Proposal for High Frequency Rail in the Québec City – Toronto Corridor



On-time service and congestion in the Québec City - Windsor Corridor from sharing tracks with freight trains. This not only impacts our on-time performance, but it means that our train schedules and frequencies are dependent on the access we are granted by the owners of the infrastructure.


High Frequency Rail is VIA Rail Canada’s proposal to transform passenger rail service in Canada. It would create new trains on dedicated tracks between major centres (Québec City-Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto).

New routes would be established on discontinued and lower density rail infrastructure between Toronto-Peterborough-Ottawa, Ottawa-Dorion-Montréal and Montréal-Trois-Rivières-Québec City.

The High Frequency Rail project involves separating passenger and freight rail operations, creating more capacity for sustainable transportation for both people and goods, as well as the opportunity to optimize current services along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.


The proposed HFR network

This schematic view shows the current network and the additional services offered through the HFR project in more detail. The first route represents the existing shared tracks while the second represents the new ones dedicated to passengers. The dedicated tracks extend from Montréal to Québec City via Laval, Trois-Rivières, and Québec City Jean-Lesage International Airport; and from Toronto to Ottawa via Eglinton and Peterborough.
* Additional stops between Toronto and Québec City on the new dedicated tracks may be added in consultation with the communities.
Connecting people

Potential benefits

With High Frequency Rail, VIA Rail would be building a modern passenger rail service for a more connected, more sustainable, and more mobile Canada. High Frequency Rail would allow for:

  • Increased comfort for passengers
  • Increased and improved travel options for passengers with limited mobility
  • Strengthened urban-rural travel connections

Potential improvements

By running on dedicated tracks, VIA Rail would offer more frequencies while reducing trip times by 25% and improving on-time performance over 95%.

The dedicated tracks would allow VIA Rail to have control over frequencies, speeds, and traffic priorities. For example, trains could travel at speeds of up to 177 kilometres per hour (or 110 miles per hour), reducing travel times from Ottawa to Toronto to as low as 3 hours and 15 minutes from current travel times of approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Connecting people
and places

How we choose to get there matters

The impact of High Frequency Rail would extend far beyond travel: It would make VIA Rail a more relevant contributor to Canada’s sustainable development and prosperity. High Frequency Rail would expand VIA Rail services to more communities while contributing to the reduction of road congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

We’re not the whole solution, but we are proud to be a part of it.

Next Steps

A Joint Project Office (JPO) between Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail Canada, will focus on the following activities:

  • Finalizing legal and regulatory work related to safety and environmental assessments
  • Consulting with stakeholders and Indigenous communities
  • Examining required land and track acquisition
  • Completing the technical, financial and commercial analysis

Read the news release This links open a new window