The Alberta government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to assess the feasibility of a new passenger rail service between Calgary and Banff, the Calgary-Banff Rail project.
Canada Infrastructure Bank will pay for the feasibility study that will assess the potential service that would run between Calgary International Airport and Banff, with stops in between.
The Calgary-Banff Rail Project
- New 130-kilometre sustainable passenger rail service that would potentially include six stops (Calgary International Airport, Downtown Calgary, Cochrane, Morley, Canmore and Banff) along a dedicated line built within the existing Canadian Pacific Railway’s corridor.
- The service could have up to eight departures per day from the airport to Banff
- Plus the capability of running an express service from Calgary International Airport to downtown Calgary every 20 minutes.
Alberta saw 36.9 million person-visits in 2017 with about 23,000 vehicles travelling Highway 1 in both directions at the Banff National Park gates every day.
This is part of the government’s 10-year tourism strategy to double tourism spending in Alberta to $20 billion by 2030. $8.9 billion was spent by visitors in 2017.
Banff National Park attracts about four million visitors a year.
Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation said, “Our government is creating an environment where investors and job creators can succeed in Alberta. We are pleased to be partnering with the CIB to complete a feasibility study for the Calgary-Banff Rail project. The CIB brings expertise and experience that is needed for a project of this scale. We look forward to learning more about this exciting project and hearing from our community partners about how this opportunity can support our tourism industry and get our economy back on track.”
Passenger rail service which was run by VIA Rail was discontinued in 1989 because the service was not profitable.