High-speed passenger rail is taking the world by storm. Not only does it already exist in Europe, but it’s been munching up the miles in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
So, it’s no surprise that Ontario, Canada’s wealthiest and most populous province, is now trying to get on board. True, Ontario’s proposal to lay down a line between Toronto and Windsor, four hours to the southwest, would cost billions. And the province doesn’t have that kind of money.
But Ontario is shelling out C$15 million to study the feasibility of such a service. And, well, ya gotta start some place, right?
The route the province is considering would snake through Ontario’s industrial heartland, tying together such cities as Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo, the centre of the province’s high-tech industry. The route would also link London, a centre for education and medical research, and Chatham.
More important, the route would make Toronto’s rapidly growing bedroom suburbs that much more attractive to immigrants and young couples who can no longer afford to buy a home in the city’s overheated housing market.
Then, too, if Ontario can pull high-speed rail out of a hat, it will have done what no government in Canada has managed to do. Although high-speed passenger service has long been touted for the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, it has yet to leave the station.
In the late 1960s, Canadian National Railways introduced the turbo, a high-speed passenger service between Montreal and Toronto. But, plagued with mechanical