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Political push continues for high-speed rail service in Canada

Click to play video: 'Political push for high-speed train between Quebec and Ontario'
Political push for high-speed train between Quebec and Ontario
WATCH: There is a growing momentum, this time by politicians, to build a high-speed rail between Quebec City and Toronto. Two Montreal city councillors have adopted a motion calling on the federal government to build the new link. For now, Ottawa is committed to increasing train frequency on the busy corridor. But some say anything less than a high-speed train is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Global's Tim Sargeant reports – Feb 16, 2023

Montreal city councillor Craig Sauvé is the latest politician to come out in favour of a high-speed train between Quebec-City and Toronto.

The councillor, along with fellow councillor Serge Sasseville, has tabled a motion calling on the city to formally request the federal government to support high-speed rail service on the corridor.

“There’s a lot of momentum in the right direction for high-speed rail, so we’re trying to keep that momentum going,” Sauvé said.

The mayors of Laval and Quebec City also support the project.

The federal government has already committed to building a new rail service with higher frequency trains on the corridor and that will shave some travel time off for travellers.

But Sauvé says it’s better to build a high-speed train rather than add a new service that primarily increases frequency.

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“We can do this and it’s a question of political will,” Sauvé said.

Alstom, the multinational manufacturer of trains, has built high-speed rail service in 25 countries. Its North American president tells Global News that a high-speed train along the Quebec – Toronto corridor is feasible from a technical, economical and environmental perspective.

“It makes all the sense in the world on that corridor to do high speed,” Michael Keroullé, president and CEO of Alstom Americas, told Global News.

Keroullé says talks are occurring between Alstom and the federal government on the possibilities of building high-speed rail service.

The president says it’s possible to combine high-speed rail service with increased frequency to meet the government’s plans.

“That’s something that can be arranged, so we don’t need to put speed and frequency and oppose them. They’re actually something we can do together,” Keroullé said.

High-speed trains at 300 km/h could travel between Montreal and Toronto in less than three hours.

But some members of Montreal’s business community fear the costs of a new high-speed rail service could be in the tens of billions of dollars.

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“We need to have a current number, we need to know what we’re getting our feet into. And I will say we might decide this time is the good time or we could decide it’s not now,” Michel Leblanc, the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, told Global News.

But many are still hoping a high-speed train will be running at some point in the near future.

Click to play video: 'High-speed rail line between Toronto, Quebec City would cost ‘significantly more’: Alghabra'
High-speed rail line between Toronto, Quebec City would cost ‘significantly more’: Alghabra

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