Getting on track

Representatives from two leading manufacturers of high-speed trains will converge on a public symposium this fall in Red Deer County.

Representatives from two leading manufacturers of high-speed trains will converge on a public symposium this fall in Red Deer County.

High Speed Rail Canada, along with the City of Red Deer, Red Deer County and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, will host a free high-speed rail symposium on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The session will be held at Red Deer County Centre, just west of the Hwy 2 and 32nd Street overpass.

High Speed Rail Canada is a citizen’s national advocacy group dedicated to the education on and implementation of high-speed trains in Canada. It has held similar symposiums in Toronto, London and Kitchener this year.

Red Deer’s symposium includes speakers from Alstom Transport and Siemens Canada. A presentation will be made from members of Alberta High-Speed Rail Inc., a group interested in operating bullet trains along the Hwy 2 corridor. The public will be able to ask questions during a panel discussion. Modern high speed rail videos will be shown.

High Speed Rail Canada founder Paul Langan of Guelph, Ont., said more and more Canadians want high-speed rail service.

A number of people would like to see a line between Calgary and Edmonton so they don’t have to drive in the winter, for one thing, he said.

“Public opinion polls have clearly shown that Albertans want passenger rail service to return between Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton,” Langan said.

A study commissioned by Ed Stelmach’s government suggested huge benefits from high-speed rail and that more people would use it the faster it goes. It also suggested a stop in Red Deer. The report was released in July.

Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette said the train would have to travel 300 to 350 km/h to get enough ridership.

He also said it could take at least 15 years before high-speed rail service begins.

Langan said government officials will be invited to listen in on the session.

Bullet trains are fast gaining attention south of the border. In April, U.S. President Barack Obama announced $8 billion in stimulus funds for high-speed rail, and will request another $5 billion over the next five years.

“The key that is missing here, we haven’t seen the vision federally in Canada to move forward with modern passenger rail,” Langan said.

People are asked to pre-register since seating is limited. Call or email Lindsey Hutton at the Chamber at 403-347-4491 or lhutton@reddeerchamber.com

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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