Night-train idea sparks interest, but   not likely soon, Bromont mayor cautions

Gordon Lambie
Night-train idea sparks interest, but   not likely soon, Bromont mayor cautions

By Gordon Lambie

Local Journalism Initiative

A lunch meeting to drum up interest in the idea of an overnight train from Montreal to Boston has sparked significant interest on both sides of the border over the last few weeks, but one of the groups working to help improve the rail network in the region is counselling the population to not get their hopes up for quick results.

Louis Villeneuve, Mayor of Bromont and President of the Alliance du corridor ferroviaire Estrie-Montérégie (ACFEM), said that people need to temper their expectations regarding the project given the current state of the region’s rail network.

“Even if (Canadian Pacific) said yes tomorrow, how fast would you be able to go?” Villeneuve said, explaining that although the rail company has made significant investments in the local tracks since buying them up a few years ago, they are still not rated high enough to allow trains to travel speeds that can compete with a car. As it is, Canadian Pacific has been in the process of upgrading the track to class three, which allows for speeds of up to only about 60 km/h

“For a passenger train to be competitive, the track needs to be at least class four,” he added.

The ACFEM president clarified that the organization, an alliance of municipalities in the Eastern Townships, is not involved with any of the private initiatives looking to take to the rails, including that of the night train.

“We are not against any initiative that seeks to establish passenger train service,” he said, while clarifying that the ACFEM’s priorities are to ensure the highest level of security on the local rail network, to use the rail network as a economic lever for the region, and to establish a passenger train service form Lac-Mégantic to Montreal.

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