Passenger rail service to continue in Northern New Brunswick

Minister Raitt and Premier Alward applaud tentative agreement between VIA Rail and Canadian National

FREDERICTON, May 12, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, and New Brunswick Premier, the Honourable David Alward, were pleased to announce today that a tentative agreement has been reached between VIA Rail and the Canadian National Railway (CN), which will allow VIA's passenger rail service to continue on the Newcastle subdivision.

Under the tentative agreement, which must be ratified by their respective boards, VIA Rail will provide funding  to CN for rehabilitation work on the line between Nelson Junction and Nepisiquit Junction. Work will be done on 70.8 kilometres (44 miles) of track, and represents a $10.2M investment for VIA Rail.

As a result of this agreement, VIA Rail will be able to continue to offer its Ocean passenger rail service between Bathurst and Miramichi three days per week in each direction as part of its Montreal-Halifax service.  

VIA Rail will hold discussions with the province and municipalities along the subdivision to explore ways they can assist in increasing train ridership.

Minister Raitt noted that she has been following the situation closely and has strongly urged VIA Rail and CN to work together to find a solution that will benefit the citizens of New Brunswick.

Minister Raitt also took the opportunity to acknowledge the appointment of Mr. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, and to welcome him as the new president and chief executive officer of VIA Rail Canada.

Quick Facts

  • With some 48,000 kilometres of track, Canada has one of the largest rail networks in the world.
  • On January 24, 2014, the Province of New Brunswick announced that it had reached an agreement with CN to preserve rail freight service on the Newcastle Subdivision's northern and southern sections of the line. New Brunswick will invest up to $25 million in rail infrastructure improvements, while CN will spend a comparable amount to maintain and operate the line, ensuring continued rail freight service for 15 years.  
  • In 2013, the Montreal-Halifax Ocean service carried 76,337 passengers in total. Passengers either beginning or ending their journey in New Brunswick totaled 55,259.


"Our government is committed to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. The continuity of VIA Rail's Ocean service on this rail line in Northern New Brunswick is excellent news as it will not only benefit the users, but also each community along the route by maintaining jobs and supporting the local economy."

The Honourable Lisa Raitt,
Minister of Transport

"Access to rail for both passenger and cargo services is vital to the growth and prosperity of many communities in Northern New Brunswick. Our government's investment in the future of these communities is an important part of our plan to create jobs and make life better in New Brunswick."

The Honourable David Alward,
Premier of New Brunswick


SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information: Ashley Kelahear, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, 613-991-0700; Jesse Robichaud, Press Secretary, Office of the Premier, 506-453-2144; Transport Canada is online at Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.; This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.


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