VIA Rail to Improve Ottawa to Montréal Rail Line



    Ottawa Station gets a facelift

    MONTREAL, July 31 /CNW/ - As part of the Government of Canada's
$692 million dollar investment to improve passenger rail service, VIA Rail
Canada announced today that it plans to invest more than $25 million on a
multi-phase, multi-year program to modernize key parts of its rail
infrastructure between Ottawa and Montréal. These improvements are part of VIA
Rail's overall capital investment plan.
    In this first phase, upgrades to the Ottawa-Montréal line will include
the addition of a .76-km long passing track (siding) approximately
16 kilometers east of Ottawa, near Carlsbad Springs, a project which will be
carried out by PNR RailWorks Inc. The siding will be constructed with
remote-controlled power switches tied into the existing Centralized Traffic
Control (CTC) system and Rail Traffic Control (RTC) dispatch system. The
siding will also be equipped with a back track (additional track adjacent to
the siding) for the storage of maintenance equipment, when required.
    VIA will also be installing new continuously-welded rail and performing
other associated track work over some 40 track-miles between Coteau, Québec
and Moose Creek, Ontario. This work, which is expected to be completed within
the next few months, will be carried out by Total Track. Some trains on the
Montréal-Ottawa route may experience minor delays while this work is being
completed.
    Additionally, structural rehabilitation of the bridge over the South
Nation River in Casselman, a project which has been awarded to SEMA Railway
Structures, will also be completed.
    Improvements to VIA's Ottawa station are also planned. VIA will be
modernizing and improving the layout of the public washrooms, ticket office,
baggage operations and Panorama (VIA 1) lounge. The lounge will also be
enlarged to accommodate increased demand. As part of these renovations, VIA
will be making both technological and environmental improvements to the
station.
    The general contractor chosen for the project is Terlin Construction Ltd.
of Ottawa. CSV Architects Inc. and Norr Ltd., also of Ottawa, will provide
design and engineering support. Work on this project, worth some $500,000,
will begin shortly and is expected to be completed by this fall.
    "These initiatives will improve comfort, speed, ride quality and
reliability," said VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Côté.
"They will also enhance overall safety, and increase scheduling flexibility
and capacity for additional trains. Just as importantly", he noted, "a more
efficient operation will also contribute to reductions in fuel consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions."
    "The projects on VIA's Montréal-Ottawa route are part of the $692 million
in new funding this government announced in 2007 as part of its commitment to
providing Canadians with safe, reliable and sustainable passenger rail
service. This funding will help VIA to continue providing an affordable and
competitive option for inter-city travel - an especially important feature as
we seek means to reduce harmful emissions from travel in this time of high
energy costs," stated the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities.
    For more information on VIA Rail, or to reserve a ticket, go to VIA's
secure Web site at viarail.ca or call toll-free 1-888 VIA-Rail (1-888
842-7245) or 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired).

    As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is
to provide efficient, environmentally responsible and cost effective passenger
transportation services, both in Canada's busiest corridor and in remote and
rural regions of the country. Serving more than 450 communities with a network
of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains, demand for rail services
continues to grow as more Canadians turn to train travel as a safe and
convenient travel choice.





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Malcolm Andrews, Corporate
Communications, (514) 871-6604, malcolm_andrews@viarail.ca; Catherine
Kaloutsky, Corporate Communications, (416) 956-7683,
catherine_kaloutsky@viarail.ca


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