Friday, April 1, 2011

Green Party Proposes High Speed Rail Corridors

This news from Mar. 29 took the milk run to get here but better late than never!

Even if lacking in detail, an excellent proposal from the Green Party of Canada. Leader Elizabeth May proposes high-speed rail links in four corridors across the country: Halifax - Sydney, Windsor-Quebec City, Regina-Saskatoon and Calgary-Edmonton.

The often-studied Quebec-Windsor route is obviously the most viable and would seem to be a no-brainer. But, for some reason, the political will to push it through has never existed.

Put it Right Across the Country

Frankly I would like to see them go one step further and put high-speed through right across the country.

Halifax-Sydney doesn't seem to make all that much sense. Halifax-Moncton... now that would make sense, especially if attached to Moncton-Quebec City. Vancouver-Calgary would be the tough part, just as it was for the original railway builders. But, look at it this way: installing high-speed rail from Vancouver to Calgary today has to be easier than laying the original railroad was in the 1800s.

Carbon consumption statistics for the various forms of transport are given in carbon per passenger km. What becomes evident is that, as electrical generation becomes cleaner, electric powered transportation methods will therefore be the cleanest. Presumably, the conversion of automobiles to electric will proceed in the coming years. Aircraft, however, will not be able to be converted to electric in the foreseeable future, therefore high-speed rail will be particularly competitive in green terms vs air travel. The ability to go coast to coast by HSR will be very important.

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