The Government of Ontario in Canada is set to invest more than C$11bn ($8.7bn) to support the development of Phase I of the high-speed rail project between Ontario cities Toronto and London.

The project will reduce journey times by half along the Toronto-Windsor corridor and provide a more sustainable travel option.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said: “The best time to build high-speed rail was 30 years ago. The second best time is right now, so we are taking action.

“We are going to build this line, because high-speed rail is going to unlock so many benefits for people and businesses across Southwestern Ontario.”

“High-speed rail is going to unlock so many benefits for people and businesses across Southwestern Ontario.”

In December last year, Ontario issued a Request for Bids to conduct the environmental assessment terms of reference for the high-speed rail project. Engineering consultancy firm WSP won the contract and work is currently underway.

The high-speed project is one of several major investment programmes undertaken by Ontario to develop and expand public transit and transform into a low-carbon economy.

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Under the project, electric-powered trains will travel at a speed of up to 250km/h on a combination of existing track and new dedicated rail corridors.

The service is expected to connect London and Toronto Union Station in 73 minutes.

Ontario Minister of Transportation Kathryn McGarry said: “We are creating more transportation choices for people across Southwestern Ontario, and building an integrated transportation system that is prepared to meet the demands of the future.”

Phase I of the project will include stations at London, Kitchener, Guelph and Toronto Union Station along with a connection to Pearson International Airport.