In the age of Elon Musk changing the world with innovative solar power and self-driving Teslas, electric vehicles are an undeniable buzzword. There’s been talk about implementation of an electronic powered high-speed railway between Windsor and Toronto and that talk may become a reality in the near future.
This week saw the release of serious plans for environmental assessments of said high-speed railway. There seems to be some divide surrounding whether or not this high-tech railway is worth the taxpayers’ money. Read on as we break down the specifications of this new rail system and explore whether or not it’s an advantage to those living in the Windsor-Toronto Corridor.
Let’s take a look at the specifications between High-Speed trains and Commuter trains that are used today (information courtesy of www.ontario.ca):
Cargo: Passengers only
Stops: Windsor, Chatham, London, Kitchener, Guelph and Toronto
Cargo: Some parts shared with freight rail
By looking at the specifications, any person would be delusional to advocate for the continued use of solely commuter trains! While current trains max out at 175km/h, high-speed trains can reach up to 300km/h. They will eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, reduce travel time by 40-60% and remove millions of cars from the highway. What’s not to love? The $20b price tag of course! To conduct the study alone, the province has already forked out $15m. In addition to this, there are groups of citizens who feel the implementation of a high-speed rail will impede productivity on their land.
More and more Torontonians are feeling forced to leave their apartments in the city for a more affordable housing situation over an hour away. In July 2017, the average house in Toronto was $775k, whereas the average home in St. Thomas was $320k. Because of this, commuting becomes a necessity. Reducing 40-60% of travel time rather than waking up at 4:00 am is an enticing proposal. These workers could attain an extra hour of sleep in the morning and arrive home an hour early. Shaving a couple of hours off the workday would no doubt improve the quality of work they’re churning out at the office, and increase their quality of life.
There are people from rural areas between Windsor and Toronto who have concerns about these railways. Mainly, railways will divide farm properties in half and create barriers for farmers and their land. It will interrupt their routine and impede the efficiency of their practices. This is because walking across high-speed railway tracks is strictly prohibited. By implementing these tracks, farmers land and productivity will be directly affected. Secondly, there is a growing concern about hindering emergency vehicles. Although the likelihood of this issue being overlooked is small, there are still people who disagree with the railway.
In conclusion, we think the high-speed rail is an important step forward for Ontario. It will level out the housing market, encourage traveling between the cities and most importantly alleviate the massive commuter congestion problem that we are facing on a daily basis. These benefits alone are enough to outweigh the risks.
The one and only qualm we have with this implementation is what the cost of a train ticket will be. It is already quite expensive to travel to and from cities in Ontario with VIA Rail. Will this high-speed train be affordable for middle-class citizens? Will the cost of it outweigh paying for gas to commute and for parking at work every day? We’ll have to wait and see but so far, we’re on board for this new railway. It’s about time there was a more convenient and efficient means of transportation along the Windsor- Toronto Corridor.