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From London to Toronto and back...
by high-speed train?



Update — Thursday, May 1, 5:40 a.m.: Minister Murray has posted his presentation here.


Note: When we noticed an e-mail advising us of an upcoming “rapid transit announcement” by the government of Ontario in London recently, we were puzzled, but we let our imagination run wild. We started to envision an unexpected light rail transit line along Dundas and Richmond Streets connecting Pottersburg in east London through downtown to the University of Western Ontario.

However, since whatever was going on was going on in London — and that’s way beyond the scope of this blog… we didn’t think we were going to be reporting on it.

The reality is, arguably, much more interesting, and definitely affects the transit systems of Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area, a region we definitely cover here.


Ontario’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Glen Murray announced today that the government of Ontario is moving forward with plans for a high-speed rail line that would connect London, Kitchener - Waterloo and Toronto to improve travel options, reduce travel times and support economic development.

The province says it’s committing to finalizing the business case and beginning an environmental assessment for the line by this fall. This process includes, it says, ” identifying the most appropriate route and examining state-of-the-art transportation technology options to better connect residents and businesses between London and Toronto.”

The government claims that “Introducing high-speed rail service between London and Toronto is part of the government’s long-term transit and infrastructure plan, Moving Ontario Forward. This plan would make nearly $29 billion available over the next 10 years for investments in priority infrastructure projects across the province, including public transit, roads, bridges and highways.”

We haven’t seen a lot of details on this plan, and whether it would be part of GO Transit, or the Union Pearson Express — or something else — but the proposal does include a stop at Toronto Pearson International Airport. In a news release, the government says that “the high speed rail line would better connect southwestern Ontario businesses with the global economy.”

We may hear more about this and other planned transit infrastructure improvements tomorrow, Thursday, May 1, when the government presents its 2014 budget.

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