VIA Rail Canada has unveiled its first of its newest fleet of trains that will serve the Québec City – Windsor corridor.
Standing in front of the new test train at the Ottawa station, VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer, Cynthia Garneau and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Françoise Bertrand, introduced the first of 32 new trains designated for VIA Rail’s new Corridor fleet.
“This new fleet marks a new era for passenger rail service in the Corridor, where we served over 4.7 million passengers in 2019 and which represented 96% of our ridership pre-pandemic. In addition to being one of the most environmentally friendly fleets in North America, this modern new fleet will offer our passengers an unparalleled, barrier-free, and fully accessible travel experience,” said Cynthia Garneau, VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer.
Funding for the new trainsets was announced in the 2018 Federal budget and represents and investment of close to a billion dollars.
“Canadians have relied on VIA Rail to connect them for years. The new fleet will offer a new era of comfort and efficiency for the workers, families, and tourists who travel on these tracks. By supporting VIA Rail’s large-scale modernization project, we are investing in accessible, reliable, environmentally friendly ways for Canadians to see each other and see their country,” said the Honorable Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Transport Minister.
Highlights of the New Fleet
Key features of VIA Rail’s new corridor fleet include:
- Wider aisles, automatic touchless interior doors, adjustable tray tables, and ergonomic seats
- Onboard wheelchair lifts, five Mobility Aid Spaces (MAS) per trainset, large accessible washrooms, braille, and embossed signage
- Diesel engines and a bidirectional train configuration that allows for less operating time with the engines to make it more environmentally friendly
Winter trials of the test train will begin in DEC 2021, with the first train expected to go into service in Q4 2022.
For more information on VIA Rail, visit its web site.