ELLISDON, Canada, and Aecom, United States, have formed a partnership dubbed Prairie Link to progress plans for a $C 9bn ($US 7.2bn) high-speed line from Edmonton via Red Deer to Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

The partnership has proposed the project through the Government of Alberta’s Unsolicited Proposal (USP) Framework, and secured a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from Alberta Transportation laying the foundation to cooperatively advance the development of the project.

“The notion of high-speed rail - a proven technology around the world - connecting Edmonton, Red Deer, and Calgary in Alberta is not new, but we believe that its time has come,” says Mr Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, director with EllisDon Capital and project director for Prairie Link. “We have built a team with both the capacity and faith in the future of our province to advance it in a meaningful way for Albertans.”

“Since this is a private sector initiative it is very important to us that we continue to maintain positive and solution-orientated day-to-day relationships with the great people that work for the Government of Alberta,” says Mr Joey Comeau, coo and executive vice-president of EllisDon Capital and chair of the board of Prairie Link.

The Prairie Link team 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,” Hansen-Carlson says. “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.”

High-speed vs hyperloop

The announcement of the high-speed line could see it competing with hyperloop, after TransPod released the results of a feasibility study for a proposed new hyperloop line between Edmonton and Calgary.

TransPod signed an MoU with the Government of Alberta in August 2020 to support the ongoing research and development of the TransPod system. The $C 1bn system is envisaged to carry passengers at more than 600km/h.

As part of this collaboration, Alberta Transportation is working with TransPod officials to identify suitable land that can safely accommodate a test track and is participating in discussions with prospective institutional investors to bring private investment into the region.

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