A future built on nostalgia.

The measure of another person’s intelligence is often measured on his or her ability to agree with you. That was why I was delighted the other day to receive a proposal from a regular reader for electric high-speed passenger rail service across Canada. I have always felt confident that I am hardly the only Canadian convinced of the importance of the idea.

In my case, it is partly nostalgia. As a youngster I spent time with my father when he was working on the electrical requirements of manufacturing operations in what is now the Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo area of Ontario. At the time, Cambridge was known as Galt, Preston and Hespeler. These municipalities were interconnected by highways and the Grand River Street Railway.

First incorporated in 1895, the electric street railway in the area was an efficient conveyance for people and goods between a growing network of municipalities. It lasted until the passenger service was discontinued in 1955, as it was no longer profitable.

But high-speed passenger rail service is profitable in most major countries of the world. Why not in Canada? While there have been many high-speed train proposals, particularly in the Windsor-London-Kitchener-Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City corridor, we have never had politicians with the will to carry the idea forward.

But any politician who really cares about the environment has little choice. Airplanes pollute, diesel trains pollute. And any frequent flyer can tell you that flying any distance less that 500 kilometres is slower and less efficient by airplane. It is the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor that should be first to have high-speed train service.

As our first prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald knew in 1867, Canada needed a railroad to tie the country together. Today, we need modern trains to continue to bring our country together.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me


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