List of Recommendations



Chapter 2: Connecting Communities


The Province should continue to work closely with municipal stakeholders in the corridor to identify opportunities to integrate local transit and existing and planned services with future HSR stations and ensure that first-mile/last-mile connections are made.


The Province should encourage and support investment in regional transportation infrastructure in the near term to increase transportation options in smaller communities, which will help build ridership in the corridor and establish a system-wide approach to mobility in Southwestern Ontario.


The Province should share detailed business case results for HSR as the project develops, emphasizing collaboration, transparency and information-sharing, to ensure that communities along the corridor are informed about and engaged in the project.


The Province should continue to engage with stakeholders, including but not limited to municipalities and land owners in the corridor, on the planning, development, and implementation of HSR, including throughout the Environmental Assessment process.


The Province should continue to engage with Indigenous communities on the planning, development, and implementation of HSR, including throughout the Environmental Assessment process, and work with communities to determine preferred approaches to engagement.


The Province should consider opportunities for Indigenous communities to share in the economic benefits associated with HSR, including generating future opportunities related to procurement and other economic partnership arrangements.


The Province should commit to protecting the natural environment, culturally sensitive lands and archaeological sites throughout the Toronto-Windsor corridor, recognizing that Indigenous communities are experts in these areas of knowledge.


The Province should provide opportunities to showcase Indigenous culture, history and traditions throughout the HSR project, including showcasing Indigenous art and culture at future HSR stations, and consider Indigenous traditional naming opportunities for HSR-related infrastructure.


The Province should consider providing capacity funding to Indigenous communities in the study area to facilitate engagement on the HSR project.

Chapter 3: The Business Case for High Speed Rail


The Province should proceed with a phased approach to implementing HSR to maximize benefits and reduce costs.

  • Phase 1 would be implemented from Toronto to London with a target operational date of 2025.
    • This phase would build on GO RER investments between Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo.
  • Phase 2 would be implemented from London to Windsor with a target operation date of 2031, as demand for HSR develops.


Union Station

The Province should work to ensure that

  • Station capacity is addressed to accommodate future growth in ridership that will occur due to use by HSR, GO RER and VIA Rail services.
  • Further consideration is given to developing a new concourse and platforms west of the existing station, building them under the approach tracks.
  • A minimum of two level-boarding HSR platforms are constructed.


Pearson Airport

It is recommended that the Province

  • Expand Malton GO Station as necessary to accommodate an HSR stop.
  • Work with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to provide a people-mover system linking HSR at Malton Station to the airport terminals.
  • Coordinate the infrastructure requirements for GO RER and UP Express with those for HSR through this segment of the corridor.
  • Work with the GTAA to provide direct access for HSR as air passenger volumes increase and to support its plans for the future Pearson Airport multimodal hub, most likely by 2031.



It is recommended that the Province

  • Work closely with the City of Guelph to deliver on infrastructure requirements to accommodate GO RER and an HSR stop at the historic Guelph Station.
  • Ensure that all necessary measures are undertaken to protect the historically significant architecture in the station precinct.
  • Coordinate the infrastructure requirements for GO RER with those for HSR through this stretch of the corridor.



It is recommended that the Province

  • Work closely with the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo to ensure that planning for the new multimodal station accommodates HSR.
  • Coordinate the infrastructure requirements for GO RER with those for HSR to Kitchener-Waterloo.
  • Work to ensure that station upgrades do not preclude future HSR service.



It is recommended that the Province

  • Build a new, dedicated HSR line between Kitchener-Waterloo and London adjacent to the existing Hydro One corridor.
  • Work closely with Hydro One throughout the duration of the project.
  • Work with VIA Rail and the City of London to expand the existing VIA Rail station to accommodate HSR and ensure seamless connection with the future Shift BRT service.
  • Work with CN on requirements for the new HSR line to run adjacent to the CN South Main line into London.



It is recommended that the Province

  • Work with CN to explore options to build a new electrified track, adjacent to the existing CN corridor.
  • Work with VIA Rail and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent to explore options to expand Chatham Station to accommodate HSR. 



It is recommended that the Province

  • Work with CP to explore the implementation of a new track and passing tracks along the existing CP Windsor corridor.
  • Work with CP and the City of Windsor to identify options for the building of a new HSR station that will provide access to downtown Windsor.
  • Work with CP, Amtrak and the State of Michigan on plans for future expansion of the HSR service to the U.S. via Detroit through the existing rail tunnel under the Detroit River.


The Province should implement electrified 250 km/h HSR technology for the Toronto-Windsor corridor.

  • This would offer a distinct intercity service that meets the UIC definition for HSR.
  • To reduce infrastructure costs, the Province could investigate the procurement of HSR trains with tilting capability, which can allow trains to achieve higher speeds on less optimal alignments, such as curves.


The Province should ensure that GO RER commitments, planning and capital works accommodate future HSR on the Kitchener corridor.

