Three Consortiums Qualify for Canada’s HFR Project

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Following a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), Canada’s High Frequency Rail (HFR) project in Ontario and Quebec has advanced three consortiums to the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage:

  • Cadence: CDPQ Infra, SNC-Lavalin, Systra Canada, Keolis Canada.
  • Intercity Rail Developers: Intercity Development Partners, EllisDon Capital, Kilmer Transportation, First Rail Holdings, Jacobs, Hatch, CIMA+, First Group, RATP Dev Canada, Renfe Operadora.
  • QConnexiON Rail Partners: Fengate, John Laing, Bechtel, WSP Canada, Deutsche Bahn.

The RFQ “was a crucial step toward selecting a private developer partner who will work collaboratively with VIA HFR to design and develop the High Frequency Rail project,” the Government of Canada said. “Once the RFP launches this September, participants will be asked to present their proposal, including a technically and commercially feasible solution, a business plan and a management plan for the co-development, construction and operations phases of the project. This approach will incentivize respondents to identify and prioritize the benefits to Canadians in their proposals, while also providing them with the flexibility to take innovative approaches to meet or exceed the desired project outcomes.”

The government added that “the entire procurement process has been and will continue to follow the highest standards and is overseen by a fairness monitor, an independent consultant that acts as an objective, third-party observer, monitoring the procurement process and ensuring that it is conducted in a fair manner. Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is [also] a priority, and early engagement with Indigenous communities is already under way. As part of the RFQ process, respondents were required to demonstrate their capacity to work with the government to create mutually beneficial, socio-economic development opportunities for Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous reconciliation is critical to the success of the HFR project and will be integrated in all phases of the project. National security and related risks will also be assessed throughout the project, along with measures to address such risks. Selection of the chosen private developer partner will depend on several conditions, including national security.”

Canada’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget provided Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada with close to $400 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to continue advancing key HFR project activities and undertake the procurement phase. The next steps in the procurement process include the RFP launch in September 2023, followed by RFP evaluation in summer 2024.

The Government of Canada said it “is also committed to exploring options to enhance intercity passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario, including increased frequencies. Work is being undertaken to better understand the operating environment in Southwestern Ontario, and to explore options for enhancing service west of Toronto, including London and Windsor.”


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