FOLLOWING a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), the Canadian government has selected three consortia to proceed to the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the High Frequency Rail (HFR) project to develop a 200km/h electrified route from Quebec City to Montreal and Toronto.

The three consortia are:

  • Cadence: CDPQ Infra, SNC-Lavalin, Systra Canada, Keolis Canada
  • Intercity Rail Developers: Intercity Development Partners, EllisDon Capital, Kilmer Transportation, First Rail Holdings, Jacobs, Hatch, CIMA+, FirstGroup, RATP Dev Canada, Renfe Operadora, and
  • QConnexiON Rail Partners: Fengate, John Laing, Bechtel, WSP Canada, German Rail (DB).

The RFQ was described by the Canadian government as a crucial step towards selecting a private developer partner to work collaboratively with Via HFR, a newly-created subsidiary of Via Rail, to design and develop the HFR project.

The RFP process will be officially launched in September and the proposals will be evaluated in summer 2024.

“Participants will be asked to present their proposal, including a technically and commercially feasible solution, a business plan and a management plan for the co-development, construction and operations phases of the project,” the government confirmed in a statement.

“This approach will incentivise respondents to identify and prioritise the benefits to Canadians in their proposals, while also providing them with the flexibility to take innovative approaches to meet or exceed the desired project outcomes.”

The government added that “the entire procurement process has been and will continue to follow the highest standards and is overseen by a fairness monitor, an independent consultant that acts as an objective, third-party observer, monitoring the procurement process and ensuring that it is conducted in a fair manner."

Canada’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget provided Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada with close to $US 400m over two years to continue advancing key HFR project activities and undertake the procurement phase.

The government says it is also committed to exploring options to enhance inter-city services in southwestern Ontario, including increased frequencies. Work is being undertaken to better understand the operating environment in southwestern Ontario, and to explore options for enhancing services west of Toronto, including to London and Windsor.

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