THE Canadian government has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) for the High Frequency Rail (HFR) Project to provide faster, more frequent, accessible and sustainable inter-city rail services between Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Montréal, Ottawa, Peterborough and Toronto.

The HFR project will operate on mostly new and electrified tracks between Québec City, Montréal, Ottawa and Toronto.

The government and Canada Infrastructure Bank committed $C 71.1m ($US 55.8m) in funding to further explore HFR services in June 2019.

With the RFEOI, the government is seeking feedback from interested parties on the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of the HFR project. The government is also interested in hearing from interested parties with experience in delivering projects using collaborative co-development models used elsewhere in the world.

The RFEOI process will provide an opportunity to:

  • communicate the government’s plan for advancing the project
  • seek feedback from experienced private sector companies to help shape the HFR project, and
  • provide information to industry so interested parties can prepare for subsequent phases of the procurement process, including the Request for Qualifications and the Request for Proposal.

The HFR service could be fully operational in the early 2030s.

A virtual information session on the RFEOI will be held in April, and the deadline to submit a response is May 31. A request for qualifications will be launched in the autumn, to be submitted during the winter. A request for proposals will subsequently be launched in spring 2023, with submissions expected in autumn 2024.

The government says the size and scope of HFR will drive transformational changes in how VIA Rail provides services in the Toronto - Québec City corridor. In the meantime, the operator will focus on recovering passenger numbers following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“High Frequency Rail is an infrastructure project with a size and scope that is unprecedented in modern Canadian history, which is why we are seeking to leverage the advice and views of private sector companies with concrete experience in designing and implementing complex infrastructure projects across the world,” says minister of public services and procurement, Mr Filomena Tassi. “This is a very exciting opportunity for private sector companies to make their mark on the procurement and development of this project.”

The RFEOI can be found here.

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