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Canadian HFR: From Proposal to Project
Shah Heading AECOM Canadian S&C
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported on Nov. 6 that Vernon Barker, formerly with Siemens Rail Systems and FirstGroup in the United Kingdom, will be charged with assembling a full-scale project team as the funding pitch for the C$6 billion electrified line is readied for presentation to managers of Canada’s huge public pension funds.
Investment bank CEO Pierre Lavalée said at the time the pre-procurement stage would very likely progress to a flurry of tender calls to rail industry suppliers.
A cheaper C$4 billion alternative would see diesel-driven trains ply the route, but that would be inconsistent with Canada’s climate change commitments. It might well mollify Alberta’s desperation for petroleum revenue but the HFR corridor runs through deep-green Quebec and heavily polluted southern Ontario. Overhead catenary is the obvious choice. Quebec enjoys substantial surpluses of renewable electricity—a legacy of the province’s prescient 1970s binge in building massive hydro power stations in its mid-north.
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