Canada’s national rail passenger service VIA Rail Canada has revealed the initial trainset of its new fleet that will operate on the Québec City–Windsor corridor.

The first 32 new trains of VIA Rail’s new Corridor fleet have been unveiled under VIA Rail’s modernisation programme.

With the new test train parked at the LEED-certified Ottawa station, winter trials are expected to commence this month.

The first train is projected to begin operations in the last quarter of next year.

VIA Rail president and CEO Cynthia Garneau said: “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.”

The announcement of financing for the new trainsets was made in the 2018 Federal budget.

They feature automatic touchless interior doors, wider aisles, adjustable tray tables, ergonomic seats, and high-speed data connection.

For a barrier-free and completely accessible travel experience, the trainsets include onboard wheelchair lifts, five Mobility Aid Spaces (MAS) per trainset, large washrooms, braille, and embossed signage.

These intercity fleets are equipped with ‘advanced’ diesel engines and a bidirectional train configuration.

As a result, the environmentally friendly vehicles will have less operating time.

In 2018, VIA Rail commenced Phase I of the procurement process to choose a rolling stock manufacturer for the new Quebec-Windsor Corridor operating fleet.