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Company pushes for high-speed rail
 
reprinted from Red Deer Express (Mark Weber) April 2, 2008
 
If Alberta High Speed Rail Inc. has its way, Albertans could be zipping between Calgary and Edmonton via high speed rail in five years.

Ralph Garrett, vice president of the Calgary-based company spoke at the Kiwanis meeting this week about the project which could cost about $1.8 billion.

Talk of high speed rail in Alberta has been going on for years, but Garrett said the time is now to launch the project.

All that's needed is the province's full support, and he said Premier Stelmach is enthusiastic about the concept.

Garrett, who just returned from checking out rail systems in Europe, said passengers could travel from Calgary to Edmonton in just 84 minutes.

He said the line would have the potential of carrying 16,000 passengers each hour. Tracks would cover a width of just 35 metres, so Garrett said the impact on land-use is minimal.

It's also a boon to the environment, as the trains would be powered by electricity. The air would then be spared about 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, he said.

The proposed track route, which hasn't been nailed down, could run west of the QE II highway with a stopover in Red Deer.

"It's all about time. People's time is one of the most precious things we've got. It's also about productivity. If you've got more time, you can get more done with your life," he said.

"By bringing in a better transportation system in this province, we'll be able to attract all kinds of new industry as well," he said.

As for the price tag, Garrett said the project would largely be funded by western Canadian investors, but a private-public partnership would cost the province about $120 million per year.

Garrett said if the province gave the project the green light tomorrow, the trains could be in operation within five years.

"Is it imminent? I hope so -- we've been working on this long enough."

Meanwhile, the province is studying results from the High Speed Rail Market Assessment Study that will help decide if the project is feasible.

Results from the study could be available within a few weeks, said Jerry Bellikka, spokesperson for Infrastructure and Transportation.

The province launched the study to get a handle on how many commuters actually make the Edmonton-Calgary trip each day.

Cameras were installed at three spots along the route to gauge if drivers were making the entire trek.

Interviews have also been conducted at airports and bus stations to see if travellers would consider using high-speed rail.

They were also asked if they would take it, how much they would be willing to pay if they did.

Bellikka said there is a wide range of options when choosing a high speed rail service and the cost range could go all the way up to $24 billion.

"What we as a government need to look at is whether the growth in our province over the next 10 to 15 years would justify an expense like that," he said.

"We're going to see if there is a business case there, and if so, how would it work."
 


News articles related to high speed rail
(Forth Junction supports the concept of a future rapid passenger rail service connecting major destinations as efficient and enviro-friendly but is not directly advocating for any specific high speed rail proposal):

       News article: Talk of high-speed rail line picking up steam?
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2013)
       News article: City touting high-speed rail stop at downtown station
(Red Deer Advocate Jan.2013)
       News article: Fast-tracking bullet train a ticket to nowhere
(Red Deer Advocate Dec.2011)
       Commentary: Steam good alternative for high-speed rail link
(Red Deer Advocate Apr.2011)
       News article: Business officials laud rail proposals
(Red Deer Advocate Apr.2011)
       News article: Chamber pressing high-speed rail plan
(Red Deer Advocate Jan.2011)
       Editorial: Train's future needs path
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2010)
       News article: Project creates issues for rural residents
(Red Deer Advocate Nov.2010)
       Editorial: High speed rail back on
(Red Deer Advocate July 2010)
       News article: Rail plan returns
(Red Deer Advocate July 2010)
       News article: Get moving on high-speed rail link: expert
(Red Deer Advocate June 2010)
       News article: Rural groups want high-speed rail study
(Red Deer Advocate March 2010)
       News article: Political will lags behind train debate
(Red Deer Advocate Oct.2009)
       News article: Province offers update on high speed rail (Red Deer Express July 2009)
        
News article: Rail group projects service in five years (Red Deer Advocate April 2008)

Rise and Fall of Passenger Rail in the C&E Corridor
 
 

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