jp1822 wrote:Actually, what happened to that 125 mph Bombardier (spelling?) engine that kinda looked like an Acela Express Power Car or HHP-8 electric in States? Would Canada be better off on an incremental approach for achieving high speed rail? There does seem to be a relatively large chunk of straight ROW from Montreal to Toronto for incremental improvements (tilting trains, a diesel train that could reach 125 mph for starters etc.). Not sure if the LRC coaches tilt or could be certified for 125 mph running.
I'm not sure whatever happened to the Bombardier JetTrain (that's what you were referring to), which was essentially a diesel turbo powered version of the Acela. Amtrak tested it but didn't buy, and I don't know if VIA ever gave it any thought.
The Quebec City-Windsor Corridor could definitely accommodate faster trains, with appropriate improvements, but it's not at that point right now. The LRCs used to tilt, but the active banking system proved to be far too problematic and expensive to maintain, so it has been deactivated and the rebuilt coaches will have the entire system removed. As has been pointed too, good super-elevation can provide much the same effect (for passenger comfort). Right now, the LRCs have recently been limited to 90mph in the corridor, while the Renaissance cars are permitted 100mph running. The problem here is that CN sets the speed limits. The LRCs were running 100mph fine, but CN decided to limit them, and VIA is bound to that. I don't know what the rebuilds will be allowed to do (speed-wise).
Anyways, the odd message aside, I agree that the corridor should be electrified.
Possible problem: The majority of it is a CN main freight line! Any electrification would have to accommodate double-stacks. Solution: Have really high catenary, and any electric locos and/or EMUS would use "giraffe" high-reach pantographs.
This is the major problem. VIA owns only very small portions of it's trackage in the Corridor, with the vast majority (particularly in the Montreal-Toronto segment) being owned by CN. So ultimately, the fate of the Corridor lies entirely in CN's hands. VIA can make certain petitions, but CN would have to make the upgrades. Electrification would serve no use to CN for freight purposes, and would more likely be an issue.
Ultimately, I think the only possible means by which true high speed rail (electrified or not) can be achieved in the corridor is if a separate VIA Rail line is built, dedicated exclusively to passenger use. This could be simply an extra line adjacent to the freight line, or ideally a separate corridor that is free of grade crossings, and fully electrified. Both ideas pose a huge logistic problem, which would require massive infrastructure work, and would run into a lot of property and clearance issues.
For this reason, I think a true high-speed corridor would be much easier built between Edmonton and Calgary. More open space, not as many obstacles, and a much shorter route with high potential for passenger traffic. I believe that the logistics of building a dedicated passenger-only high speed line (or rebuilding the existing tracks) would be much easier there. A true high speed line would need to be likely electrified, separated from grade crossings, built with proper super-elevation, concrete ties, and be free of freight traffic. This seems a much easier goal between Edmonton and Calgary. However, it is possible that the higher potential ridership between Montreal and Toronto would warrant such a project, but the logistics of building the line in competition with heavy CN traffic would be a nightmare.
On the east coast, I see no realistic potential for high speed rail. I'd just like to see some decent passenger service to the Maritimes to be reinstated, beyond just The Ocean. Bringing back even just RDC service between Halifax and Sydney, and some service to Fredericton, St. John, etc. would be fantastic. Likely? Probably not.