VIA Rail Canada President Yves Desjardins-Siciliano announces plans for enhanced Sarnia service. June 17, 2015 (photo by Jake Jeffrey)

Mayor Welcomes High Speed Rail But Upgrades Needed Now

Sarnia’s mayor welcomes the announcement of high speed rail for the Windsor to Toronto corridor, but stresses there’s a desperate need for immediate upgrades in southwestern Ontario.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced in London Friday morning that the province is going ahead with an environmental assessment of the multi-billion dollar project.

Mayor Mike Bradley says it’s a bit of a “re-announcement.”

“It would be a massive infrastructure project, a massive transportation project, it should have happened many years ago,” says Bradley. “There have been probably 20 reports on high speed rail in the corridor over the last 30 years.”

Bradley notes the VIA Rail Canada president announced in June 2015 that local passenger service would be increased to four trains a day in and out of Sarnia, the following year.

To date, that has not happened.

“The last information was that it’s still between VIA and CN about the rights-of-way on the tracks, I’m hoping that will resolve itself so we can move forward and have at least one additional train and perhaps more,” says Bradley. “High speed rail fits into that in the long term because we are not going to be serviced by high speed rail but if we can access London we can get the benefits of it through the entire corridor which would be of great benefit to the community.”

Bradley estimates it will take five to ten years do the environmental assessment and get financing in place to build high speed rail.

-With files from Melanie Irwin