The entire train and dedicated rail line in the CP Rail corridor is being funded by a public-private-partnership (P3). This approach to infrastructure funding is being supported by the federal government and the federally owned Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) so all levels of government are not required to provide the upfront capital and bear the risks associated with this investment. Fifty per cent (50%), or $750 million of the $1.5 billion in capital funding required to build CABR, is projected to be provided by the CIB at a 1% interest rate. The remaining $750 million will be financed by the proponents (Liricon/Plenary) at commercial rates.
The new 150km rail line, rolling stock (trains) and stations are expected to cost $1.5 billion. Building most of the new rail line within the existing CP Rail corridor is a fraction (5% estimate) of the cost to acquire land and build a new rail corridor, which is typical for greenfield urban rail and LRT projects.
The fare box, or operating revenue from the train, will cover all the operating and maintenance costs of the CABR service and cover 50% of the mortgage for the capital cost ($1.5 billion) to build the CABR project.
The Province of Alberta (Alberta taxpayers) are being capped at a $30 million per year mortgage for 50 years, based on current ridership projections. Under the proposed funding model, the Government of Alberta will own the CABR train and rail assets after the 50-year mortgage. Increased ridership as a result of increased Banff National Park entrance fees (to reduce personal vehicle access to the park) could significantly reduce the Province of Alberta’s mortgage obligation.
The multi-level fare structure allows for increased revenue for first-class passengers, premium economy passengers and out-of-province passengers to increase affordability and ridership for Alberta residents.
The annual costs to run and maintain the CABR train service are covered by the fare box operating revenue plus 50% of the capital cost to build the train. The proponents are assuming all the risk to achieve this projected revenue and not the Government of Alberta (the Alberta taxpayer).
The proponents, the Government of Alberta and the CIB have paid for all studies on the CABR service to date.
The total cost of the Design Phase is estimated at $105 million. The first $30 million cost is to be paid equally by the proponents, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and the Government of Alberta, as required by the CIB. The first $30 million will determine the project feasibility and will be done in four stages to minimize risk in making a final investment decision. The remaining $75 million cost of the Design Phase is the responsibility of the proponents.
The intention is to have seven stops: Calgary Airport – Downtown Calgary – Calgary West – Cochrane – Stoney Nakoda Nation – Canmore – Banff. Additional information and a map can be seen here.
The train will be powered by hydrogen. It will be the first hydrogen powered passenger rail service in North America with a zero emissions system, which will help to accelerate Alberta’s developing hydrogen economy. Hydrogen-powered train service has already been successfully introduced in Europe.
There isn’t enough space for electrified trains adjacent to the CP Rail mainline in downtown Calgary.
For CABR, brownfield refers to the railway being built within the CP Rail corridor and Calgary Airport Authority’s lands. Because there are no land acquisition costs, service relocations and disruptions, and a more simplified approval process, the construction timeline is also drastically reduced as well as the cost ($10 million/km vs $200 million/km for a greenfield rail).
Conversely, a greenfield railway needs to be built on land that’s yet to be acquired and will also require additional permitting time, additional time and cost for land acquisition and additional time and cost for local impact studies, which all add to the overall timeline and project costs.
The train will travel from the Calgary Airport to downtown Calgary every two to three minutes with an express service that will take 15-20 minutes (depending on final station configuration). The train will offer service from the Calgary Airport to Banff every one to two hours, depending on seasonality and demand. Additional stops and service to Calgary West (Keith), Cochrane, Stoney Nakoda Nation, and Canmore will be scheduled to accommodate both local commuter and tourism demands.
Residents of Alberta can ride the train for a lower rate than out-of-region visitors. Alberta residents’ economy tickets:
- Calgary Airport – Downtown Calgary: $10*
- Downtown Calgary – Banff: $20*
*based on 2021 dollars
CABR would stop at the existing Banff Train Station.
Improvements to the Banff Train Station to accommodate public transit service to downtown Banff and various park destinations will be serviced by both public and private sector operators to provide an optimal and cost-effective visitor experience.
At this time one can expect additional costs for additional transportation services within Banff and the park. Packaging of CABR and Banff-centred transportation services will be encouraged and deployed to reduce cost and enhance service delivery.
Yes, storage compartments will be able to accommodate large pieces of luggage and sporting equipment such as skis, snowboards and hiking gear.
At this time the CABR proponents have developed a rail service serving seven stops – YYC, Downtown Calgary, Cochrane, Morley, Canmore and Banff. To date, ridership studies were prepared based on the previously referenced stops/stations.
The Design Phase of the CABR project will examine all stop/station locations and will consider additional or alternative locations and the feasibility to service those local markets. Friends of CABR’s objective is to inform residents of the Bow Valley Corridor of the CABR project and its merits. We also want to activate supporters of the CABR project to ensure the Government of Alberta proceeds with the Design Phase before making a final investment decision on proceeding with the CABR project.
We expect that additional stops/stations will be considered in and around the Airport (YYC) as well as in Downtown Calgary. As a result, a more robust review of station locations and the costs to service those locations will be conducted in the Design Phase.
The location of the stations serviced by CABR will be the responsibility of the local municipalities and the First Nations (Stoney Nakoda) serviced by CABR in partnership with the CABR proponents. This will be determined as part of the CABR Design Phase which is to be funded by the CABR proponents, the Canadian Infrastructure Bank and the Government of Alberta. The Design Phase is the next required step to determine project feasibility and will ultimately lead to an investment decision on the CABR project.
There would appear to be strong interest in locating a station at Hwy 1 and Hwy 40 for the reasons questioned. The final decision on that will be made in consultation with the Stoney Nakoda Nation.
Liricon/Plenary has investigated various mitigation alternatives to minimize CABR’s impact on wildlife. The Design Phase will be critical to determining the optimal wildlife impact mitigation approach, be it the adoption of fencing and wildlife crossings or the use of technology including both lighting and sound to warn wildlife of approaching trains. In the Design Phase, the potential of using this new technology and other mitigation strategies will be further pursued.
Do You Have a Question?
Let us know. We’ll get back to you and update this page.
By submitting the form you agree that your message may be shared on our website and social media. You will also be added to our email list which you may opt out of at any time.