MOOSE Rail: One Step Closer to Reality

MOOSE Rail is an emerging “green” regional transit railway system in the National Capital Region based upon reuse of existing rail lines and new double-decker diesel-electric luxury passenger cars. MTBA is part of the Consortium developing it.

Moose_Map-Poster-ScreenOttawa, 29 June, 2016: Today a private sector consortium of twelve companies applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) seeking federal government authorization to proceed with the development of a 400 km inter-provincial passenger rail service throughout Canada’s Greater National Capital Region.

The plan has no dependence upon government subsidies, public debt, or taxes. It will increase the region’s sustainability, and will provide additional convenient, low-cost, lowcarbon transport options for urban, suburban and rural populations. Founded in 2015, MOOSE Consortium’s name is a bilingual acronym for “Mobility Ottawa-Outaouais: Systems & Enterprises” and “Mobilité Outaouais-Ottawa: Systèmes & entreprises”. Member firms include one of the region’s most respected civil engineering companies, REMISZ Consulting Engineers, as well as MTBA Architects which has long been one of the most prominent Architecture, Urbanism & Conservation firms in the Capital.

MOOSE plans to link urban and rural sectors of both eastern Ontario and west Quebec, using existing railway corridors and bridges. Its train service will exchange passengers with Ottawa’s new Light Rail Transit (LRT) system at Bayview Station in Lebreton Flats, and at the Tremblay Road VIA station. It will also connect with Gatineau’s Rapibus service.

The MOOSE rail service will cross the Ottawa River on the historic Prince of Wales Bridge located between Lebreton Flats and the University of Québec en Outaouais (UQO) campus. Wojciech Remisz, President of REMISZ Consulting Engineers said: “We have now formally submitted Moose’s $50M plan to retrofit the bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau. In addition to the repairs and upgrades required to restart railway operations, this will include the addition of a new cycling pathway cantilevered off the upstream side, and a pedestrian walkway on the downstream side, with picnic areas on Lemieux Island, offering a direct view of Parliament Hill.”

MOOSE Consortium estimates operations will achieve 20,000 tonnes of net CO2 reduction per year for the region, and remove 25,000 cars per day from downtown traffic. The group calculates that their service will enable households to redirect $20M annually from transportation spending to other needs, and will directly create hundreds of new permanent full-time skilled jobs in both urban and rural areas of the Region.

Commercially financed, developed and operated, MOOSE will be Canada’s first and only private sector metropolitan-scale rail transit system established in at least 100 years, and one of few in the world. The company’s application for development authorization is being submitted to the federal government on a date of great symbolism: the 125th Anniversary of the start of the Ottawa Electric Street Railway Company on 29 June 1891. Ottawa’s original railway transit system was similarly initiated, planned, financed, developed and managed entirely by commercial firms, and based on private sector investment.

MOOSE’s Director General, Joseph Potvin explained: “All the infrastructure and operational financing will be based upon the value added to property income and capital near stations. Each station will be owned, developed and operated as an autonomous enterprise under common regulation and monitoring.”

This is the Pre-feasibility Phase for MOOSE Rail.

MTBA Associates Inc. Architecture*Urbanism*Conservation, as a Partner/Consortium Founding Member, Architects & Urban Designers for MOOSE Rail, is investing their expertise and professional time in the preparation of three documents that form a part of the Pre-feasibility Report, which will be issued in 2016.

These are:

  1. Preliminary Heritage Evaluation of the Prince of Wales Bridge and its proposed rehabilitation intervention for bike and pedestrian paths;
  2. Preliminary Review of Planning for the typical proposed Linked Localities’ Real Estate Development opportunities;
  3. Preliminary Review of Planning/Design for the typical proposed new Station Buildings that will be installed along the rail line.

These reports are currently partially complete and these partial drafts have been submitted today with the application to the Canada Transportation Agency.

MTBA has urban design experience over almost 30 years, including the Victoria & Chaudière Islands Master Plan for the National Capital Commission, the waterfront redevelopment of Morrisburg and Iroquois, ON, two of the “Lost Villages” of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and many more projects in the Capital urban area. MTBA’s interest and expertise with transportation infrastructure includes being the Context-Sensitive Design Specialists teamed with BTE & MH Engineering for Rehabilitation of 23 bridges of the Ottawa Mid-town Queensway facility for Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO);

MTBA also has leading sustainable rehabilitation and cultural landscape expertise.

For the full Media Release, go to: