Feasibitily Study and Business Plan for VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail Project

Feasibitily Study and Business Plan for VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail Project

Feasibility study - Evaluation of technical solutions and proposal of a business plan for the construction of a high-frequency passenger railway between Ottawa-Toronto, and Quebec-Montreal.

The goal of the High Frequency Rail Project was to provide VIA with the capacity to increase train frequency and on-time performance with the construction of a track dedicated to passenger trains.

Furthermore, the objective was to evaluate the technical-economic feasibility of building new segments of track and rehabilitating existing track segments. SYSTRA Canada (formerly CANARAIL) oversaw the preparation of a Business Plan and performed a 30% level engineering design and a capital expense estimate at -15/+20% accuracy.


The specific services provided by SYSTRA Canada were as follows:

  • Review of previous studies;
  • Evaluation of the ridership;
  • Assessment of technical-economic options;
  • Financial Modeling;
  • Risk assessment;
  • Preparation of a Business Plan;
  • Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment to determine environmental and social considerations during construction;
  • Definition of Design Criteria;
  • Field Investigations and determination of upgrade requirements including:
    • Surveying services;
    • Geotechnical investigations;
    • Bridge & Culvert inspections;
    • Track inspections;
    • Level Crossing inspections;
    • Assessment of electric and diesel locomotive options;
  • Evaluation of optional electrification costs;
  • Preliminary CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) arrangement;
  • Evaluation of the impacts associated with Utilities;
  • Relocation of existing Multi-User trail;
  • Preliminary arrangement of Passenger Stations;
  • Alignment optimization;
  • Preparation of an operations plan;
  • Preparation of a Track Schematic;
  • Simulation of cycles times for the optimized route;
  • Evaluation of the use of Sidings vs Passing Tracks;
  • Re-optimization of the alignment to ease tight curves;
  • Evaluation of legal considerations and estimation of land acquisition;
  • Determination of cut and fill volumes required during the project;
  • Preparation of a drawing package including: plans, condensed profile, typical details, preliminary bridge design, earthworks, cross sections, etc.;
  • Preparation of Performance Specifications for the Design-Build process;
  • Evaluation of material type and minimum material requirements needed for the rail foundation as well as quantities for each rail component;
  • Preparation of a preliminary Bill of Quantities;
  • Development of Phasing, Construction planning and strategy;
  • Evaluation of Capital Expenses;
  • 20% level engineering Study of the Quebec-Montreal Corridor.
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