The proposed railway would be a 130km dedicated line built within the existing Canadian Pacific right of way, with six new stops: Calgary International Airport, Downtown Calgary, Cochrane, Morley, Canmore and Banff. Potential capacity would enable up to eight departures from Calgary International Airport to Banff per day, with express services operating between the airport and downtown Calgary up to every 20 minutes.

Studies outlined in the agreement include a review of the railway’s expected costs and revenue, potential financing options and an assessment of environmental, social and economic benefits.

In a previous report conducted by the Town of Banff municipality in 2019, the railway’s construction costs were estimated at between $C 660m-680m ($US 483.13m-497.8m), with annual operating subsidy of approximately $C 2m-2.3m.

The intention of the project is to provide more environmentally friendly solutions to congestion in the area for both commuters and tourists visiting Banff National Park, stimulating jobs and economic opportunities in the region through improved transport links. Regular inter-city trains between Calgary and Banff ceased in 1990.

“It’s great to see the partnership between the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the government of Alberta on a train between Calgary and Banff,” says Ms Catherine McKenna, the federal government’s infrastructure and communities minister. “A train to Banff National Park would reduce congestion, lower emissions, and protect the pristine environment while creating jobs and economic opportunity. The new rail service would take cars off the road and increase the mobility of visitors and commuters to the park in a stress-free way.”

The CIB was formed in 2017 by the Canadian government with the intention of allocating and raising funds for new infrastructure projects. The Calgary-Banff railway project is the bank’s 10th project, and first in Alberta. However, other, similar infrastructure developments may be in the pipeline.

“We are pleased to be building a strong partnership with the government of Alberta,” says Mr Michael Sabia, chair of the board at CIB. “The Calgary-Banff Rail project is the first of many potential projects for the CIB in Alberta.”

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