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Infrastructure Bank commits $55M for VIA’s high frequency rail proposal for Quebec City-Toronto corridor

The funding will be used to establish a Joint Project Team using Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail Canada’s expertise, as well as external advisors.


The Government of Canada and Canada Infrastructure Bank are committing a total of $71.1 million in funding to further explore VIA Rail Canada’s proposal for High Frequency Rail in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor.

The funding will be used to establish a Joint Project Team and fund work to preserve the option of interoperability with regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto.

The Joint Project Team, between Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail Canada, will be established using the $55 million in funding from Canada Infrastructure Bank.

This Joint Project Team will explore the possibility of High Frequency Rail in Quebec City-Toronto Corridor, focusing on the following activities throughout 2019 to 2020:

  • finalizing legal and regulatory work related to safety and environmental assessments;
  • consulting with stakeholders and Indigenous communities;
  • examining required land and track acquisition; and
  • completing the technical, financial and commercial analysis required for a final investment decision on High Frequency Rail in the Corridor.

The balance of the funding, $16.1 million, including $5 million still available from Budget 2018, is for Transport Canada and VIA Rail Canada to support VIA Rail Canada’s contributions to the important work of the Joint Project Team.

It will also fund technical work to ensure the interoperability and integration of High Frequency Rail with operating tracks used by local and regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto. This includes track work in Montreal’s Mont-Royal Tunnel to enable VIA Rail Canada’s heavy rail trains to operate on this segment of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail system. This important piece of preliminary work is needed so that the different rail systems work together should High Frequency Rail proceed in the future.

This exploratory work will require Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail Canada’s expertise, as well as external advisors.

Approximately 72% of VIA Rail Canada’s passengers travelled through the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor in 2018, which accounts for 66% of the network’s revenues.

This announcement marks the third investment by the Infrastructure Bank, the first two were other rail-related projects: the $1.28 billion backing of Montreal’s Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light rail project; and the more recent $2 billion in financing for Ontario’s GO Expansion – On Corridor project.