Alberta Advances Passenger Rail Master Plan Amid Growth

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Crafting the Future of Transportation

EDMONTON – In a move to modernize and expand transportation options, the Alberta government has announced plans to develop a comprehensive Passenger Rail Master Plan.

This initiative marks a significant step in enhancing connectivity and accessibility across the province, spurred by rapid population growth and evolving transportation needs.

Historical Context and Modern Ambitions

Railways have been integral to Alberta’s development since the late 19th century, catalyzing economic growth and urban development. Building on this historical foundation, the new Master Plan aims to integrate advanced passenger rail services, including regional, commuter, and potentially high-speed rail that will link major cities and rural areas.

Strategic Plans and Key Components

The Master Plan will focus on several key areas:

  • Developing commuter rail systems in Calgary and Edmonton that connect to key locations like international airports and downtown areas.
  • Establishing regional rail lines that will connect Calgary and Edmonton with each other and with the Rocky Mountain parks.
  • Enhancing local transit connections through municipal-led Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems and other local services.
  • A vision for a “Metrolinx-like” Crown corporation to manage infrastructure development, operations, and future expansions.

Government and Industry Collaboration

The Alberta government is collaborating with industry leaders, including VIA Rail and the Railway Association of Canada, to ensure the plan accommodates both passenger and freight rail needs. The strategy involves extensive consultations with municipalities, Indigenous communities, and the private sector to tailor the rail services to the needs of Albertans.

Looking Forward

With an expected completion by summer 2025, the Master Plan will not only outline the logistics and infrastructure needed but also engage with Albertans to align the project with public expectations and needs. The government has initiated a Request for Expression of Interest to gather global expertise in shaping this pivotal project.

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