Government of Canada and VIA Rail announce new station for Belleville

    BELLEVILLE, ON, Aug. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - At a ceremony in Belleville,
Ontario, Prince Edward-Hastings MP Daryl Kramp, Mayor Neil Ellis and Pierre
Santoni, VIA Rail Canada's Senior Director, National Sales, announced VIA's
plans for a new station with improved and expanded facilities. VIA estimates
that it will invest as much as $7 million for the new station and related
improvements from recent capital funding for VIA announced by the Government
of Canada. $2.5 million of the project's cost will come from the government's
Economic Action Plan.
    "Investment in a new VIA station for Belleville will not only create new
jobs and stimulate the economy but also allow VIA to provide better service to
its local customers," said Daryl Kramp, MP for Prince Edward-Hastings. "By
investing in rail services and facilities such as those here in Belleville,
our government is demonstrating that funding for VIA's capital renewal will
stimulate economic activity and job creation, contribute to environmental
sustainability and improve Canada's passenger rail system for years to come."
    VIA's Pierre Santoni added, "The investments here in Belleville and
across our coast-to-coast route network will create a top-notch passenger rail
service. A rail service that is safe, swift and sustainable. A rail system
built by and for Canadians - for the 21st century. We - the 3,100 employees of
VIA - are delighted that the citizens of Belleville are going to be a part of
this new era in rail travel."
    VIA's new Belleville station will be a fully-accessible and
aesthetically-pleasing structure adjacent to the existing building. VIA is
currently studying options for the design of the new station, with the final
design to be selected later this year.
    Whatever design is selected for the new Belleville station, the
preservation of the existing structure is assured. Discussions will soon begin
with the City of Belleville regarding the preferred future use of this
historic building. The existing heritage-designated building, opened in 1856,
is no longer large enough to accommodate all customers at peak travel periods.
    Furthermore, VIA's previously-announced, $300 million Kingston
Subdivision Project will add new main line tracks and will include rearranging
the track layout in some locations to increase safety, train frequency and
service reliability. In Belleville, this involves adding two new main line
tracks and a second platform, which cannot be done while still making use of
the existing station.
    "Belleville's connection with and affection for the railways goes back to
1856, when the Grand Trunk's first train steamed into town," said Belleville
Mayor Neil Ellis. "It brought with it so many opportunities for this city to
grow and prosper. I'm convinced these VIA projects can and will do the same
    VIA's Belleville Station Project is linked with other work now or soon to
be underway throughout the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, which generates almost 90%
of VIA's ridership and 75% of its revenue. In combination, these projects will
allow for increases in VIA train safety, frequency and on-time performance, as
well as reductions in travel time.
    Major upgrading work is also underway on key elements of VIA's locomotive
and rolling stock fleets for intercity, transcontinental and remote service.
Other infrastructure projects are aimed at improving service quality and cost
efficiency at other points across VIA's coast-to-coast route network. These
upgrades are part of an unprecedented $923 million capital investment in
passenger rail modernization and expansion by the Government of Canada that is
stimulating job creation, skills development and private sector activity
across the country.

    About VIA Rail Canada

    As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is
to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective passenger
transportation, both in Canada's business corridor and in remote and rural
regions of the country. Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity,
transcontinental and regional trains 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. In
2008, VIA safely transported 4.6 million passengers - the most since 1989 -
and set an all-time record of $299 million in revenue.


    <a href="">VIA's CN Kingston Subdivision Project</a>
    <a href="">Other Capital Investment Backgrounders</a>

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Ashley Doyle, VIA Rail Canada,
(416) 528-9125; Chris Hilton, Office of the Minister of State (Transport),
(613) 991-0700

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