Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray says the province will begin an environmental assessment in the fall for a proposed high-speed rail line that would connect London, Kitchener and Toronto.

Murray announced in London on Wednesday that the trains will travel 320 km/h, with 28 trains running between London, Kitchener, Toronto and Pearson International Airport every day. Murray said total travel time should be 71 minutes from London to Toronto and 48 minutes from Kitchener to Toronto.

The high speed rail strategy was based on a study of the London-Kitchener-Toronto area by First Class Partnerships, a regional transit consulting firm in London, England, said Murray.

The environmental assessment could take up to four years, and construction would be an additional three to four years, he said.

A new dedicated rail line would have to be built from London to Kitchener before the project can come to fruition. The province already owns about 80 per cent of the track between Kitchener and Toronto, and it is currently being upgraded. 

Based on the consultant report, it would cost between $2-3 billion in new spending to build the high speed rail line, Murray said. That doesn't include the cost of the upgrades to the track between Kitchener and Toronto.

"It's quite a significant range. We don't have more detailed information from that because that will be the result of a more detailed study that will take place over the next three years," he said. 

The cost of the project is "relatively low," Murray said, "because we’re building it on top of an existing rail corridor." 

The high speed rail line is part of a $29-billion infrastructure plan the Ontario Liberals announced two weeks ago.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of the story and the headline stated that Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray estimated total travel time on the proposed high speed rail line between London and Toronto would take 30 minutes. In fact, the total travel time is 71 minutes.
    Apr 30, 2014 5:44 PM ET