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As part of the Fleet Replacement Program, Via Rail Canada unveiled the first train of the new redesigned fleet which will serve the Quebec City – Windsor corridor. The new Via Rail train fleet is a major step towards offering Canadians a faster, and a more environmentally friendly travel option. The first train (of 32) was delivered on time, was showcased at the LEED certified Ottawa station, and will be ready to welcome passengers in late 2022.
New Via Rail Train fleet – key features
- Barrier free and fully accessible – Among other features, the new fleet will offer wheelchair lifts, large accessible washrooms, signage in Braille, to support a barrier-free travel experience.
- Enhanced travel experience for all – Wider aisles, touchless doors, adjustable tray tables, ergonomic seats, privacy pods in business class, and improved wi-fi connectivity.
- Environmentally cleaner fleet – Advanced diesel engine, bidirectional train configuration which will reduce turn around time with engines running.
Further details, and pictures, on the fleet replacement program can be found here.
Via Rail High Frequency Rail Project
Via Rail’s High Frequency Rail (HFR) project will add new trains on dedicated tracks between major cities (Québec City-Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto). The project includes upgrading existing rail infrastructure, and building new tracks between Toronto-Peterborough-Ottawa, Ottawa-Dorion-Montréal, and Montréal-Trois-Rivières-Québec City. And more importantly it involves separating passenger and freight rail operations which would, according to Via Rail, reduce trip times by 25% and improve on-time performance by over 95%!
A very specific example provided by Via Rail, captures the HFR project and its benefits;
For example, trains could travel at speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour (124 miles per hour), reducing travel times from Ottawa to Toronto to as low as 3 hours and 15 minutes from current travel times of approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Details on the HFR project, and associated timelines can be found here.
While the HFR project is a multi-year roll out, I am glad that the fleet replacement program is well underway and passengers (in Quebec City – Windsor corridor) can look forward to experiencing the new Via Rail train fleet by end of 2022.