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High Speed Rail First Thoughts.


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The Provincial Liberal government announced a high-speed rail plan, linking London, Kitchener/Waterloo, Pearson airport and downtown Toronto.

While I’m a HSR fan and think this is something the province needs, I have a few initial¬†thoughts.

If they indeed plan to have trains running every 1/2 hour, downtown London better look at either building a big parking garage or really ramping up LTC service, I’m hoping this plan includes funding for that.

What effect will this have on local housing prices? It’s quite possible if London becomes a bedroom community of Toronto this will be reflected in housing prices. This has been seen in areas in Europe where high-speed rail already exists.

Will there be an effect in local business keeping employees. If HSR was in place now it would certainly have allowed me to expand my job search when I was looking to K/W and Toronto.

I realize this coming at the eve of a possible election is worth noting but this is also one of those issues that should be independent of partisan politics. Hopefully all side will look at this as something for the future. Just like people opposed the 401 being built, in the end the benefits have been proven.

I am looking forward to hearing more about this in the months ahead.


  1. In 2012, VIA Rail cut service in Southern Ontario because of declining demand.

    In 2014, government thinks that spending billions in a have-not province with finances worse than near-bankrupt California to build a new rail network is a good idea.

    I don’t need to write more. The stupidity makes itself clear.

    • Well then I must be stupid. Imagine if people said that when the 401 was going to be built.

      Every other G8 country is investing in rail infrastructure, it reduces cars on the roads, saving wear and tear on the roads as well as hours stuck in traffic. VIA rail cut service due to increased cuts to their budget.
      If they want to attract current and future riders to use the rails, cutting service is not the way.

      Being able to get to K/W from London in 45 min would have allowed me to increase the range of my job search.

      One of the reasons people don’t take the rails as much is that they can’t rely on VIA to have funding to keep the route open.

      Many people started using the Via route form Stratford to Toronto when it was launched to commute to work everyday, when they cut that route people had to make hard decisions if they could continue to make the trip to Toronto particularly in winter.

      I still have concern’s but writing it off completely does not help anyone.

    • I think the lack of demand has been largely self-fulfilling. I’m convinced that VIA has been actively trying to bankrupt itself by making its service as inconvenient and expensive as possible for years.

      When I lived in London and worked in KW I tried to get some sort of commuter pass for VIA because I didn’t have a car. They said they didn’t offer anything like that in the SW Ontario corridor even though they have them in other areas. I ended up renting a second place in KW because it was cheaper to maintain 2 homes than to commute by train.

      A couple of years ago my husband tried to take a large group on a trip with VIA. Instead of negotiating a group discount, they ADDED fees. This was months in advance – they chartered a plane instead.

      As long as their services are more inconvenient, expensive and slow than other options, they will create their own demand problem.

  2. VIA cut rail service where GO is looking to expand. The problem is the price: VIA is just too expensive to use often where you can commute daily on GO.

    I look forward to having more rail service to this area. One of the reasons we chose to move to St. Marys was because it had semi-frequent rail service to Toronto (even though it was the expensive VIA). Almost immediately after we moved they cut the number of trips and so we haven’t been able to use it like we intended and have had to drive into Toronto instead. As you said Stuart, it is an election year but I hope it does actually happen. It will do wonders for congestion and getting more cars (including ours!) off the road.

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