High Speed Rail


High speed trains running between Toronto and Windsor could cut your journey time in half.


High Speed Rail

Learn what high speed rail means to you and your community.

  1. What it can do

  2. How high speed rail is different

  3. Why the Toronto-Windsor corridor

  4. 7 proposed station stops

  5. Path to delivering high speed rail

  6. High speed rail environmental assessment

  7. Project timeline

We're moving ahead with preliminary work to build a high speed rail system between Toronto and Windsor. The first phase of this project will begin with service from Toronto to London. The second phase of construction will expand service from London to Windsor.

Over the next 60 years, the economic benefits from high speed rail are expected to yield over $20 billion from:

  • passenger travel time savings

  • automobile operating cost savings

  • greenhouse gas reduction benefits

  • benefits from reduced congestion on roads

There’s a lot to be done to realize these benefits, including an environmental assessment and engaging with the people, Indigenous communities, businesses and municipalities who could be affected.

1) What it can do

High speed rail has the potential to:

  • increase transit options

  • reduce travel times by 40-60%

  • attract new visitors, businesses and talent to the province

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions

We will update this page as we continue to reach important milestones.

2) How high speed rail is different

In Ontario, we define high speed rail as a system with trains that operate at or above 250 km/h on dedicated tracks or at 200 km/h on existing tracks. It’s a system that allows commuters to travel smoothly and contains:

  • state of the art infrastructure

  • stations

  • trains

  • operations

  • management

  • regulations

Here are some key differences between high-speed rail and other types of rail service:

Long-distance passenger rail

Commuter rail

High speed rail

Speed80 – 160 km/h130 – 175 km/h175 – 300 km/h

PowerDiesel-electricDiesel-electricElectric

TracksSome parts shared with freight railSome parts shared with freight railExclusive to passenger service

Typical station distance15-30 km apart30-50 km apart50-100 km apart

High speed rail is in place across Europe, Japan and the east coast of the United States. Canada is the only G8 country without a high speed rail system.

3) Why the Toronto-Windsor corridor

The Toronto-Windsor corridor is a growing region that is currently home to more than 7 million people and 3.4 million jobs.

This region is an ideal candidate for high-speed rail because it’s:

  • a hub for leading start-ups, research institutions, and manufacturing and agricultural sectors

  • home to existing regional transit systems and Canada’s largest and busiest airport

  • growing faster than its current transportation network can accommodate

4) 7 proposed station stops

The proposed high speed rail system will include 7 stops, constructed in two phases:

Phase 1: Toronto → Pearson Airport/Malton → Guelph → Kitchener-Waterloo → London Phase 2: London → Chatham → Windsor

This map demonstrates a concept level route only.

The environmental assessment, public and stakeholder input and design process will help us confirm the station locations and final route.

Toronto Union

Potential location

The existing Union GO station: 141 Bay St., Toronto

Estimated journey time to…

  • Pearson Airport/Malton: 16 minutes

  • Guelph: 39 minutes

  • Kitchener-Waterloo: 48 minutes

  • London: 73 minutes

  • Chatham: 102 minutes

  • Windsor: 124 minutes

Connected systems

  • TTC

  • VIA Rail

  • Union Pearson (UP) Express

  • GO Transit

Related projects

  • GO Regional Express Rail expansion

  • GO Rail Network Electrification

Pearson Airport/Malton

Potential location

The existing Malton GO Station: 3060 Derry Rd. E, Mississauga

Estimated journey time to…

  • Toronto Union: 16 minutes

  • Guelph: 23 minutes

  • Kitchener-Waterloo: 32 minutes

  • London: 57 minutes

  • Chatham: 86 minutes

  • Windsor: 108 minutes

Connected systems

  • Planned connections to Pearson International Airport Terminals 1 and 3

  • TTC

  • GO Transit

  • Union Pearson (UP) Express

  • Brampton Transit

  • Mississauga Transit

  • Opportunity for future partnership with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority on multimodal hub plan

Related projects

  • GO Rail Network Electrification

Guelph

Potential location

The existing Guelph central station: 79 Carden St.

Estimated journey time to…

  • Toronto Union: 39 minutes

  • Pearson Airport/Malton: 23 minutes

  • Kitchener-Waterloo: 9 minutes

  • London: 34 minutes

  • Chatham: 63 minutes

  • Windsor: 85 minutes

Connected systems

  • Guelph Transit

  • GO Transit

Related projects

  • GO Regional Express Rail expansion

Kitchener-Waterloo

Potential location

The King/Victoria Transit Hub, a new multimodal station slightly west of the existing VIA Rail station

Estimated journey time to…

  • Toronto Union: 48 minutes

  • Pearson Airport/Malton: 32 minutes

  • Guelph: 9 minutes

  • London: 25 minutes

  • Chatham: 54 minutes

  • Windsor: 76 minutes

Connected systems

  • LRT – Waterloo’s ION Light Rail Transit system

  • Grand River Transit buses

  • GO Transit

Related projects

  • Waterloo ION light rail

London

Potential location

The existing London railway station: 205 York St.

Estimated journey time to…

  • Toronto Union: 73 minutes

  • Pearson Airport/Malton: 57 minutes

  • Guelph: 34 minutes

  • Kitchener-Waterloo: 25 minutes

  • Chatham: 29 minutes

  • Windsor: 51 minutes

Connected systems

  • Shift – London’s planned bus rapid transit system

  • Station is close to the existing Greyhound bus terminal

Related projects

  • Shift bus rapid transit project

  • Thames Valley corridor plan (pdf)

Chatham

Potential location

The existing Chatham VIA Rail station: 360 Queen St.

