VIA Rail is Transforming Inter-City Transportation in Canada, says new chairman Paul G. Smith

MONTREAL, Feb. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Paul G. Smith, recently appointed as VIA Rail Canada's Chairman, said today that "VIA Rail is undergoing one of the biggest transformations in the corporation's history."  When it is completed, he concluded VIA Rail "will be a market leader, offering Canada's best travel experience." He was speaking in Montréal to the members of Quebec MBA Association.


Mr. Smith explained that VIA is expanding track capacity, remanufacturing locomotives and rail cars, and modernizing passenger stations and information technology systems … all as part of a major five-year $923M capital improvement program, due to be completed by 2013.

He also described how VIA will make passenger rail a primary transportation "backbone" between major urban centres by offering faster, more frequent and more convenient service. Mr. Smith recognized the foresight of the Government of Canada which has provided close to one billion dollars for capital investments to VIA Rail, since 2007, in part through its Economic Action Plan. This infusion of capital represents the biggest capital investment in VIA's history. He underlined that passenger train investments are on the rise worldwide.

Mr. Smith stressed the pressing need for sustainable solutions that address the real environmental and congestion-related challenges facing inter-city transportation in Canada today and in the future. He maintained that "through improved efficiency and integration with different modes of passenger transportation, the train is ideally positioned to help Canada meet these challenges." He emphasized that passenger rail is one of the most environmentally sustainable modes of public transportation.

"Add it all up, and it means that the need for efficient, high quality, and sustainable public transportation is becoming more important than ever." concluded Mr. Smith.

About VIA Rail Canada
Serving over four million passengers annually, in both official languages, VIA operates 503 intercity, transcontinental and regional trains per week linking 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, hassle-free and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports.

To see the full version of the speech made by Paul Smith, please click  .

To access biographical notes and Mr. Smith's photo, please click


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