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'This gives people a chance to get to the city': Saskatoon speed rail line concept looking for public support


In a province where there are vast distances between cities and towns, one local group is hoping to get public support for an idea to bridge those gaps with a rail line.

A project called SaskReconnect aims to get support for a mass transit solution which would be uniquely Saskatchewan. It’s the brainchild of Henry Feldkamp, who is spearheading this project.

Henry Feldkamp stands between First and Ontario Avenues in the downtown core, the proposed site of a proposed above ground high-speed rail terminal.

He says one of the goals of the service is to give residents living in rural areas transportation options, ultimately helping making them feel less isolated.

Sask Reconnect released a concept video showing how the train, which would operate on existing rail lines, would carry passengers and freight, making the connection to bigger centres easier.

“That’s where the services are and that’s where they are increasingly, and decreasingly in the outlying areas, so this gives people a chance to get to the city,” Feldkamp told CTV News.

The idea has been in the works for years, but officially released it this spring according to Feldkamp.

The first phase would be to build a platform close to the original CPR station on Idylwyld Drive at 24th Street. Service to Prince Albert would be the first test route.

The concept would be unique because while it focuses on the major centres, the ultimate goal is to have service to smaller centres too. Feldkamp recommends residents look at an old provincial railway map, which will demonstrate the potential for many routes in all directions, not just north and south.

“There are eight directions from Saskatoon while the same is true from Regina and Moose Jaw,” he says.

Utilizing existing rail lines will come at a rental cost to the train companies, but Feldkamp sees it as a positive relationship.

There’s no hard cost projection at the moment, because the project will be phased in over several years with various elements being added based on demand.

The City of Saskatoon was cautious in its comment about the proposal.

“The city is generally supportive of the philosophy of people having options for travel between large population centres within the province.”

Another major part of the project is to build a central terminal around the site of the former STC bus station on Ontario Avenue. That terminal will be above street level, a few stories up as to not interfere with street traffic and existing buildings.

There’s no definite timeline on the rail line, as Feldkamp maintains it will be driven by public support and a need for this alternative type of transportation. He is confident city officials will come on board if the public deems it necessary.

However, Feldkamp does admit that the new arena project slated for the downtown core is a factor in getting it going expeditiously. He wants to see the rail station planned in conjunction with the arena design, so they coincide in a beneficial way. Top Stories

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