A Fast, Reliable Electric Train to Connect Québec City, Montréal and Toronto

A major project to bring our lives and cities closer together

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 20, 2024 - Today, during an address to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal, Martin Imbleau, CEO of VIA HFR, presented a rapid passenger rail project between Québec City and Toronto that has evolved considerably with the recent creation of a new federal Crown corporation entirely dedicated to its development. This is the largest transportation infrastructure project in Canada since the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway over 60 years ago.

The proposed network will extend over nearly 1,000 kilometres of dedicated and electrified tracks, with stops in Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Laval, Montréal, Ottawa, Peterborough and Toronto.

"This project will be transformative for both Québec and Canada," Mr. Imbleau said during his speech. "We will bring cities closer together and connect three capitals and the country's two biggest cities!"

A Fast Reliable Electric Train to Connect Québec City Montréal and Toronto
Photo by Josée Lecompte
Photo by Josée Lecompte
Photo by Josée Lecompte

The project has progressed in recent months. The objective is to put in place a rapid service, comparable to European standards, in the Québec City-Toronto corridor, allowing passengers to get to their destination quickly and return on the same day thanks to frequent and reliable departures.

Mr. Imbleau noted that the tendering process is underway to select a private sector partner with strong expertise and experience. Three international consortiums are working on finalizing their application. They will have to submit proposals to minimize travel times, including scenarios where trains will run at 200 km/h, as well as an alternative with no speed limit, allowing trains to go "as fast as possible." "We want to develop something that is fast, reliable, and frequent, comparable to European networks."

It is therefore an ambitious project that will involve long-term collaboration with the selected partner to ensure the project's success and sustainability, and taking into account the geography, demographics and our economy. "Taking our time now during the co-development phase is the best way to move quickly later. Let's take the time to work intelligently to propose the outlines of a solid project."

Mr. Imbleau said that Montréal will be at the heart of this transportation backbone, connecting communities from Quebec City to Toronto quickly and efficiently. This vision reinforces the city's strategic positioning as a hub and its critical role in intercity connectivity. He also stressed the need to anticipate population growth throughout the corridor to provide a solution to traffic congestion, promote the development of intercity transport and contribute to the decarbonization of the transport sector.

Meanwhile, the project is also engaged in a proactive collaboration with Indigenous communities along the corridor. "We want this project to be a true vehicle for economic reconciliation with First Nations," added Mr. Imbleau. "We will work with Indigenous communities to integrate their participation and make them partners."

Mr. Imbleau concluded by saying the project will be a catalyst for change and inviting members of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal to contribute to the success of the project, as it will reduce the distance between cities and offer more development opportunities where mobility will mean connectivity and growth.

Key facts:

  • A new federal Crown corporation dedicated to the project was created on December 15, 2022.
  • On February 17, 2023, the Request for Qualifications was launched.
  • On July 20, 2023, three bidding teams were qualified and invited to respond to the Request for Proposals.
  • On September 8, 2023, Martin Imbleau took up his position as CEO of the corporation.
  • On October 13, 2023, the Government of Canada launched the Request for Proposals for the project.
  • By the end of 2024, the government will select a private sector partner to co-develop the project.
Martin at A Fast Reliable Electric Train to Connect Quebec City Montreal and Toronto
Photo by Josée Lecompte

Media Contact:
Benoit Bourdeau, Director, Media Relations and Internal Communications,
(438) 686-8476,

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