Monday, August 27, 2012

High Speed Rail in Alberta

9th Avenue, SE Calgary
A few years ago the Alberta Government had purchased some land off Canadian Pacific Railway, on 9th Avenue SE, Calgary - the southern border of the East Village. That land is destined to be one of Calgary's High-Speed Rail stations. Since the idea first came up, around 1995, there hasn't been a decision to "go for it" but there also hasn't been a decision against it. The project is still under considerations and developments.
The new land of the Alberta Government as bought from CPR;
Destined to be the new downtown station for the High-Speed Rail

The Alberta route would be an almost straight alignment to the existing CPR tracks between Calgary and Edmonton, including Red Deer as well. The route is planned to go as follows:
A station would be set on the southern border of the East Village here in Calgary, placed on 9th Avenue, SE, right off the Inglewood bridge. From there, the line would proceed north, crossing the Bow River on a new bridge up to the city's Airport station near 96th Avenue NE and Deerfoot Trail where a big parking lot would be provided. Still heading north from there, the route is said to run on the west side of the CPR right-of-way past Airdrie to its next stop in Red Deer, with a station located west of the city. Then, still in perfect alignment to the CPR tracks, the route would carry on northward to Edmonton with a station above Grandin LRT station. Crossing the High Level Bridge, the train would continue to a suburban station in South Edmonton which would include a big parking space. The train would then proceed to its final Edmonton destination, near the city's international Airport. There are proposed plans to extend the line with access to other destinations within Calgary and Edmonton

Even though an official statement is yet to be released to the public, all signs indicate that a Bullet-Speed Train is coming to Alberta; the latest construction up by 96th Avenue NE has accounted for the proposed rail and made room for the tracks to come; the provincial Government bought some land intended to be turned into a station.
It's very exciting that the downtown station of this train will be in the East Village; it's sure to increase popularity and flow of people through the developing neighbourhood.
Economically, there is a fear that the $20Billion project might not be worth it after a report in '08, published by the Transportation Economics and Management Systems, Inc. along with Oliver Wyman. The report stated that the majority of the travelers would still use their vehicles and not the fast train. The money would not be spent merely on construction, but also the purchasing of lands within the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, where some farmers might be reluctant to sell. However, there is hope that by ensuring all rail-related production and manufacturing facilities be built and set in Alberta - and not imported - and with the amount of new jobs available as a result from this huge project, the province's economy would grow. One of the main benefits of a fast train would be the reduction of Green House emissions - by the tonnes. Also, traveling by the High-Speed Rail would reduce traveling time by more than half, transporting persons 298km in just 84 minutes. Whether these benefits win over the economic fear is still to be seen.

West Coast Rail
Clearly, Alberta would not be the only province to enjoy the benefits of a High-Speed Rail; Central Canada and the West Coast are two areas in Canada also in anticipation to similar exciting services. Each of these two lines will also connect Canada to the U.S.
Central Canada Rail

Alberta High-Speed Rail: Home

Government of Alberta: High-Speed Rail

Parliament: High-Speed Rail Discussion

Alberta Infrastructure & Transportation: Economic Benefits

Go Transit: Electrification in Canada

Wikipedia: High-Speed Rail in Canada

Open File: High Speed Rail Timeline

City of Calgary; 96th Avenue NE Road Extension

Canada West Foundation: What's Holding Up the Train?

VancouverSun: No Economic Sense

1 comment:

  1. By the time it's built, we'll have Star Trek style transporters! Seriously though, I wish the gov't would figure out the route already. They need space on the Blackfoot truck stop lands for the rail line and the lack of a plan is holding up any development there. Everyone agrees a truck stop is not needed there any more and it's an ideal location for a grocery store which is more essential in our neighbourhood.