If the TransPod Hyperloop project goes through, the bullet-type train will cut travel time between Calgary to Edmonton from three hours to about half hour. Contributed photo

Edmonton-Red Deer-Calgary bullet train needs UCP’s letter of support to proceed

A high-speed train that can connect Edmonton to Calgary in under 30 minutes, with a stop in Red Deer, needs a green light from the provincial government, says its promoter.

Sebastien Gendron, CEO of tech startup TransPod, says the company has secured an investor for the project, but it’ll only move forward with the blessing of the provincial government.

On Tuesday, Transportation Minister Ric McIver said at this point, the province does not have TransPod Hyperloop on its radar.

“For me, it’s not in my plans for transportation. My understanding, and what I think I know, is hyperloop is very expensive,” he said.

In a statement, McIver’s office said the UCP government is always open to hearing new and innovative private sector proposals to increase transportation options for Albertans.

“We can’t speak to a proposal we haven’t yet seen, but look forward to reviewing it if, and when, we receive it.”

Faster than airline travel, the proposed TransPod tube would be a fully electric mass transportation system. The 1,000 km/h train would make four stops throughout the 300-kilometre line: downtown Calgary, Calgary International Airport, Red Deer and Edmonton International Airport.

The train would operate much like an aircraft, in a low-pressure vacuum tube.

Gendron said the previous NDP government set aside 10 kilometres of land for a test track between Olds and Didsbury, along the QEII Highway near highways 27 and 582.

Once the UCP government is on board, the CEO said he will secure the initial $100 million to $200 million in financing needed for the test line.

If that’s successful, the company will proceed with building the full line, which will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion, also privately funded.

“It’s just a commitment from the government, that if the technology works, we can build the whole line,” he said, referring to the need for government support.

The plan is to secure certification from an agency such as Transport Canada in 2025 and have the full line operational by 2030.

The TransPod would boost Alberta’s economy and create more than 14,000 jobs, Gendron said.


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