COBOURG, ON, Aug. 21, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, as part of VIA Rail's many projects to modernise the corporation, MP Richard Norlock, Member of Parliament for Northumberland – Quinte West, Paul G. Smith, Chairman of the Board of VIA Rail, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of VIA Rail and Gil Brocanier, mayor of Cobourg officially opened a new overhead walkway and central platform at Cobourg Station.
Over the past few years, Cobourg Station has been the site of a major construction project leading to improved accessibility, security, and safety, as well as a better travel experience for passengers. The new accessible walkway was created to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities. The overhead walkway, which is equipped with elevators to access a new heated central platform, was completed in late December 2013, and put into service in early 2014.
"VIA Rail is proud to offer passengers travelling through Cobourg greater comfort, better accessibility, and increased security," stated Paul G. Smith, Chairman of the Board of VIA Rail, "This walkway, made possible thanks to financing from the Government of Canada, is an important asset from which everyone will benefit. Not only did this renovation project stimulate job creation, it also demonstrates our commitment increasing passenger rail transport in the region. This new walkway will respond to increased demand for, and ridership on, our trains."
The 14 million dollar project was funded in part through an unprecedented Government investment in VIA Rail of over one billion dollars. Of the 14 million, one million dollars was funded through Canada's Economic Action Plan. The total capital investment, which began in 2007, was used to fund projects to improve and modernize VIA Rail's rolling stock, infrastructure, stations and technology.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada and its 2,500 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across Canada, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years, and was the recipient of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested almost a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Read about our transformation at www.viarail.ca/TransformingVIA.
About the new Cobourg Facilities
The project was carried out in conjunction with a $320 million program to upgrade the rail infrastructure throughout the CN Kingston Subdivision between Montréal and Toronto. It is made possible by an unprecedented capital investment of over a billion dollars in the national passenger rail service by the federal government, which will allow VIA Rail to deliver efficient, reliable, faster and more frequent passenger train services in the years ahead.
- The need for new facilities
The Kingston Subdivision infrastructure improvements include building additional lines of track, which will allow passenger and freight trains to overtake and pass each other without needing to slow down or stop on a siding. One new pocket track is being added at Cobourg. This means that a new island boarding platform located between tracks was necessary at the station, reached by an overhead bridge by passengers to ensure their safety.
- A modern, attractive facility
The design of the new facilities responds to the needs and expectations of Canadian travellers, providing a relaxing and welcoming experience for customers and reinforcing VIA Rail's market position as the more human way to travel.
VIA Rail is recognized as the green choice for travellers, and delivers a top-quality service that is encouraging more and more people to leave their cars at home and get to their destinations by train. The key to VIA Rail's success has been its renowned onboard service and customer care focused on making train travel the best possible travel experience for its customers.
VIA Rail designed the new Cobourg facilities with an attention to detail and with customer care in mind, since arrival and departure are as integral a part of the passengers' experience as being on the train itself. Design features include:
- Fully accessible features from the parking lot to the platform for passengers with disabilities.
- An efficient and aesthetically pleasing layout to ensure smooth passenger flow in the station.
- Large, ample windows that allow plenty of light and great views, including views of train arrivals and departures from multiple vantage points.
- Wider boarding platforms and expanded waiting areas.
Image with caption: "(left to right) Gil Brocanier, Paul G. Smith, Rick Norlock, and Yves Desjardins-Siciliano officially open the accessible walkway at Cobourg Station (CNW Group/VIA Rail Canada Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140821_C2698_PHOTO_EN_5036.jpg
SOURCE: VIA Rail Canada Inc.