That train is dead on the tracks.

We are talking about a serious problem. A train dead on the tracks is a hazard for following trains. And an idea promoted by the Wynne government is hardly going to appeal to the Ford government. That leaves us with another progressive idea as an orphan.

I have always been enthusiastic about high speed trains. It was with some hope that I welcomed premier Wynne’s appointment of David Collenette, who served as Jean Chrétien’s transport minister, to study some first steps. While I was quite disappointed with Ms. Wynne’s planned train to nowhere, I was optimistic that Collenette could convince her to go in a more realistic direction. Dougie has now nixed any such possibility.

While I am annoyed by all the whining about Sir John A. Macdonald today, that was a guy who believed in this country and in trains. That, to me, is an unbeatable combination. Wynne had commissioned Collenette to do a study of a high-speed train running between Toronto and Kitchener. (Mind you, I could not figure out why anyone would want to go to Kitchener fast.)

Where we desperately need a 300-kph train is between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. The rail corridors are already there and we can upgrade tracks and have trains ready in just a couple years. The only stipulation is that we keep those damn CN and CP people as far away from it as possible. Those guys move freight and do not understand people. On a high-speed line, people have priority, not the freight.

And Canada must be the last developed country in the world to not have high-speed trains. Would you believe that even Uzbekistan with a population of just over half a million has a high-speed rail line between Samarkand and Tashkent? And that country keeps adding more high-speed service.

Of course, in Canada, some people prefer to spend an hour driving to Pearson Airport and parking, go through the invasive line-ups and demeaning security and wait for their flight for another one and a half hours, and then drive to downtown Montreal—for a total of up to four and a half hours.

If we were sensible people, we would be taking a pleasant, relaxing train that can get us from downtown Toronto to downtown Montreal in about two hours

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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