VANCOUVER, April 13, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The completion of a $6.9 million project to restore VIA Rail's heritage train station in Vancouver was celebrated today by the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport), Ms Wai Young, Member of Parliament for South Vancouver and Mr. David Hoff, a member of VIA Rail Canada's Board of Directors.
"Today we see the positive results of Canada's Economic Action Plan and other federal investments in the many upgrades made to Vancouver station", said Minister Fletcher. "Our government continues to support projects like this that create jobs and improve passenger rail service and infrastructure."
"These improvements will not only benefit the many travellers who use Vancouver Station but bring economic benefits to local and regional businesses and the community," said Ms. Young,
VIA Rail has completed major renovations to the station, paying strict attention to preserving the heritage features of the building, which was built in 1919. First, the platform canopies and lighting were improved alongside the tracks where the trains arrive and depart, and station columns were repaired. This work was finished in 2010. Then a full restoration of the Vancouver Station building was undertaken. From top to bottom, the exterior masonry of the building was repointed and cleaned, the roof rebuilt, the exterior windows and doors restored or replaced and the iconic "Pacific Central" sign on the roof stabilized as well as security improvements made. This second phase was recently completed.
"We continue to transform passenger rail in Canada with new stations, tracks, trains and technology," said David Hoff of VIA Rail. "We remain focused on what counts: responding to markets and the needs of our customers in the most efficient way possible."
Funding for the upgrades to Pacific Central Station includes $2.3 million from the stimulus phase of the Economic Action Plan as part of a total investment of $923 million by the Government of Canada to VIA Rail to improve passenger rail services. It is among many other projects across the country to upgrade facilities, stations, equipment and infrastructure for the benefit of passengers. This includes improvements being made to the locomotives and passenger cars used on VIA's western transcontinental service, which makes an important contribution to VIA's success and Canada's tourism industry.
Designated a Heritage Rail Station by the Government of Canada in 1991, Vancouver Station has been a landmark in downtown Vancouver since 1919. It was named Pacific Central Station in 1993, when VIA began operating the facility as an integrated intermodal terminal serving Amtrak trains from Seattle and intercity bus services, as well as VIA's passenger trains.
VIA has completed extensive restoration of the station over the past three years, including work on the platform canopies alongside the tracks, repair and repointing of all exterior stonework, roof repairs, and restored or new exterior windows and doors. Security improvements have also been made. The $6.9 million restoration was funded by the Government of Canada, including $2.3 million from the Government's Economic Action Plan.
A feature article on the restoration project is available online:
A media gallery of project photos is available at:
Investing in Passenger Rail
The station investment is part of a nationwide investment to improve Canada's passenger rail service. The Government of Canada announced a $516 million investment to strengthen passenger rail services in 2007. Another $407 million was added in 2009 through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government's economic stimulus program. The total of $923 million in funding is the biggest capital investment in VIA Rail's history.
Capital projects include:
Trains: rebuilding locomotives and passenger cars to improve reliability, environmental performance, and quality of service.
Track: improving and upgrading track in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, where the demand for passenger rail service is highest, to improve on-time performance and allow faster, more frequent intercity trains.
Stations: major renovations and restoration such as the Vancouver station project, building new stations where needed, and upgrading all stations across Canada to improve customer comfort, safety and security.
Technology: upgrading and developing new technologies to improve operational efficiency, provide better online services to customers, enhance customer service, and integrate VIA's travel booking and ticketing systems with those of other transportation services.
Information on all capital projects is available online at: viarail.ca/transformingVIA
VIA in Western Canada
VIA provides passenger services mandated by the Government of Canada. These include rapid intercity services, cross-Canada services, and services to remote communities.
In Western Canada, VIA provides year-round, all-weather services, including the legendary Canadian train operating between Toronto and Vancouver three times per week. VIA also operates regional services in the West, between Jasper, Alberta and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and between Winnipeg and Churchill, Manitoba.
More information about VIA Rail and its services is available online at:
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's (www.viarail.ca) mandate is to provide safe, efficient, environmentally sustainable passenger transportation, in the country's two official languages. Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network. Winner of the 2011 RAC Safety Award, VIA transports over four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government has provided VIA with nearly one billion dollars in capital investment funding. Follow the evolution of current projects at viarail.ca/transformingVIA. Follow VIA on Twitter at twitter.com/via_rail. Visit VIA on Facebook at facebook.com/viarailcanada
For further information:
Office of the Honourable
Minister of State (Transport)
Transport Canada - Ottawa
VIA Rail Canada