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The slow ride towards a high-speed rail connection up and down the west coast of North America is back in the news. We’ve written about this before, and now comes more money to sharpen up the planning and feasibility prelims.
If built, high-speed rail would be an attractive new choice for those travelling between Vancouver, Seattle and Portland.
HERE is the BC Premier’s announcement.

As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the partnership between British Columbia and Washington state, the B.C. government will help fund a study of a potential ultra-high-speed corridor service connecting Vancouver with Seattle, Portland and beyond.
Premier John Horgan was joined by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to announce that B.C. will contribute $300,000 toward an in-depth study with Washington state on the concept of a corridor service that would cut travel times between Vancouver and Seattle to about 60 minutes, from three hours. . . .
An economic analysis released last month by Washington state estimated that a high-speed corridor link could create up to 200,000 jobs for B.C. and U.S. workers, and generate billions of dollars in economic benefits for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor between B.C., Washington and Oregon.
The Washington state legislature last week approved funding of up to US$1.2 million toward the new in-depth study. . . .
The new study will build on the previous preliminary analysis, and will consider the practicality and business case for a high-speed corridor service by addressing factors such as ridership levels, system development, delivery methods and financing. It will include involvement by key community representatives, and stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

Comments

  1. Why not work on a fast train / line where the REAL traffic is today namely
    A) to Alberta with ten (!!) times the weekly passenger volume
    B) to Kelowna and Kamloops
    C) to Victoria
    D) to UBC
    E) to N and W Van
    F) to the Fraser Valley
    It’s a diversion from truly needed transit upgrades. It’s a total waste of time and money at this point in time.

    1. The discussion is on high speed rail, not on subways or LRT. Apples and oranges.
      It wouldn’t make sense to connect high speed rail from B.C. to Alberta unless there was a high speed rail network on the other side of the Rockies to tie in to. The last spike should be in the Rockies, just like with the transcontinental railroad. Not the first spike.
      The article is titled Cascadia. The point is that often we have more in common with our US coastal neighbours than those in Alberta, and trade and travel routes should acknowledge that.

      1. Apparently not if you look at passenger volume .. 10 times east-west compared to north-south !
        With federal and provincial $s limited, government is about setting priorities. Hence I listed the local lines desperately needing funding.
        Travel east from Calgary drops dramatically to SK or MB. A fast rail line Edmonton – Calgary has been discussed, and also been rejected due to cost and too little passenger volume. Postpone the discussion to 2100.

      2. “Apparently not if you look at passenger volume .. 10 times east-west compared to north-south!”
        Look at the population, and hence the opportunity. 4.3 m in Alberta. 7.3 m in Washington State. 4.1 m in Oregon. If there is more travel east west (not sure what stat you are quoting), then that is even more justification for improved infrastructure north south.

  2. This is exciting but I have to wonder how economically viable it is. A good start and show of good intentions by the NDP would be to get the ball rolling on a route to bypass White Rock, enabling higher speeds for the current service.

    1. I understand your sentiment, but wonder if that should be the NDP looking in to that. It is a federally regulated railway, operating in a region where we have a regional transportation authority. I could see White Rock having a say as well. But wouldn’t those three levels of government be in front of the provincial NDP on this file?

  3. On another post, someone suggested routing through Abbotsford. Then the Canadian section would serve two purposes – local and international. Could run it straight down the freeway SoF. Elon Musk’s Boring Company could deal with the Fraser crossing.

        1. Having a lot of intermediate stops defeats the pupose of an express route, so HSR/maglev would likely just be Vancouver->Seattle->Tacoma/Olympia->Portland.
          I think what you’re looking for is a commuter rail line through the Valley, like the West Coast Express.

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