Infrastructure Assessment for the Feasibility Study of VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail Project

Infrastructure Assessment for the Feasibility Study of VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail Project

The review of all railway infrastructure along VIA Rail’s proposed Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto High Frequency Rail (HFR) corridor had been part of a larger feasibility study being performed by SYSTRA Canada.

This mandate included the evaluation of technical solutions and the proposal of a business plan for the construction of a high-frequency passenger railway between Ottawa-Toronto, and Quebec-Montreal.
The objective of the inspection component of the mandate had been to provide an assessment of the existing track, structures and signalling and crossings along the Quebec City – Toronto alignment. Once the inspection was complete, each infrastructure component was assessed to decide whether to replace, rehab or “do nothing” to it. Subsequently, a quantity take-off exercise was completed along with a Class C cost estimate to determine the impact on the CAPEX of the project.

Finally, a detailed lifecycle costing exercise was completed for all components which spanned 110 years. The five categories were Track, Structures, Signalling & Telecom, Stations, and ROW.

DESCRIPTION

The specific services provided by SYSTRA Canada in terms of the evaluation of track, signalling, structures and crossings were as follows:

  • Review of previous studies, including the following;
    • Surveying services;
    • Geotechnical investigations;
    • Bridge & culvert inspections;
    • Track inspections;
    • Level crossing inspections.
  • Field Investigations to provide a recommendation for each section of track, structure, crossing and signal along the alignment:
    • Visual bridge inspections comprising of the review of the condition of abutments, bearings piers, deck spans, guard rails and approach tracks, as well as underside of girders;
    • Detailed track inspection comprising of the measuring of track gauge, rail wear, tie defect rate, turnout condition and ballast condition profile;
    • Detailed crossing assessment comprising of the type of crossing, crossing surface, crossing angle, type of flangeways, number of tracks, profile and alignment, presence of automated warning system, presence of flashing lights, bell, gates, presence of other crossings within 400m.
  • Preparation of a preliminary Bill of Quantities for all components;
  • Evaluation of capital expenses for each of the upgrade options and preparation of cost estimate for each infrastructure component;
  • Life-cycle cost analysis for all components using industry practices to predict wear and tear on all components caused by a fluctuating gross tonnage;
  • Financial modelling;
  • Risk assessment.
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