New VIA Rail locomotives

VIA Rail Canada Announces Selection of New Corridor Fleet

VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced that Siemens Canada was awarded a $989 million ($735 million USD) contract to build 32 trainsets that will replace the carriers fleet that operates in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.

VIA Rail currently operates some of the oldest trains in North America, some dating back to the 1950s, and most of the cars currently in service are nearing the end of their life. VIA Rail will retire a portion of its current fleet starting 2019, as such, on-time delivery was a key criterion to maintain the current level of services and jobs in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.

Starting 2022, millions of VIA Rail passengers travelling in Canada’s busiest Corridor will enjoy a new era of brand new trains, with more comfortable seats, offering more spaces for people with reduced mobility and equipped with the latest technology to be more fuel-efficient and reduce the carbon footprint of travel.

“As we are initiating the gradual withdrawal of the current fleet, the timely delivery of the new fleet will allow VIA Rail to maintain the current levels of service in the Québec-City Windsor Corridor, while significantly improving the quality of its passenger experience. We thank the Government of Canada for their trust in VIA Rail and for this historic investment in its sustainable future,” said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO, VIA Rail Canada.

The new VIA Rail Corridor fleet will be equipped with some of the following key features:

  • Improved comfort for travelers: LED lighting, USB ports, wide seats, quiet-zones, new interior design elements, bike storage, flexible luggage space.
  • Enhanced universal accessibility features designed to exceed accessibility standards: multiple spaces for wheelchairs and other mobility devices on the trains, braille seat numbering, companion seating, at-seat emergency call buttons, larger fully accessible washrooms, integrated mobility device lift.
  • Enhanced safety features exceeding the latest safety standards.
  • Improved locomotive engines meeting EPA – Tier 4 emission standards.
  • Bi-directional operation will lower operating cost while yielding more passenger capacity.

Over its 30-year expected life, the new fleet will be maintained in Canada by qualified VIA Rail employees at VIA Rail’s Montreal and Toronto Maintenance Centers. Maintenance activities will be supported by a 15-year Technical Services and Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA) valued at $23.7 million per year.

Siemens Canada was selected following a fair, open, rigorous and transparent bidding process under the oversight of an independent fairness monitor and VIA Rail’s Board of Directors. On-time delivery, quality of product and price were the criteria on which all the proponents were evaluated.

VIA Rail’s Modernization

The Quebec City – Windsor corridor fleet replacement is part of VIA Rail’s transformation plan for Canadian passenger rail service. This plan also includes renovating a part of the rolling stock that operates on VIA Rail’s long-distance routes that includes 17 accessible cars, 25 economy cars, four dining cars, and 33 economy and business cars. This renovation work represents an investment of approximately $154 million, undertaken by 300 workers in Quebec.

Related Articles

Qantas Says Farewell to the Boeing 747

Michael Beener

Brightline Adds Tasting Train for Miami’s Art Basel

Michael Beener

United Gears Up for Winter by Adding 28 Daily Nonstop Flights to Florida

Michael Beener