Calgary-Banff Passenger Rail Project AdvancesWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
A proposed 150-kilometer (93-mile) Calgary-Banff passenger rail project is moving ahead, following the release of a detailed MOU (memorandum of understanding) from Invest Alberta Corp., Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation (Alberta Transportation) and Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB).
The CIB has reaffirmed support for the project and will continue considering a long-term investment, Invest Alberta reported on July 15. It noted, too, the government of Alberta will continue assessing the project, “including seeking input from municipalities and Indigenous communities, and the potential to advance the project under a long-term P3 [public-private partnership] model that would attract investment, and ensure the project can be supported for many years in the future.” Invest Alberta—Alberta’s Crown Corporation dedicated to attracting investment—“will engage with the marketplace” this summer on behalf of Alberta Transportation.
Alberta Transportation and CIB signed a MOU in June 2020 to undertake project feasibility studies, which have been completed, Invest Alberta said. Additionally, “[t]here has also been strong private-sector interest demonstrated through an unsolicited proposal by Liricon Capital Ltd. (Liricon) to act as the project developer.”
The proposed service could potentially include seven stops—Calgary International Airport, downtown Calgary, Calgary Keith, Cochrane, Morley (Stoney Nakoda), Canmore and Banff—along a dedicated line built within the existing Canadian Pacific (CP) right of way. It could offer up to 10 departures per day from the airport to Banff, and run express service from Calgary International Airport to downtown Calgary every 15 minutes.
“Our government values the partnership with the CIB to further assess the Calgary-Banff Rail project,” Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation, said. “We are excited by the role CIB plays in bringing private-sector expertise and capital needed for a project of this scale. We continue to look forward to explore this exciting project with community partners and stakeholders.”
“It’s great to see the partnership between the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the government of Alberta on a train between Calgary and Banff,” Canada’s Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna said. “A train to the iconic Banff National Park—the most visited national park in the country—would reduce congestion, lower emissions, [and] protect the pristine environment while creating jobs and economic opportunity. This MOU marks another step forward and is an example of how the CIB is focused on accelerating projects that will grow our economy and make Canada more competitive.”