Cooperation agreement between VIA Rail and SNCF International to promote their know-how in the field of passenger train services



    VIA RAIL'S EXPERTISE AND KNOW-HOW RECOGNIZED BY SNCF INTERNATIONAL

    MONTREAL, July 4 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada announced today the
signing of a cooperation agreement with SNCF International, an independent
subsidiary of the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer français (SNCF; the
French railway system), designed to promote their know-how in operating and
managing existing passenger train services both in North America and elsewhere
in the world.
    Thanks to this close collaboration, VIA Rail Canada and SNCF
International will share their knowledge and experience in order to encourage
rail transport, and to commercialize the know-how and long professional and
technical traditions of La Groupe SNCF and VIA Rail for the ultimate benefit
of passengers. The collaboration between the two companies will take various
concrete forms, ranging from joint participation in requests for proposals to
technical or operational support in the development of projects, in particular
in the fields of customer service, operations, maintenance of rolling stock,
training, management and information exchange.
    "We are very pleased to be signing this agreement with SNCF
International, which has an excellent reputation in the rail sector. This
collaboration will allow us to share our respective know-how, and confirms
that VIA Rail is a model to which other countries turn concerning questions of
passenger rail," declared Paul Côté, VIA's President and CEO.
    The Chairman and CEO of SNCF International, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, for
his part affirmed: "VIA Rail has a great deal of expertise in the delivery of
passenger train services, and will certainly be an added value to help us open
doors to new business opportunities."
    "As Canadians mark the 141st anniversary of Confederation, we remember
railways helped build our modern nation. I congratulate VIA Rail Canada and
SNCF International for this new partnership to share expertise with
international railway clients. I expect that they will play a significant role
in showcasing the Canadian expertise in today's transportation systems. The
signing of this agreement speaks to the historic collaboration between Canada
and France," stated the honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities.

    SNCF International, a fully-owned subsidiary of SNCF, markets the French
rail experience to rail networks and operators the world over. Created in
1999, it intervenes in all steps of development of a rail project, from
conception to implementation.

    As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is
to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost effective passenger
transportation services, both in Canada's busiest corridor and in remote and
rural regions of the country. VIA serves more than 450 communities with a
network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains. Increasingly
travellers are turning to train travel as a hassle-free and cost-efficient
alternative to congested roads and airports as well as a more environmentally
responsible way to travel.




For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Malcolm Andrews, VIA Rail
Canada, (514) 871-6604, Malcolm_Andrews@viarail.ca; Didier Hérouin, SNCF
International, 011 33 1 5325 6342, didier.herouin@sncf.fr


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