+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 12-09F

Provincial High Speed Rail

January 1, 2009
Expiry Date:
November 30, 2012
Active Status:
Mountain View County
2 - Central
Transportation and Infrastructure
Vote Results:

WHEREAS Alberta continues to experience tremendous growth and a robust economy along the Highway 2 corridor which benefits Alberta and rural municipalities along this major transportation route; and

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has committed to working with rural communities to ensure they have the tools and environment necessary to prosper; and

WHEREAS the Alberta Government released a report on a market assessment study of potential high-speed rail service in the Calgary-Edmonton; and

WHEREAS the report notes a potential high level alignment map which shows two options:
1. Following the existing CPR alignment; and
2. A new route which appears to follow Highway 2.

WHEREAS potential crossings pose a serious safety concern and public liability if not placed in an appropriate area with alternative options for traffic which are not at the expense of the rural tax payers; and

WHEREAS the municipalities have planned growth along Highway 2 corridor which could be jeopardized by the alignment, thus losing the opportunity for municipalities to diversify their tax base,

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties activate the Standing Committee on Transportation to study the potential impacts on  the rural areas which may be affected by the high speed rail, including but not limited to growth areas and access management, and that Alberta Urban Municipalities Association be requested to take part in the study.

Member Background:

On July 6, 2009 the Alberta Government released a report on a market assessment study of potential high-speed rail service in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor.  A federal Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is gathering information for its national study on High-Speed Rail in Canada. Alberta has been asked to provide the high-speed rail report to the Committee, which will reconvene in September.

The study, reviewed the ridership, revenues and demand for high-speed rail service within the corridor. It also compared the costs and advantages of four different high-speed train technologies:
– 200 km/hr diesel electric train;
– 240 km/hr jet or electric train;
– 320 km/hr overhead electric train; and
– 500 km/hr magnetic levitation train.
The report indicates that nearly 10 million passenger trips took place in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor in 2006. Of these passenger trips, 91 per cent were made by automobiles, about six per cent by air and three per cent by bus. The average annual growth rate in the corridor has been more than three per cent annually over the past decade.  Given the projected growth of the overall travel market in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, it is estimated that high-speed rail ridership would increase by about 35 per cent from 2021 to 2031, and by about 43 per cent from 2031 to 2051.

Three options were reviewed regarding potential stops:
No-Stop Scenario: Express downtown Edmonton to downtown Calgary;
One-Stop Scenario: Adds a stop at Red Deer; and
Three-Stops Scenario: Adds suburban Edmonton and Calgary stops.

The report makes no recommendations regarding the feasibility of high-speed rail or future government involvement in such a project.  However, it is the Government’s aim to look at different options for providing the infrastructure required to support Alberta’s economy and communities.
The Alberta government will continue to assess options on next steps regarding high-speed rail and will await the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities’ final report. As such, no decisions have been made regarding the implementation of high-speed rail in Alberta.

Within the report a potential high level alignment map has been provided which shows two options:
Following the existing CPR alignment; and
A new route which appears to follow Highway 2.

It is unlikely that the existing CPR line will be utilized for a number of reasons such as structure stability and the number of urban municipalities it would traverse through.  The more likely scenario would be a new dedicated line.  Should this line be routed through our growth centres it would drastically restrict our overall growth and development strategy.  In addition, the alignment will also affect our road infrastructure as crossings will most likely be very limited.  Therefore, it is important that the issue regarding solutions such as flyovers are considered and that the financial burden not rest with the municipality. 

Full details on the high speed rail is available at www.transportation.alberta.ca/3940.htm

In addition, the Government of Alberta has publicly noted the importance of rural Alberta and has committed to working with rural communities to ensure they have the tools and environment necessary to prosper.  As such, it is imperative that the rural concerns form an integral part of the evaluation of High Speed Rail in Alberta as it will have the most significant impact on our municipalities.

Full details on the A Place to Grow – Rural Development Strategy Progress Report is available at:

The impact of moving forward to high speed rail will affect all of Alberta.  There are significant costs associated with construction of this magnitude.  With a significant invest such as this, it would be likely that the standards set for this rail will be utilized for other rail options for other areas of the Province.

RMA Background:

The AAMDC has no current resolutions directly related to this issue.


The AAMDC Standing Issues Committee on Resources and Environment spent the summer of 2010 working with a consultant to develop a study on the rural impacts of high speed rail. The final report was made available to the membership during Fall 2010 and has been submitted to Alberta Transportation for their consideration.

Provincial Boards and Organizations:
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