ETOBICOKE, ON, March 19, 2018 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is building on its successful long-term plan that focuses on people and on the things that matter most to Canadians, including a good transportation system. Canadians in all region benefit from travelling in a passenger rail fleet that is efficient, safe, accessible and affordable. To keep Canada's travel system competitive and efficient, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport today announced that the Government of Canada will provide funding for VIA Rail to replace its fleet in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.
As it is reaching the end of its useful life, the fleet in this corridor must be replaced to help maintain passenger safety for the next 30 years. The new fleet will also:
- reduce environmental impacts as engines with the latest technology will be more fuel-efficient resulting in air quality improvements;
- improve travellers' experience and accessibility by including visual communication media for hearing-impaired passengers; purpose-built accessible washrooms; on-board wheelchair lift, and a minimum of three wheelchair tie-downs per train, with two in the same car, an increase from the current one tie-down per train; and
- increase VIA Rail's operational flexibility and reliability by reducing the mechanical breakdowns that effect on-time-performance.
VIA Rail will soon launch a request for qualifications followed by a request for proposals. Interested bidders are encouraged to visit VIA Rail's website regularly for updates.
Budget 2018 also proposes $8 million for Transport Canada to undertake foundational work to advance VIA Rail's proposal for high frequency rail in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor. This phase of the project would support further economic analysis of key issues associated with a project of this size, such as revenue and ridership projections, as well as estimates for capital and operating costs. This funding will also go towards: exploring opportunities to leverage private investment or a potential role for the Canada Infrastructure Bank, and open and transparent engagement with potentially affected communities, including Indigenous peoples.
These activities would inform future decisions, allowing the Government of Canada to move forward with the path most likely to deliver good value for taxpayers and the best possible outcomes for travellers.
"VIA Rail has been connecting Canadians together for decades and plays an important role in the lives of Canadians who rely on the train for their transportation needs. We are proud of investing in this new fleet to make travel more accessible and efficient for all Canadians, support economic growth and job creation and promote a sustainable environment for generations to come."
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
"We thank the Government of Canada for their trust in VIA Rail and for this historic investment. It will allow us to significantly improve our intercity rail service. It will also ensure Canadians continue to have uninterrupted access to the Quebec City-Windsor corridor on a sustained long-term basis. A new modern fleet will provide our travellers with safer, faster, more frequent, more accessible and environmentally friendlier service. This important milestone moves us forward with VIA Rail's transformation plan. It will make VIA Rail the smarter way for Canadians to travel in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor."
President and Chief Executive Officer, VIA Rail Canada
- The Quebec City-Windsor Corridor accounts for 94% of VIA Rail's ridership.
- Replacing VIA Rail's locomotives with modern equipment will reduce nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter emissions by up to 85%.
- Budget 2018 proposed funding to replace VIA Rail's cars and locomotives with 32 new, bi-directional trains, maintaining current seating capacity for use in the Windsor-Quebec City Corridor. This will ensure that VIA Rail's rolling stock in the Corridor will remain safe and comfortable, and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.
SOURCE Transport Canada
For further information: Delphine Denis, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, 613-991-0700, [email protected]; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055, [email protected]; Mariam Diaby, Senior Advisor, Media Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 514 871-6010, [email protected]