The Canadian Government is set to provide funding for Via Rail to replace its fleet with new vehicles in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.
The company’s fleet, which is reaching the end of its effective lifespan, will be replaced with 32 new, bi-directional trains.
Following the announcement, Via Rail is expected to launch a request for qualifications to initiate the process to procure new trains. It will be followed by a request for proposals.
Canada Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said: “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 new units are to be equipped with fuel-efficient engines and expected to have a smaller environmental impact, as well as an enhanced passenger experience.
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They will also feature visual communication media for hearing-impaired passengers, on-board wheelchair lifts and at least three wheelchair tie-downs per train, and purpose-built accessible washrooms.
The introduction of new trains will also enable Via Rail to improve operational flexibility and reliability, as well as minimise mechanical breakdowns.
In its 2018 budget, the government also proposed $8m for Transport Canada to carry out work to assess Via Rail’s proposal to operate high-frequency rail in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor.