You can tell election season is coming, because big promises are being announced by the Ontario government. Nonetheless, the announcement of high-speed rail coming to the Toronto-Windsor corridor is music to my ears.
Not only will it do exactly what it sounds like – get people from point A to point B faster – but it also opens up opportunities for the millions of people who live in this corridor, including in Wellington.
High-speed rail is not a new concept. Anyone who has visited Europe and used the international rail system will know it is a far superior travel experience than here in Ontario.
The idea is a glimmer of hope for our current lethargic transit system (where are my weekend Guelph-Toronto trains?). Ontario is only announcing step one in what is sure to be a long and very expensive process.
There is a lot to look forward to, including: a better commute (you’ll be able to take a job a little farther away), a better tourist experience (visitors to Ontario will be able to get out of Toronto to explore the many beauties of southwestern Ontario), business growth (it will open up the lines for companies, including better connections for the technology industry) and reduction of cars (with a faster way to travel, it could alleviate the terrible congestion on the 401 and cut emissions).
I hope this will be step one in a country-wide high-speed rail system – because it’s about damn time.
Too soon to know
High-speed rail may finally be coming to Ontario.
As a traveller who revelled in the 300km speeds that took me from Rome to Venice in no time, this is great news.
It’s about time Canada optimized rail use to cover its massive expanse of land.
But it’s still unclear how this high-speed rail option will be better than current VIA services.
Sure, the train itself will be faster, but what about all of the delays and cancellations that plague the VIA system? It would use some of the same rail after all.
One of the only times my train was ever on time (trust me I know train travel, having lived in London and Ottawa) I was late and did a movie-style run through Toronto’s Union Station, literally shoving people out of the way, and jumped on the train moments before it pulled out of the station.
If these new high-speed trains are meant to be a reliable form of transportation (think travelling to Pearson airport), rather than grumble about when the service will be available, future passengers need to be asking how their arrival time will be guaranteed.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a passenger car watching a freight train slowly chug by when there’s somewhere important you need to be.
While the idea is great, maybe we should hold back our applause until we know just how high-speed trains will bypass Canada’s current rail problems.