VIA Rail has introduced travellers along the Québec City–Windsor corridor to its brand new fleet of trains.
Siemens Canada was awarded a $989 million contract to build 32 trainsets that will replace VIA Rail’s fleet which currently operates some of the oldest trains in North America, some of which date back to the 1950s.
VIA Rail will retire a portion of its current fleet starting in 2019 and in 2022, millions of passengers in Canada’s busiest corridor will enjoy a new era of high-tech trains.
The new fleet will offer more comfortable seats, more space, and the latest technology “to be more fuel-efficient and reduce the carbon footprint of travel,” according to the news release.
The new VIA Rail Corridor fleet will be equipped with some of the following key features:
- Improved comfort for travellers: 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 life expectancy, the new fleet will be maintained in Canada by qualified VIA Rail employees at VIA Rail’s Montreal and Toronto Maintenance Centres.
“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,” says Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada. “We thank the Government of Canada for their trust in VIA Rail and for this historic investment in its sustainable future. ”
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