Updated Feasibility Study of a High Speed Rail Service in the Québec City – Windsor Corridor

The feasibility study for a high speed rail service (HSR) in the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor was conducted on behalf of Transport Canada, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and the Ministry of Transportation of Quebec by EcoTrain, a group of international consulting firms led by Dessau and comprising Deutsche Bahn International, KPMG MMM Group, and Wilbur Smith Associates.

The joint study included an assessment of high speed train technologies; potential routings; traffic forecasts; financial and economic (cost-benefit) analyses. The study also evaluated socioeconomic, environmental and transportation system impacts of developing high speed rail.

The study evaluated two technologies based on speeds of 200 kilometres per hour (km/h) using diesel traction and 300 km/h using electric traction. It further identified potential routes to accommodate each of the 200 and 300 km/h technologies including stations at Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, London and Windsor.

The financial analysis considered a government financing case (wholly public) and a partly private sector-funded case (private sector).  The total development costs in 2009 dollars for the full Quebec City – Windsor Corridor are estimated to be between $18.9 billion for the 200 km/h technology and $21.3 billion for the 300 km/h technology. Developing the section between Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto could cost between $9.1 for 200 km/h and $11 billion for 300 km/h. The main findings from the financial analysis for both the public case and the private sector case for the full Quebec City – Windsor Corridor indicate that while the project could cover all operating costs, governments would need to contribute significantly to the project development cost and receive no financial return on investment.

The economic analysis assessed the viability of the project and its contribution to the economy as a whole by taking into account non-financial costs and benefits, such as changes in atmospheric emissions, public safety improvements and impact of HSR on transportation operators within the corridor. From the point of view of the Canadian economy as a whole, the economic analysis showed that HSR between Quebec City and Windsor would not generate a positive net economic benefit. However, a project between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto only could generate a positive net economic benefit at both 200 and 300 km/h.

In addition, the report makes a number of comprehensive recommendations and suggestions on next steps. 

These documents are available upon request only.

Deliverable # Title Date
2 Detailed Work, Schedule and Project Plan March 2009
3 Review of the Study and Updating Recommendations August 2009
4 Review of Available High Speed Rail Technology June 2010
5 Review of Representative Routing Options June 2010
6 Updating of Construction and Operating Costs:

Part 1: Construction Costs

Part 2: Operating Costs

February 2011

December 2010
7 Demand Forecasting November 2010
8 Review of Transportation Policies in Countries with an Existing High Speed Rail System June 2010
9 Analysis of Environmental and Social Impacts November 2010
10 and 11 Financial and Cost-Benefit Analyses December 2010
12 Review of Impacts of High Speed Rail on the Transportation System within the Corridor November 2010
13 Final Report February 2011