All Aboard

In writing a slow-going and not-yet-posted entry, I got to thinking about high-speed rail. Just how fast is it?

It takes five and three-quarter hours, according to Google, to drive from Union Station in Toronto to Gare Centrale in Montreal. At best, VIA Rail says they can do it in four hours, though most of their trains make the journey in five hours. It’s certainly an improvement over six hours on the 401 but taking the train is still a fair chunk of the day.

Compare that to the experience in France. Paris and Bordeaux are just a fraction of an hour nearer to each other than Toronto and Montreal; Google says it takes five and a half hours. On the TGV you can travel from Gare du Nord in Paris to Bordeaux in only three hours.

Can you imagine a Canada in which Montreal is only three hours from Toronto? We probably wouldn’t see many people making a daily commute, but you can bet it would take a lot of business away from the airlines on these short flights.

Win for the environment, win for commuters, win for a lucky few struggling manufacturers who get to build the rails, trains, and cars. Lose for the airlines, but I don’t think most people have any sympathy for those monsters.

Sadly, it’s all just a dream with the government we have now.

[photo] “300 Km/h” by Tramway de Lyon

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