VIA Rail Canada unveils first trainset that will serve Québec City – Windsor corridor

Dec. 2, 2021
The new trains feature wider aisles, ergonomic seats, improved data connections and improved accessibility features.

The first trainset of VIA Rail Canada’s new fleet that will serve the Québec City – Windsor corridor was unveiled at a Nov. 30 event in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The trainset, one of 32 new trains that will enter the VIA Rail fleet, is part of the rail service’s larger modernization program that it says will create “the VIA Rail of tomorrow.”

"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 percent 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," said VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Garneau.

VIA Rail awarded Siemens Canada a C$989 million (US$741.75 million) contract to build the new trainsets. VIA Rail says the first train has been delivered on time and includes features that promise an unparalleled travel experience with new levels of comfort, accessibility and sustainability.

Key features of VIA Rail's new corridor fleet include amongst others:

  • Wider aisles, automatic touchless interior doors, adjustable tray tables, comfortable and ergonomic seats, and high-speed reliable data connection.
  • A barrier-free and fully accessible travel experience with onboard wheelchair lifts, five Mobility Aid Spaces (MAS) per trainset, large accessible washrooms, braille, and embossed signage.
  • Advanced diesel engines and a bidirectional train configuration that allows for less operating time with the engines running making it one of the most environmentally friendly intercity fleets in North America.

Funding for these new trainsets was announced in the 2018 Federal budget and represents an investment of close to a billion dollars.

"Canadians have relied on VIA Rail to connect them for years. The new fleet will offer a new era of comfort and efficiency for the workers, families, and tourists who travel on these tracks. By supporting VIA Rail's large-scale modernization project, we are investing in accessible, reliable, environmentally friendly ways for Canadians to see each other and see their country," said Canada's Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

VIA Rail explains as Canada works to recover from the pandemic, the rail service provider is ready to continue building on its 44-year history and play a key role in the future of sustainable mobility in Canada.

"In the face of the climate crisis and an unprecedented demand for more sustainable mobility, the relevance of passenger rail is stronger than ever," said Francoise Bertrand, the chairperson of the Board at VIA Rail. "This new fleet and the High Frequency Rail (HFR) project will further that interconnectivity as our passengers will be able to travel more often and more quickly to more destinations."

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