Estimated journey time to…

  • Toronto Union: 102 minutes

  • Pearson Airport/Malton: 86 minutes

  • Guelph: 63 minutes

  • Kitchener-Waterloo: 54 minutes

  • London: 29 minutes

  • Windsor: 22 minutes

Connected systems

  • Chatham-Kent Transit

Windsor

Potential location

A new station near the downtown.

Estimated journey time to…

  • Toronto Union: 124 minutes

  • Pearson Airport/Malton: 108 minutes

  • Guelph: 85 minutes

  • Kitchener-Waterloo: 76 minutes

  • London: 51 minutes

  • Chatham: 22 minutes

Connected systems

  • Transit Windsor

5) Path to delivering high speed rail

Work to bring high speed rail to Ontario involves three main streams.

1. Corridor planning, design and environmental assessment (EA)

The first phase of the corridor planning and EA work will be done in two coordinated segments. The first segment from Toronto to Kitchener-Waterloo is within the existing GO Regional Express Rail corridor and will be coordinated with Metrolinx.

The second segment between Kitchener-Waterloo and London is a new corridor.

EA Terms of Reference

We’ve advertised a contract for a firm to develop the EA Terms of Reference. This is the first step in the corridor planning and Individual EA study process.

The EA Terms of Reference will provide a framework for how the subsequent planning, design, and EA study will be conducted. This includes the approach to consultation and engagement, assessment of alternatives, and impact mitigation.

We expect to begin EA Terms of Reference work in the near future. We’ve issued a Notice of Study Commencement.

Consultations

We’re committed to engaging with stakeholders, municipalities and communities in the Toronto-Windsor corridor. There will be a number of consultation opportunities throughout the planning, design and EA process which will allow us to better understand the thoughts and views of community members and provide opportunities to learn more about high speed rail. More details regarding these opportunities will be available as the program moves forward.

2. Governance, corporate and financial design

The high speed rail Planning Advisory Board will provide focused strategic advice on high speed rail, engage with the private sector, build partnerships, and raise the profile of Ontario’s high speed rail program. The members will serve on a part-time basis for a maximum three-year term.

Planning Advisory Board

On February 13, 2018 the honourable David Collenette was appointed as Chair of the Planning Advisory Board. More members are under consideration, however, it is too early to announce any appointments. We are looking for candidates who bring a breadth and depth of expertise to the project. Representation is also expected from the Indigenous and agricultural communities.

Cost estimates

High speed rail is a completely new mode of transportation for Canada and all aspects of the project must be explored in detail. This work is in early stages and we will develop more detailed cost estimates over time as the project proceeds through the EA process. We will need to do additional design work, service planning, modelling, and stakeholder engagement before the overall cost can be determined.

3. Regulatory and standards development

We will coordinate with Transport Canada, VIA Rail and other regulatory bodies to develop regulatory and safety standards.

Optimizing connections with GO Transit, VIA Rail, local and intercity transit will be critical to the success of the service. We’ll be working closely with rail and transit service providers and our municipal partners as corridor planning and environmental assessment work for high speed rail advances. No decisions made preclude the future expansion of high speed rail or the development of other rail services in the region.

6) High speed rail environmental assessment

An environmental assessment is a legislated planning and decision-making process that ensures governments and public bodies consider potential environmental effects before beginning an infrastructure project.

For high speed rail, this means considering how all aspects of the project (e.g. how stations and facilities are built, track locations, energy requirements, expected ridership, parking needs) could affect all aspects of the environment. This includes the land (e.g. in environmentally sensitive areas), water quality, air quality, noise or vibration levels and much more.

New train and safety standards for high speed rail will also need to be developed with Transport Canada and used to inform the environmental assessment process.

Engaging Indigenous communities

We will work with Indigenous communities in the corridor at all stages of the high-speed rail project to ensure they are meaningfully engaged in the initiative.

Digital mapping

We’re starting work on a number of fronts to deliver high speed rail, including background studies to inform corridor planning and design of the environmental assessment, development of standards and service planning.

Part of the early development work includes the creation of a base map of an area between Guelph and London. To develop an accurate map, aerial photographs are taken following markers on the ground that pin point known coordinates that serve as references in the map making process. This map will be used to help planners define and consider a range of corridor alternatives.

7) Project timeline

2031

High speed rail extension to Windsor projected to be complete

2025

High speed rail between Toronto and London projected to be complete

March 2018

Ontario issues Notice of Study Commencement

February 2018

Ontario appoints David Collenette as Chair of HSR Planning Advisory Board

May 2017

Ontario announces we’re moving ahead with preliminary design work on the high speed rail projectand investing $15 million in a comprehensive environmental assessment

December 2016

Ontario's Special Advisor on high speed rail submits his recommendations for high speed rail in the Toronto-Windsor corridor

October 2015

Ontario appoints David Collenette as Special Advisor on High Speed Rail

December 2014

Ontario announces plans to proceed with an environmental assessment and consultations for high speed rail in the Toronto-Windsor corridor

All Information in this Blog comes from from https://www.ontario.ca/page/high-speed-rail


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