Minister of Transport announces new actions to deliver on Government of Canada’s commitment to improve passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario
August 30, 2022 Windsor, Ontario Transport Canada
Canadians have been clear that they want faster, greener passenger rail service - and the Government of Canada is committed to making this a reality. The High Frequency Rail project, running from Toronto to Quebec City, delivers on this commitment, and will transform passenger rail through the creation of a more frequent and sustainable rail service.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that this fall, the Government of Canada will be exploring options to improve passenger rail frequencies, on-time performance, and shorten travel times in Southwestern Ontario. To this end, the Government of Canada will seek an external advisor, who will analyse passenger demand and route options to deliver on rail service that best meets the needs of communities in Southwestern Ontario. The external advisor will analyze concrete options to enhance service in Southwestern Ontario for potential future integration into the High Frequency Rail project, submitting a final report to the federal government by the end of 2023.
The Minister also reiterated that the Government of Canada is committed to working with Indigenous groups and local communities to ensure their views are heard and their rights are respected. In early 2023, the Minister will host a stakeholder roundtable on passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario.
These new actions build on more work being done to improve the overall passenger rail experience in Southwestern Ontario and along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. This includes $42.8 million in Budget 2022 to upgrade VIA Rail stations, which VIA Rail is prioritizing at its Brantford, Chatham, and Sarnia stations, and London station later this year. The Government of Canada has also invested $990 million to replace VIA Rail’s fleet in the region, with the first new passenger cars coming into service later this year.
“Travellers in Southwestern Ontario want faster, greener passenger rail service, and I am happy to say that our government remains committed to delivering on High Frequency Rail, stretching from Quebec City to Toronto. With the engagement of a new external advisor, we are ready to develop options that will enhance passenger rail for communities across Southwestern Ontario.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
"As a regular VIA traveller on the Windsor-Ottawa corridor, I know High Frequency Rail could be a game changer for Southwestern Ontario that will attract business, talent and tourism to Windsor-Essex".
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh
The notice of proposed procurement for seeking the services of an external contractor is expected to be posted on the Government of Canada’s procurement website BuyandSell.gc.ca within the next few weeks.
The launching of the notice of proposed procurement to help develop options to enhance passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario builds on other Government of Canada investments. Budget 2022 proposed $42.8 million for improvements to VIA Rail stations and maintenance centres.
VIA Rail has prioritized repairs and upgrades to its Brantford, Chatham, and Sarnia stations, and is planning to begin work in London later this year.
Throughout, the Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with Indigenous and local communities, the province of Ontario and other key partners, including VIA Rail and the Canada Infrastructure Bank, to deliver better passenger rail service.
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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