Another new option came out this week, an 11-year-old proposal which would involve running heavy-rail commuter trains along the existing rail corridor from Barrhaven in Ottawa's southern suburbs into
From the Sun:
With the possibility of an electric heavy rail transit option for commuters, Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder says it’s time to renew an 11-year-old rail transit plan proposed by UniRail Canada Inc. to run a heavy rail commuter line from Barrhaven to downtown using existing rail lines.
The 1998 report, which was tabled before the Ottawa-Carleton regional government, suggested it would require a small capital investment and could get rolling right away. The average speed between the proposed 10 transit stations along the route — including ones at Billings Bridge, the Merivale and Colonnade business parks and the Walkley transit station — would be 50 km/h, it would generate almost 4,000 rides per day and take less than 20 minutes to get from Barrhaven to the VIA station.
“The CN Barrhaven-Ottawa station corridor when compared with other options indicates a greater potential to attract new ridership to the rail transit service as well as establishing integration with existing transitway corridors and services,” says the report.
If the City can come up with some reasonable agreement with VIA Rail, it seems like the cheapest, quickest, and easiest way to get commuters from Barrhaven into the core, and requires little in the way of capital expenditure--basically just the purchase of the vehicles, and establishing the proposed ten stations along the route--and whatever costs are demanded by VIA, the hiring of qualified drivers, and likely other expenditures. In all likelihood, less expensive up-front than building the infrastructure required for light-rail from scratch, but that's a purely fiscal comparison.
But don't let the name fool you: This is no Bullet Train. It may be nicknamed such, but the Shinkansen (the original bullet train) in Japan travels at speeds of up to 300 km/h normally, while this proposed train from Barrhaven would likely run at 50 km/h. Still, even at those speeds, it would take around 20 minutes to get from one end to the other.
We'll see what happens.