Canada Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and New Brunswick Premier David Alward have announced that VIA Rail and the Canadian National Railway (CN) have entered into a tentative agreement to continue VIA’s passenger rail service on the Newcastle subdivision.
As per the agreed terms, VIA Rail will provide CN with around C$10.2m ($9.4m) in funding, which will be used to renovate the 70.8km line between the Nelson and Nepisiquit junctions.
VIA Rail will be able to continue to offer its Ocean passenger rail service three days a week in each direction between Bathurst and Miramichi, as part of its Montreal-Halifax service.
Raitt said: "Our government is committed to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. The continuity of VIA Rail’s Ocean service on this rail line in northern New Brunswick will not only benefit the users, but also each community along the route by maintaining jobs and supporting the local economy."
In January, the Government of New Brunswick also entered into an agreement with CN to continue rail freight service on the north and south line sections of the Newcastle subdivision over the next 15 years.
Under this agreement, the government will invest $25m in rail infrastructure improvements, while CN will spend a comparable amount to maintain and operate the line.
Alward said: "Access to rail for both passenger and cargo services is vital to the growth and prosperity of many communities in northern New Brunswick. Our government’s investment in the future of these communities is an important part of our plan to create jobs and make life better in New Brunswick."
Image: VIA 66 leaving Toronto on its way to Montreal. Photo: courtesy of Andrew Dolch.