Last year, Canada announced that a new high frequency rail could be coming between Toronto and Quebec City, and now it looks like we’re one step closer to this reality.

According to the government of Canada, the “High Frequency Rail will transform passenger rail service in Canada through the creation of a faster, more frequent, more accessible and more sustainable rail service among the major centres of Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Montréal, Ottawa, Peterborough and Toronto.”

VIA Rail previously stated that trains could travel at speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, reducing travel times from Ottawa to Toronto to as low as 3 hours and 15 minutes from current travel times of approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.

On Wednesday, Minister of Tranport Omar Alghabra announced that the government is officially launching a Request for Expressions of Interest seeking the advice and views from industry on the High Frequency Rail project.

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“High Frequency Rail is a transformational project that promises to fundamentally change the way Canadians travel in southern Ontario and Quebec, improving accessibility, and providing more travel flexibility,” said Alghabra, calling today’s Request for Expressions of Interest the first major step in the development of this project.

The government has stated that the High Frequency Rail is the largest transportation infrastructure project that Canada has seen in decades.

The Request issued today is the chance for it to get feedback from private sector, as well as Indigenous communities.

“As the participation of Indigenous Peoples is essential to the success of High Frequency Rail, the Government of Canada will seek a private sector partner that prioritizes and values meaningful relationships with Indigenous Peoples. The Government of Canada will carefully consider the views of Indigenous Peoples throughout the project and encourage collaboration with Indigenous businesses,” it states.

VIA Rail and its employees will also play a part in the discussions as the project continues to evolve.

Image via VIA Rail of proposed track

“Many key benefits would be provided to travellers through an electrified High Frequency Rail system, including shorter travel times and faster trains, improved on-time performance, higher frequencies, and more direct routes with improved connectivity between cities and to other modes of transportation,” said Annie Koutrakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.

If all goes to plan, the High Frequency Rail service could be fully operational in the early 2030s.