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Bombardier touts high speed rail

(CBC.ca posted the following article on its website on March 7.)

CALGARY -- A high speed train connecting Calgary and Edmonton may be a little more affordable with new technology developed by Bombardier.

The company and the province are studying the feasibility of rail service between the province's two largest cities and expect to be done within a year.Lecia Stewart, vice-president of high speed rail for Bombardier Transportation, says they have developed a new technology that doesn't require electrified rail lines, which will dramatically cut the cost of implementing the service.

The "Jet Train" uses a jet engine in a locomotive, allowing the train to reach speeds which were before only possible with electrification, and which can run on existing rail lines.

"You avoid the need to carve costly new right of ways, all the expropriation and public issues associated with trying to build a new railroad, which we haven't done for many decades in Canada," Stewart said. "You can't use that infrastructure for freight and passenger, which give mulitplier effect. So it makes better use of existing resources. Our estimates show that the costs are reduced to as much as a third."

Bombardier has estimated the cost of building a high speed rail link between Toronto and Montreal would be $3 billion, down from the $15 billion price tag usually associated with the project.

"I don't want to extrapolate the same here," Stewart said. "But I anticipate it will be a much more economic undertaking than the last time you had a look at it, which is why we're here. We're here because costs have declined considerably. We're here because the technology is new and makes it possible to implement."

The jet train will be in Calgary on April 7, as part of Bombardier's demonstration tour across North America.

Friday, March 7, 2003

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