The train service connecting Quebec to Toronto “will be much faster than many trains in Europe,” Martin Imbleau, president and CEO of the VIA Rail subsidiary responsible for the megaproject, assured in an interview. Press.
In office since September 8, it has “try” to develop sections where cars can travel at speeds of more than 200 km/h and has buried the name “High Frequency Train (TGF)”.
The former boss of the Montreal Port Authority does not hide it: he wants to focus on the lecture, which, in his opinion, crystallized “unfortunately” around the theme of frequency, which casts doubt on other aspects of the project.
“We need three things,” he explained. It should be faster, more reliable [le train] Often there is. Speed is necessary, but not sufficient by itself. »
The multi-billion dollar project, which officially called for tenders last Friday, will be renamed. Its new name will be revealed soon. VIA TGF remains the organization responsible for development.
As Canada is the only G7 country without a high-speed train (TGV) capable of traveling up to 300 km/h, there have been voices especially in Quebec urging the government’s Trudeau to consider the option. Ottawa dismissed the scenario as too expensive, costing up to 80 billion.
What’s on the table isn’t a consolation prize, Mr. Imbleau said. He also said that the railway project connecting Quebec, Montreal and Toronto is not to be envied by what we see on the Old Continent.
“I take these trains in Europe and our service is much faster than many trains in Europe,” Mr Imbleau said. We are used to it [caractère] European trains are bucolic, but here we don’t know. »
Open the door
First, the question of high speed is studied. In the “baseline” scenario, trains run at 200 km/h on passenger-only rail tracks. The journey between the metropolis and the Queen City takes about 4 hours and 10 minutes. However, the three selected consortia will have to propose a more ambitious scenario in which it is possible to target segments where cars can go faster.
“The mandate we have is yes, there is a four-hour scene [entre Montréal et Toronto], but also a scene at 3:30 am, Mr. Imbleau said. Before starting the exact figure, let’s see where and how we can be faster. The minimum is 200 km/h, but we try to be faster. »
Is the existing “good comparable” to the one originating in Canada? According to the boss of VIA TGF, the route connects Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium) and Amsterdam (Netherlands). On the Old Continent, trains connect Paris and Brussels in about 90 minutes, traveling at around 300 km/h. Subsequently, it takes about 2 hours 15 minutes to complete the remaining 200 kilometers to Amsterdam, a journey made with several stops.
On an average, trains travel at a speed of 156 kmph across the entire network.
Mr. The example Imbleau mentions is not that trains travel at 300 km/h in Canada. Rather, it reflects the coexistence between high-speed sections and frequent stops on other sections.
More than one element
The speed of the wagons will only reduce the travel time, emphasized the President and CEO of VIA TGF. We need to be able to enter and leave urban centers as quickly as possible.
“When you take a train today to leave Montreal, the first 15 to 20 minutes will take longer,” Mr. Imbleau emphasized. for what You drive at low speed because it takes forever to get out of the central station. A train traveling at 250 km per hour for half an hour not only saves time. »
These answers come in the pre-project phase, which is conducted with a private group selected at the end of the call for tenders. At this stage of the process, the manager of VIA TGF does not want to make any promises or advance cost and schedule estimates. On these last two points, he says, there’s a “100% chance of being wrong” at the moment.
Calculated by Press “Half-TGV” with high-speed sections on 60% of the route is estimated to cost 62 billion. In case of TGF, the bill fluctuates between 28 and 35 billion.
- 1000 kilometers
- The length of the rail corridor is reserved for TGF passenger trains
Source: Government of Canada
- 120 km per hour
- The maximum visit limit that VIA Rail trains can currently operate
Source: By Rail