Competitive streak


Here then are Dalton McGuinty and Jean Charest making more damn-fool noise about a high-speed rail in Canada. Canada? Don’t they know Canadians throughout their history have resisted using railroads as a tool for economic development, transport and competitiveness?

This corner, it must be said, inexplicably remains attached to the idea of introducing high-speed rail to Canada. Here is a column I wrote on the topic last year.

Readers can, should, and will feel free to dismiss the whole idea. When they do, they will have much in common with Canadian political leaders going back almost to the first. But you should know it’s not a hypothetical question, because the picture above is an only slightly fanciful map of European high-speed rail as it may look by the 2020s, which is realistically the earliest moment at which Canada could string together a single piddling line of moderately frisky rail between, like, Montreal and Toronto. Fast rail from Portugal to Poland, from Italy to Sweden, with new technology shaving transit times every year. Is it really pie-in-the-sky to wonder why we don’t even begin to consider this?

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