Councillor hopes Pontypool will eventually be included in Via Train plans

New high frequency trains could travel as fast as 200 km per hour

By Roderick Benns

Councillor hopes Pontypool will eventually be included in Via Train plans

The Canadian government has announced a high frequency Via Rail proposal for the Toronto to Quebec City corridor – and Councillor Tracy Richardson says it’s a win “for the entire province” but hopes it will also include Kawartha Lakes.

That’s something that has been echoed by all politicians representing Kawartha Lakes, including federal MP Jamie Schmale.

The new proposal would involve building dedicated passenger rail tracks so Via would not have to share the tracks with freight trains which are typically given priority.

The federal government says its next steps include engaging Indigenous communities to obtain feedback, talking with the private sector to determine the best possible delivery model, and to select a private partner in the fall. The request for proposal for the procurement process is expected to launch in fall 2021.

Richardson, whose ward eight includes Pontypool, says “improved connection” is what the city needs.

“Pontypool…would be a connection benefitting those who commute. I am very interested to hear the full announcement and will work with respected parties to help Kawartha Lakes be put on the connection map,” she tells the Advocate.

The Government of Canada is committed to modernizing intercity passenger rail services in a way that will best meet the transportation needs of travellers, while also creating jobs and economic growth.

Benefits to travellers, according to the federal government in a media release, include shorter travel times and faster trains. The new track would reduce average trip times between Toronto and Ottawa by up to 90 minutes. There would be more reliable on-time arrivals (up to 95 per cent from a current average of 67 per cent.)

There would also be more direct routes with improved connectivity between cities and to other modes of transportation, and also new service communities like Peterborough. It’s also going to be a cleaner travel option using electrified technology.

The high frequency rail proposal would be the largest transportation infrastructure project seen by Canada in decades.

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