Three consortia invited to bid on Canada’s High Frequency Rail project

July 21, 2023
The groups will bid on the project to determine which will become the developer partner on the project to connect Toronto to Quebec City with improved and more accessible rail service.

Canada’s High Frequency Rail project, which aims to provide improved and more accessible rail service and support long-term regional and economic growth, is advancing procurement of the project’s developer partner with the selection of three consortia that will be invited to submit bids through the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage. The government of Canada will issue the RFP in September.

Following a Request for Qualifications, the final entities to be invited to bid on the project include:

  • 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)

“Today marks an important step in the High Frequency Rail project. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the three qualified suppliers to seek their unique expertise and further refine many aspects of this initiative that will connect Canadian communities together,” said Canada Minister of Public Services and Procurement Helena Jaczek.

The government of Canada explains High Frequency Rail is a transformational project that promises to fundamentally change the way Canadians travel in southern Ontario and Québec, improving accessibility and providing more travel flexibility.

Plans to increase frequency of service on the Toronto to Quebec City corridor were introduced by VIA Rail Canada in 2016, but it wasn’t until July 2021, when the government of Canada unveiled plans to pursue high-frequency rail service. The project will be managed by VIA HFR – VIA TGF Inc. (VIA HFR), a subsidiary of VIA Rail.

“I am thrilled that High Frequency Rail — the largest infrastructure project —is advancing to the next stage of the procurement process. This exciting initiative will require strong collaboration between Transport Canada, VIA HFR and the selected private developer partner to create a sustainable foundation for the design and development of the project. I look forward to the next phase of this project,” said Canada Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.