VIA Rail to replace Québec-City Windsor Corridor fleet with Siemens trainsets

Dec. 13, 2018
On-time delivery to maintain service levels on VIA Rail's busiest corridor was a key criterion in the decision.

Following evaluations based on quality of product, price and on-time delivery, VIA Rail Canada awarded a C$989 million (US$741.75 million) contract to Siemens Canada to build 32 trainsets that will operate in the Québec-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, the rail service provider noted that on-time delivery was a key criterion to maintain the current level of services and jobs in the Québec-City Windsor Corridor. 

VIA Rail will begin accepting delivery of the trainsets in 2022, which will boast more comfortable seats, more spaces for people with reduced mobility and technology to be more fuel-efficient. 

"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," said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, president and CEO of VIA Rail Canada. 

The 32 trainsets will be powered by Siemens' Charger locomotives, a fuel-efficient diesel-electric locomotive that is Tier 4 compliant. Siemens notes that the locomotives offer a carbon emission reduction of up to 80 percent compared to current equipment. The passenger cars will also feature Enhanced Universal Accessibility, offering multiple accommodations for wheelchairs and other mobility devices. 

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) with Siemens valued at C$23.7 million (US$17.78 million) per year. Siemens aims to provide Canadian content of more than 20 percent in supplies and services. 

"Our new trains will offer VIA Rail passengers a more comfortable and accessible rail travel experience while also supporting VIA's sustainability goals," says Faisal Kazi, president and CEO, Siemens Canada.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.