  • The development of GO RER with a view to its interoperability with HSR on the Kitchener corridor will support the Province in advancing both commitments.
  • The Province should
    • Ensure that electrification and railway on the Kitchener corridor is built to accommodate speeds of 250km/h.
    • Protect the Kitchener corridor and stations for future capacity expansion wherever feasible.
    • Ensure level boarding platforms are not precluded at the designated HSR/GO RER station stops. 
    • Prioritize the implementation of Enhanced Train Control (ETC) and ensure that signalling systems and other technologies do not preclude HSR operations.


Based on ridership demand and corridor capacity, it is recommended that during peak periods the Province provide, in both directions, a frequency of 3 HSR trains and 1 GO RER train between Union Station and Kitchener.

  • The Province should also provide the following service levels during off-peak periods:
    • 2 HSR trains per hour.
    • 1 GO RER train per hour.


The Province should align provincial mandates to optimize rail services by directing Metrolinx and MTO to collaborate on the development of an Integrated Rail Strategy for the Toronto-Kitchener corridor, which would

  • Clarify the mandates of GO RER, UP Express and HSR on the corridor.
  • Assess ridership and service frequencies.
  • Recommend how the Province might optimize GO RER, UP Express and HSR ridership to maximize the benefit to Ontarians.


The Province should coordinate the integration of Southwestern Ontario passenger services with VIA Rail.

  • MTO should engage VIA Rail with the objective of rationalizing VIA Rail and HSR service patterns in the Toronto-Windsor corridor.
    • On the Toronto-Kitchener corridor, HSR would replace VIA Rail service.
    • VIA Rail would continue operations from Union Station to London on the CN South Main line (not on the Kitchener corridor), serving a number of communities, including Oakville, Aldershot, Brantford, Woodstock, and Ingersoll.
    • Between Kitchener and London, VIA Rail would continue to operate on the CN North Main line via St. Marys and Stratford.
    • Between London and Windsor, VIA Rail would continue providing existing services until HSR is introduced in this segment of the corridor.
    • To ensure an integrated system, VIA Rail and HSR would enter into a codeshare agreement (i.e., a business arrangement where two operators share services) that would allow users to seamlessly use the two services with the same ticket.


As work on the intercommunity bus modernization initiative advances, the Province should work closely with the bus industry and other stakeholders to develop a partnership strategy with HSR for mutual benefit.

Chapter 4: Benefits of HSR


It is recommended the Province develop and/or encourage, as appropriate, regional development initiatives, tax incentives and/or grants to mitigate any urban sprawl HSR might create, and encourage transit-oriented development in station areas.

  • Since growth and development policies are implemented at the municipal level the Province should work closely with municipalities to achieve this objective.

Chapter 5: Governance


The Province should establish, at an early date, a new independent Crown corporation to oversee HSR (HSRCO):

  • The corporation would be a legislated entity with authority over the operations of HSR and all railway assets owned by the Province beyond Kitchener to Windsor.
  • HSRCO would be established in the near term as the EA process proceeds under MTO’s direction and would be in place prior to the start of HSR construction.
  • Its mandate would include
    • Oversight of all aspects of the project from financing and delivery to operations.
    • Responsibility for ensuring value for money and wider benefits from HSR implementation and operations.
    • Coordination with VIA Rail and Metrolinx on service plans.
  • HSR operations from Toronto’s Union Station to Kitchener would be detailed in an MOU with Metrolinx.
  • A provincially-appointed board of directors would oversee the corporation.

Chapter 6: Financing and Delivery


The Province should conclude at a principles level that an AFP model (potentially DBFOM) is a viable option to finance and deliver HSR while ensuring that a full VfM analysis is conducted on AFP versus traditional models during the environmental assessment process.


The Province should continue to engage key private-sector partners throughout the HSR project, including by potentially engaging in a follow-up market sounding during the environmental assessment process and again once more project details become available. This should include re-engaging former participants as well as potentially broadening to other private-sector interests.


The federal experience with private-sector airport financing under the National Airports Policy should be examined to ascertain whether aspects of this model could be applied to HSR.


The Province should consider innovative funding tools to help pay for HSR and/or stations, such as business levies, land value capture tools, and joint development.

Chapter 7: Next Steps


The Province should continue to seek funding and procurement approvals required to obtain consultant services for the EA and associated design work in 2017.


The Province should establish a formal working group with representatives from MTO and Metrolinx to ensure alignment between planning for HSR and GO RER.


The Province should develop a plan to ensure timely engagement with key hydro and electricity-grid stakeholders. To support this, it should retain a technical consultant to identify proposed connection points, facilitate technical coordination with Hydro One, and provide advice regarding a potential ministerial agreement.


The Province should proceed with the required studies as soon as possible to inform the consultant scope for the environmental assessment in 2017.

  • Ensure that the procurement protects for interoperability with systems and technologies being used elsewhere (e.g., the United States), recognizing the longer-term potential for an international service.


To support the environmental assessment process, after internal provincial discussions between MTO, MOECC, and others as appropriate, the Province should arrange a discussion with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to ensure all parties are aware of the details of Ontario’s HSR plans.


The Province should establish a formal working group with Transport Canada to discuss the appropriate regulatory scheme for HSR and seek advice regarding requirements for potential future connections to the United States.


The Province should arrange briefings with the national freight rail companies to discuss Ontario’s HSR plans and seek their input.

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