Government of Canada and VIA Rail award rolling stock overhaul and accessibility upgrading contracts



    MONCTON, May 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The overhaul of nearly one-quarter of VIA
Rail Canada's passenger car fleet and important accessibility improvements to
12 of its newest trainsets were announced today by Canada's Minister of State
for Transport, Rob Merrifield, VIA President and CEO Paul Côté and Richard
Carpenter, President of Industrial Rail Services, Inc. (IRSI) of Moncton.
    "This government's support of VIA Rail, through the Economic Action Plan,
will create skilled jobs and stimulate the economy across Canada," said
Minister of State Merrifield. "We are pleased to be taking action that will
provide faster, more frequent, more reliable passenger rail service across
Canada."
    The Light, Rapid and Comfortable (LRC) fleet overhaul, a $98.9 million
contract, will fully renew all 98 of VIA's Canadian-built cars. The overhaul
will not only renew them for up to 20 additional years of fast, comfortable
and reliable service, but also reduce their energy requirements by up to 20
per cent, making them more cost-effective and reducing their already-low
environmental footprint.
    The $5.8 million Renaissance rolling stock contract will upgrade 21 cars
in the 106-car fleet to offer new levels of accessibility for travelers with
special requirements on many trains in the Quebec-Toronto segment of VIA's
main corridor and on its overnight Montreal-Halifax Ocean.
    "I want to thank the Government of Canada for its recognition of the
potential of passenger rail through these substantial and cost-effective
investments in VIA's fleet," said Mr. Côté. "It is an investment that not only
stimulates the economy, but responds to the clear indications that Canadians
want and will support more and better passenger rail service. As the
custodians of that transportation service, the people of VIA are proud to make
these improvements on their behalf."
    The two contracts awarded to IRSI will create 135 new jobs and 613,000
person hours of employment at IRSI, as well as 50 additional jobs at
associated companies and suppliers. The projects are part of an unprecedented
investment in passenger rail modernization and expansion by the Government of
Canada.
    Richard Carpenter, President of IRSI, said, "I can think of no better way
for us to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of our company and our long
association with VIA. The people of Moncton and all of our highly-skilled
employees will take great pride in contributing to the physical renewal of a
form of travel that is obviously the smart, safe and sustainable alternative
today."

    Backgrounders:
    <a href="http://www.viarail.ca/investmentprogram/pdf/BK090501E-VIA-LRC.pdf">VIA's LRC Fleet</a>
    <a href="http://www.viarail.ca/investmentprogram/pdf/BK090501E-VIA-Renaissance.pdf">VIA's Renaissance Fleet</a>




For further information:

For further information: Christopher Hilton, Office of the Minister of
State (Transport), (613) 697-7324, Chris.Hilton@tc.gc.ca; Malcolm Andrews, VIA
Rail Canada, (514) 871-6604, (514) 946-4160 (cell),
Malcolm_andrews@viarail.ca


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