The idea of creating a rail passenger service between Calgary International Airport and Banff, including a stop in Cochrane, has taken yet another step forward.
Recently, Invest Alberta, the province's investment attraction Crown corporation, reached a detailed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the service, alongside Alberta Transportation and the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), a federal Crown corporation.
It follows an MOU reached between Alberta Transportation and CIB last June.
The CIB says it plans to support the service and will consider paying for up to half of the $1B project by 2025.
Previous to that, municipalities between Calgary and Banff completed a feasibility study and signed their own MOU. Mayor Jeff Genung has been a strong advocate of the rail connection.
"We need to get this type of project off the ground," says Mayor Genung. "It's not going to be cheap, and we need the assistance of the provincial and federal government, and we've known that all along."
"I'm hopeful there's going to be some form of an announcement coming out of the province, and hopefully it's another step forward for this project."
The mayor recently discussed the proposal with newly-named Alberta Transportation minister Rajan Sawhney during a Stampede breakfast in Calgary.
"She was quite interested in the file, and sees it as a huge game-changer for the Bow Valley, specifically Cochrane and Calgary," says Genung.
The mayor got a positive vibe when he quizzed the minister.
"She kind of smiled at me and said there's not much I can share with you right now, but stay tuned."
Should the rail line be built it is expected to be a public-private partnership to attract investment, transfer risks, and drive performance.
"It's the operating model that we're really interested in and looking at provinces like Ontario with their Go Transit out of Toronto. It's something we'd like to build off of."
The Cochrane Crossing that's now under construction has been designed to allow for the include future amenities to accommodate the rail service.
It's been nearly 30 years since there was a regular passenger rail service between Calgary and Banff.