Hyperloop hardly halts high-speed trains.

Do you want to be sent by pipeline down the Montreal-Toronto corridor? They are suggesting that the city to city trip will be in as little as 39 minutes. It sounds like a great idea but I am not sure that 39 minutes of claustrophobia, g-forces and sheer terror would be worth it.

Damn it all, if I am going to travel across Ontario to go to Montreal, I want to be able to look out the window. Hyperloop systems remind me of those tubes in the old ‘five and ten’ and other large stores that sucked in round containers and distributed them to other departments. I was always surprised when my change and receipt came, with a plop, back to where I was waiting.

My old friend David Collenette, former Prime Minister Chrétien’s transport minister, is currently doing an environmental assessment for Premier Wynne on a high-speed train line from Windsor to Toronto. It is just part of Wynne’s contrariness that she wants to go backwards to Windsor before she goes forward to Montreal.

I have been a proponent of high-speed electric trains for Canada for many years and I have always felt like a voice in the wilderness. What drives me nuts on the issue is that Quebec has all kinds of cheap electrical energy available for this project and some form of pernicious separatism has prevented Quebec politicians from getting behind the need for high-speed electrified trains. Airplanes, buses, automobiles and diesel locomotives pollute. High-speed electric trains cause the least pollution.

Ontario was a world leader in interurban trolley systems back at the turn of the 20th Century and gradually got rid of them with the growth of the automobile and congested highways. It amazes me that all these politicians can give lip service to environmentalism and yet never get serious about electrified train systems.

It has always seemed to be rejection of our first prime minister’s, Sir John A. Macdonald’s dream of Canada that we have not followed through on keeping this country linked by modern railways. Are we the last country in the G-20 to recognize the value of electrified, high-speed trains?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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