Exciting prospects for passenger rail

May 12, 2016

Exciting prospects ahead for passenger rail

Written by  David Briginshaw, International Railway Journal

SIGNIFICANT developments on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are likely to have a profound effect on the future of passenger rail. Radical new funding models are emerging in North America, while in Europe the market pillar of the Fourth Railway Package (FRP) should sweep away many of the obstacles to greater involvement by the private sector heralding a reinvigoration of regional and inter-city passenger services.Website Insert Keep Your Money In-State copy

Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) is the first private US railway to re-enter the passenger market since the launch of Amtrak in 1971 with its project to introduce an inter-city passenger service linking Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, with the first phase opening in mid-2017. If successful, the project could encourage other railways to reassess their antipathy to passenger rail, and act as spur to new entrants to the market.

Another significant development is the announcement on April 22 by Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ), Quebec’s huge public pension fund which acquired 30% of Bombardier’s rail business last November, that it plans to build and operate a 67km automatic rail network in Montreal. CDPQ says it will provide 55% of the $C 5.5bn ($US 4.4bn) required to implement the project, with the balance coming from the Quebec and Canadian governments.

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