But will it reach Montreal?


US vice president Joe Biden and transportation secretary Ray Lahood announced a plan to ask Congress for $53 billion over six years to build high-speed rail in the US. The Quebec government’s representatives in the US have been pushing for a corridor that would connect eastern US cities with Montreal.

You can read the full announcement here.


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But will it reach Montreal?

  1. Well the US definitely needs high-speed rail.

    So do we!

    But I can't see Congress going for this.

    • I don't know what prices are like in the US, but it's cheaper in Canada to fly or drive than to take low-speed rail. Based on that, all high-speed rail would do is drain the wallet faster.

      • Ahhh there you are.

        Yeah, low-speed rail sucks. High-speed does not.

      • It's cheaper in Canada to fly or drive than to take low-speed rail.

        That's sometimes true, but by no means always. A quick search of VIA Rail's site just now and I got a return ticket from Toronto to Montreal for $230. A quick search of Air Canada's site found that their cheapest rate for the same trip by air is just over $600. Of course there are other airlines, but flying is often more expensive, sometimes significantly so.

        Besides, personally, I'd actually willingly pay more to take the train more times than not. Going through security for flights adds at least two hours to a round trip, so shorter trips aren't much faster by plane than by train. In fact, planes are slower surprisingly often for short trips as the time going through security, plus the time to get to and from the airport to where you're actually going (train stations are more numerous, such that the train can get you right to downtown Montreal or Toronto, whereas the plane is likely going to take you to Dorval or Mississauga, and then you have to figure out how to get to where you're actually going from there) make the trip faster and more efficient by train.

        • Yes, I've priced Toronto to Ottawa in the past and found that, once you get past the bargain basement "seat price" and into the "User Fees and Taxes" area, Air Travel is no cheaper than Via. The gotcha is that that flight is ~45 minutes VS ~5 hours on the train.

          Replace the current fleet with 275kph bullet trains and all of a sudden that becomes a much shorter trip which would attract more traffic away from all the PITA's you list at the Airport and increase passenger throughput to drive down costs more.

          • It varies from trip to trip of course, but I'd at least call the Ottawa trip a 1 hr and 45 min trip since you really ought to be at the airport an hour before boarding (something that's less of a concern with the train).

            When I do the Toronto-Montreal trip it's similar, but I ALSO have to add the 45 minutes extra it'll take me to get from my place to Pearson (vs. my shorter trip to the train station), and the extra 30 mins or so it'll take me to get from Dorval to where I'm actually going (vs. the same trip from Gare Central). Admittedly, the plane might sometimes be marginally faster (though not for me personally as I'm always paranoid about missing flights, so I'd tack on extra leeway to my travel times… but that's a personal choice) though I've rarely seen it much cheaper. Personally, I also find the train to be a more pleasant trip than a flight (more leg room, more comfortable seating, more room to walk around if you choose, etc…) so I'd rarely choose a plane over a train for a train trip of less than 8 hours. Once you're going further than, say, Toronto to Quebec City it's a different story of course.

            Also, of course, if the train was 30% faster (3-3.75 hours to Montreal instead of 4.5-5.5 hours) that alone would make the train a MUCH more compelling choice.

    • Board is eating posts again I see.

      Maybe a ping will work.

  2. If I were Quebec, I'd step in with up front money against the back end power requirements for what is, primarily, an Electrically driven engine fleet these days and leverage the fact that they're a major supplier to the Eastern Seaboard with multiple hydro-right-of-ways available that could be dual purposed.

  3. Will it reach Montreal? Gawd, I sure hope not! Then we'd probably have to shell out for some of this nonsense.

    Hey Joe! That's TRILLION! With a "truh"! Trillion!

    • Good thing you weren't around in 1867.

  4. EMily wrote:
    "Good thing you weren't around in 1867"

    Really,Emily…….what was it like?

    • More progressive than now, kiddo.

  5. Forget Montreal – Vancouver-Seattle-Portland is the natural first HSR connection between Canada and the USA

    • Quebec City – Detroit corridor is the most travelled one in Canada.

      • Most travelled isn't important – what is in it for the US to build a Detroit – Montreal High Speed Track? Whereas Washington and Oregon actively WANT to build a link up to Vancouver. They have most of the rights of way in place. They have cooperative governments. They have an existing intercity link that is carrying more and more passengers every year AND they have the perfect distance for HSR to really outperform flying.

    • Ping

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