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The Toronto to Montreal high-speed train just got another step closer


Toronto city council says it supports the creation of a high-speed train that would connect the city with Montreal.

In a motion, council joined Oshawa in backing the creation of a high-speed rail network along the Quebec-Toronto corridor, which officials say would reduce travel between the two cities to just under three hours.

A normal train ride from Toronto to Montreal takes an average of five hours.

“The high-speed train could have enormous leverage effects for the economic and cultural development of the major cities located in this corridor, notably Montreal,” the motion, proposed by Councillor Paul Ainslie, read.

“Over the next ten years, Quebec and Ontario alone plan to spend $56 billion on their road network, an amount that represents approximately twice the cost of a high-speed train between Quebec and Toronto.”

In February, two Montreal city councillors asked the federal government for support building the rail network. A pitch by manufacturing company Alstom—who is currently piloting a green hydrogen train on the Charlevoix railway—has already been made.

The federal government instead said they are looking at a High Frequency Rail project along the corridor and are in the process of looking for a private partner to develop it.

A section of Ottawa's proposed High-Frequency Rail network is seen in this image. (Via Rail Canada)

At the time, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the government would be open to looking into whether trains should be allowed to go faster than 200km/h. However, councillors argue this is significantly slower than that of a high-speed train, which has the capacity of travelling at about 250 km/hr.

In Toronto’s motion, councillors argue that a high-frequency train would “only slightly reduce the travel time” and “therefore make the project much less attractive to the population.”

“If Canada wants to significantly reduce its green house gas emissions and reach its targets promised to the international community, significant sums will have to be invested in public transit, particularly in rail transportation,” it read.

The motion was adopted on March 30.

The Kathleen Wynne Liberal government proposed a 250 km/hr high-speed train that would have travelled from Toronto to Windsor in just two hours, but funding was paused in 2019 by the Doug Ford government. Top Stories

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