbekistan have launched HSR projects. By 2025, there will be 43,000 kilometres of high-speed lines worldwide, but none in Canada if we don’t change our ways.

No one should expect that change to come from this $3.4 million study commissioned by the federal, Ontario and Quebec governments. It merely replows ground covered by a joint $6 million Ontario-Quebec government study in 1995, which flowed from a 1991 interprovincial study that consumed another $6 million.

This time around, the recommendation is 200 or 300 km/hour service from Toronto to Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec, with nothing for southwestern Ontario or across the border to connect with the expanding U.S. rail passenger network. Other cities along the truncated corridor would have their VIA service replaced by buses. Much of the existing passenger infrastructure would be dumped in favour of an all-new Quebec-Toronto “greenfield” system costing $14 billion to $16 billion that wouldn’t carry its first passenger for 15 years.

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