A $9-billion, high-speed rail project has been proposed to link Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary.
EllisDon, construction services and infrastructure development company, said it has formed a partnership with Centricity Transport, of Calgary, and global engineering architecture firm AECOM, to advance the development of a high-speed rail Prairie Link.
EllisDon’s corporate office is located in Mississauga, Ont., with other offices in Edmonton and Calgary.
In 2019, another high-speed rail was proposed by Toronto transportation company TransPod to build a rail system that would operate much like an aircraft, in a low-pressure vacuum tube. But the company recently said stopping in Red Deer wasn’t guaranteed and depended on finances.
Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, director with EllisDon Capital and project director for Prairie Link, said there has already been a meeting with Red Deer’s acting city manager, and the city has appointed someone to sit on the project’s advisory committee.
“We’re committing very early to have Red Deer be a real part of this. Red Deer is an essential economic urban centre in the province. We value what the folks in Red Deer have to say, what opportunities they see spin off of this,” Hansen-Carlson said.
He added Prairie Link is proposing proven technology, he said.
“What we’re talking about is more or less off-the-shelf, high-speed technology.”
He said the train would travel 350 km/h and make the Edmonton, Red Deer, and Calgary connection in about an hour. The cost of a ride is estimated to be between $80 and $120.
“It will be more cost effective, more efficient, quicker, and more sustainable than the alternatives that are on the market today.”
Prairie Link said it has secured a memorandum of understanding from Alberta Transportation laying the foundation for co-operatively advancing project development.
“Given that this is a private-sector initiative, we’re not asking the province for any money. But what we are asking for is a very co-operative working relationship to enable the project,” Hansen-Carlson said.
Prairie Link said it has already commenced Indigenous engagement and established an advisory committee to guide project development.
“We are committed to the generational prosperity of our Indigenous partners. We are committed to the regional prosperity of Edmonton, Red Deer, and Calgary as well as each county in between. We are also committed to supporting the growth and development of both international airports in Alberta.”