Quebec City–Windsor Corridor (Via Rail)
The Corridor (French: Ligne de Québec à Windsor) is a Via Rail passenger train service area in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. The Corridor service area has the heaviest passenger train frequency in Canada and it contributes 67% of Via's revenue.
|Owner|| Canadian National|
|Locale||Quebec City–Windsor Corridor|
|Termini||Windsor, Sarnia, Niagara Falls,|
|Stations||Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Kingston, Guelph, Kitchener, London|
|Website||Via Rail - Ontario and Québec|
|Ridership||4,782,493 (FY 2019)|
|Number of tracks||2+|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Operating speed||Up to 100 mph (160 km/h)|
During the 1970s and early 1980s, CN and later Via Rail operated the Turbo Train on existing freight rail trackage. This equipment was later replaced by the Bombardier LRC (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) train sets. Beginning in the 1980s and through the 1990s, Via Rail, Bombardier and the provincial and federal governments studied the feasibility of establishing a dedicated high-speed passenger rail network linking Quebec City–Montreal–Ottawa–Toronto–Windsor similar to the French TGV as a means of reducing domestic air and highway travel between these destinations.
After a hiatus of ten years, a feasibility study on launching a high-speed rail service in the Corridor will be updated at the joint cost of the federal government, Ontario and Quebec. On November 14, 2011, the three governments officially released the final report of a high-speed rail study for this corridor.
In 2009–2010, Via used C$300 million of government stimulus money to upgrade segments of the Corridor. Notable track improvements planned were an additional 70 km (43 mi) of third main track in four segments, and a short segment of fourth main track, as well as additional yard tracks at three locations. Improvements were made to several stations along the line, with new station buildings being constructed at Belleville and Cobourg, and additional platforms for existing stations at Brockville and Oshawa. The improvements were planned to reduce delays along the route and to allow for a reduction in travel time of up to 30 minutes from end to end. They were intended to allow Via to introduce two new round-trip trains from Toronto to both Montreal and Ottawa without requiring the acquisition of new equipment.
High Frequency RailEdit
On July 6, 2021, Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra announced that the federal government would launch the procurement process to build a high-frequency rail corridor between Toronto and Quebec City by 2030. The cost of the project is expected to be between $6 billion and $12 billion. The current plan is to have trains travel up to 200 km/h (120 mph) on a line that would run from Toronto to Quebec City through Peterborough, Ottawa, Montreal, Laval, and Trois-Rivières. As opposed to current operations along the Corridor, the trains would run on dedicated passenger rail tracks, improving service reliability since the trains wouldn't have to compete with freight rail trains. Service reliability could increase to 95 percent, up significantly from its current 67 percent. Travel times are projected to be decreased by 90 minutes on some routes, such as between Ottawa and Toronto. 90 percent of the route is planned to run on electricity. The announcement was criticized as a political move since there was speculation of a federal election being held later in the year, which was later confirmed on August 15.
Inter-city service along the Corridor is provided by several different routes connecting the different cities served by the service. There is no single route the travels the entire length of the Corridor from Windsor to Quebec City. Via runs a mix of local-service and express trains in the Corridor. The Corridor service area has the heaviest passenger train frequency in Canada, with 36 Via trains traversing the route daily. About 67% of Via's revenue comes from Corridor routes.
Via trains that start and end within the geographic region of the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor are branded as a part of the Corridor service. Other inter-city trains from outside the Corridor may have their terminus at stations in the Corridor, such as the Canadian and the Ocean, but are marketed by their respective train names and are not considered to be Corridor services.
The Maple Leaf, a through service from Toronto to New York City, operated jointly with Amtrak, is crewed by Via as trains 97 and 98 on VIA schedules, between Toronto and Niagara Falls, and can be considered part of Corridor services as well. It is the only scheduled rail service from the Corridor line from Burlington to Niagara Falls.
- The GO Transit Kitchener line shares tracks with Via trains for its entire route from Toronto Union Station to Kitchener Station.
- The GO Transit Lakeshore West line shares tracks with Via trains from Toronto Union Station to Bayview junction, just west of Aldershot Station. The Lakeshore West line Niagara Branch shares tracks with Via trains for its entire route from Toronto Union Station to Niagara Falls.
- The GO Transit Lakeshore East line shares tracks with Via trains from Toronto Union Station to Durham Junction, just west of Pickering Station. Between Pickering and Oshawa, GO trains use a separate parallel line immediately north of the CN/Via tracks.
- The Exo Mont-Saint-Hilaire line shares tracks with Via trains for its entire route from Montreal Central Station to Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
- The Exo Vaudreuil-Hudson line operates in the same corridor as Via trains from Dorion to Lachine, but does not share tracks with Via trains. Exo trains operate on CP tracks, while Via trains operate on parallel CN tracks.
Most of the trackage that Via trains use along the Corridor is owned by the Canadian National Railway. Via owns three former freight lines long the Corridor, one from Smiths Falls to Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec via Ottawa; one from Smiths Falls to Brockville; and one from Chatham, Ontario to Windsor, Ontario. Via Corridor trains run on three segments of tracks owned by Metrolinx; one from Burlington, Ontario to Pickering, Ontario; one from Toronto Union Station to Malton, Mississauga; and one from Georgetown, Ontario to Kitchener, Ontario. The proposed High Frequency Rail plan calls for adding Corridor services between Toronto and Quebec City that run on newly constructed dedicated tracks.
- "Annual Report 2019" (PDF). viarail.ca. Via Rail Canada. p. 9. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- Greenaway, Norma (January 10, 2008). "Ontario-Quebec to study rapid rail link". National Post.[dead link]
- "High-Speed Passenger Rail Study Released". Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Warwick, Peter (December 2009). "Via's bold Corridor plan". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing.
- Westoll, Nick (July 6, 2021). "Feds set to begin procurement process for Toronto-Quebec City high-frequency rail corridor | Globalnews.ca". Global News. Retrieved 2021-08-16.
- Boisvert, Nick (July 5, 2021). "Liberals announce plans for new 'high frequency' rail lines from Toronto to Quebec City". CBC News. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
- "SUMMARY OF THE 2017 – 2021 CORPORATE PLAN AND 2017 OPERATING AND CAPITAL BUDGETS" (PDF). Via Rail. 2017.