Category Archives for "Latest News"

Oct 10

Public Statement on VIA Rail Canada’s High Frequency Rail Proposal

By TAO-admin | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News

Background: After an analysis of available public information on VIA Rail Canada’s High Frequency Rail (HFR) proposal, Transport Action Ontario has issued the following statement:

Since our founding nearly 30 years ago, Transport Action Ontario (TAO) has strongly supported intercity passenger rail, as it provides many economic, social and environmental benefits to Canadians. The Windsor-Quebec corridor is the heart of Canada’s existing passenger rail system. TAO agrees with VIA Rail Canada’s ambition to triple the number of trains per day in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec portion of this corridor, as well as improving on-time performance and reducing travel times.

One available option is VIA’s High Frequency Rail/dedicated track proposal (HFR). It envisions new dedicated northern trackage between Toronto-Ottawa (using the partially abandoned Havelock line)
and between Montreal-Quebec (using north shore trackage accessed through the Mt. Royal tunnel) , while improving the schedule on existing Lakeshore and South-shore routes. Maximum train speeds are planned as 160 kph.

The Federal Government (Transport Canada) is currently evaluating this and other proposals to add passenger rail capacity in this corridor.

TAO has met with VIA’s senior planning staff to discuss HFR and has analyzed the limited publicly available information on HFR, as well as other relevant comparable projects. We endorse VIA’s HFR objective, particularly the strategic benefit of dedicated tracks for passenger service. This benefit can be maximized if long segments of dedicated track are combined with increased attention to timely operation of passenger services where co-use with main line freight operations is required. We also concur with VIA that operation at typical “high speed rail“ speeds (250 kph+) has a poorer cost-benefit ratio than VIA`s proposed speed.

TAO looks forward to a fulsome public review of the details of HFR. Particularly important is a discussion on securing access to the Mt. Royal tunnel in view of the Montreal REM transit project and a discussion on the best planned maximum train speed (160 vs 200 kph).

We urge the Federal Government to move forward promptly and commit to boosting passenger rail frequencies, speeds and on-time performance in this corridor.

We also look forward to working with all stakeholders, especially VIA and Transport Canada, on how to achieve improved passenger rail service in the entire Windsor-Quebec corridor, including Southwestern Ontario.

Sep 15

New Commentary explores how passenger rail service in Northern Ontario could enhance intercommunity connectivity and quality of life

By TAO-admin | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario

A new commentary on the benefits of passenger rail in Northern Ontario has been published by the Northern Policy Institute.  It is authored by three close colleagues of Transport Action Ontario – Lucille Frith ( current board member), Linda Savory-Gordon (past board member) and Howie Wilcox (current board member of Transport Action Canada).


It can be viewed here:

Sep 15

Toronto Subway Uploading Takes First Step

By TAO-admin | Latest News , Urban Transit

One of Premier Ford’s signature campaign promises was to upload responsibility for existing and new subway infrastructure from the City of Toronto. Day-to-day operation and proceeds of fare revenue would remain with the City. (See earlier posts on this website for details and analysis of all transportation campaign promises).

In September, the Province took the first step and appointed an advisor to chair a panel for up to one year to determine “the best approach for the upload”. The advisor is Michael Lindsay, a former Vice President of Infrastructure Ontario and a former director at Hatch, an engineering consultant form.

Subway funding, planning and expansion are complex. Transport Action will follow this analysis very closely, to ensure the best approach is selected for the citizens of Ontario and for transit riders.

Aug 24

SWOTA letter on Environmental Assessment for High Speed Rail in Southwestern Ontario

By TAO-admin | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News

Transport Action Ontario is a core member of the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Alliance (SWOTA).  This group has just sent a letter to Ontario Minister of Transportation John Yakabuski regarding the Environmental Assessment (EA) for High Speed Rail.  SWOTA is encouraging the Minister to remove the restriction placed upon the EA by the previous government and give equal consideration to the High Performance Rail (HPR) alternative.  HPR involves enhancing services over the existing rail corridors.

The SWOTA letter can be viewed here: SWOTA-Yakabuski – August 2018