Government of Canada and VIA Rail invest in rail service, jobs in Moncton

Cars to be used in Northern Ontario and on Vancouver Island

MONCTON, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Atlantic Gateway; Marc Laliberté, VIA Rail Canada's President and CEO; and Richard Carpenter, President of Industrial Rail Services Inc today announced funding for the complete modernization and upgrading of six self-propelled rail diesel cars (RDCs).

"Our Government's investment, through the Economic Action Plan, will benefit Canadians from across the country for years to come," said Minister Ashfield. "This project will create skilled jobs, stimulate the regional economy and improve rail passenger service across Canada."

Industrial Rail Services Inc (IRSI) of Moncton has been awarded a $12.6 million contract for the project. The project to rebuild rail cars that will be used on VIA services between Sudbury and White River in Ontario and between Victoria and Courtenay in BC, is being fully funded through the Government's Economic Action Plan.

Built in the 1950s by the world-renowned Budd Company of Philadelphia, the six sturdy, stainless steel RDCs are structurally sound. Now, by applying numerous technologically-advanced sub-systems, the cars will provide 15 to 20 further years of safe and reliable service to Canadian rail travellers with improved cost-effectiveness and passenger comfort. The rebuilding project will also reduce the already-low environmental footprint of VIA's RDCs.

"The awarding of this contract for the rebuilding of our RDC fleet is yet another tribute to the unique skills and expertise the people of IRSI bring to every project," said Marc Laliberté. "You are helping all of us at VIA prove that the road to the future is paved with steel rails."

Among the advanced systems being incorporated into the RDCs by IRSI are:

    
    - New interiors and fully-rebuilt seating with improved accessibility for
      passengers with special mobility needs;
    - New, fully-accessible washrooms and toilets;
    - New LED interior lighting;
    - New controls, electrical wiring, and heating, ventilation and air
      conditioning systems;
    - Fully-rebuilt diesel engines that meet Euro II emission standards; and
    - Fully-rebuilt air brakes.
    

The first of the six rebuilt RDCs will be delivered by IRSI in April 2011 and the remainder of the fleet will be completed by the end of that year. The contract will support 31 to 40 positions at IRSI and generate the equivalent of 22.5 person-years of direct employment, as well as foster economic activity for numerous suppliers. The project is part of an unprecedented $923 million investment in passenger rail modernization and expansion by the Government of Canada.

"We are, of course, thrilled to be receiving this contract from VIA" said Richard Carpenter, President of IRSI. "Over our 10-year history, the highly-skilled workforce of IRSI has established a close relationship with the people of VIA by applying our expertise to the highly-specialized business of rebuilding proven passenger rail rolling stock for additional years of cost-effective service. The people of Moncton and all of our employees will take great pride in contributing yet again to the physical renewal of a form of travel that is obviously the smart, safe and sustainable alternative today."

ABOUT VIA RAIL CANADA

As Canada's national rail passenger service operator, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective passenger transportation services, in Canada's busy Quebec City-Windsor corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country. Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity, transcontinental and regional trains that link 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network.

The demand for VIA services is growing as travellers increasingly turn to train travel as a safe, reliable and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports.

    
    Backgrounders:
    --------------
    

To learn more about VIA's Capital Investment Program and its many upgrading works, please visit http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/our-company/capital-investment

ABOUT VIA's RDC SERVICES

VIA's six fully-rebuilt RDCs will be used on two of the railway's most diverse and scenic services.

In Northern Ontario, the 484-km Sudbury-White River service is a vital link for residents of and visitors to a remote region with limited transportation options. There are no all-weather roads or scheduled air services on this route across the rocky Canadian Shield. VIA's RDC-equipped train operates three days per week in each direction and provides the only reliable access to a region characterized by its numerous lakes and rugged beauty. The route is a popular summertime tourist destination, attracting campers, backpackers and anglers from around the world.

The Vancouver Island service operates daily in both directions over a 225-km route paralleling the Strait of Georgia from British Columbia's capital of Victoria, north to the important regional centres of Nanaimo and Courtenay, as well as 25 other intermediate stations. The train travels over the spectacular Malahat Pass and through lush coastal forests as it links the major cities and tourist attractions of Vancouver Island.

ABOUT INDUSTRIAL RAIL SERVICES, INC.

Industrial Rail Services, Inc. (IRSI) of Moncton, New Brunswick, is a full-service locomotive and passenger rail car facility specializing in equipment repairs, remanufacturing, modifications and refurbishment. Since its founding in 1999, IRSI has become North America's premier rebuilder of rail passenger equipment, strengthening Moncton's reputation as a global rail centre of excellence for more than a century.

IRSI's modern and well-equipped facility is located in the CN Gordon Yard on the eastern transcontinental main line. Its 125,000-square-foot facility is equipped with 18 exhausted service bays, overhead cranes, drop tables, tool cribs, designated stores and document control areas, a metal fabrication shop, training facilities, a wash bay and a new 100-foot, state-of-the-art paint shop.

The strength of IRSI is its highly skilled and dedicated workforce, whose craftsmanship is recognized throughout the rail industry and has earned the company certification by the Association of American Railroads.

SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: VIA Media Contact: Elizabeth Huart, (514) 871-6119, Elizabeth_huart@viarail.ca; Robert Lynch, Office of the Minister of State (Transport), (613) 991-0700


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890