VIA Rail Canada announced that Siemens Canada was awarded a $989 million contract to build the 32 trainsets that will replace VIA Rail’s fleet that operates in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. Siemens Canada was selected following a fair, open, rigorous, and transparent bidding process under the oversight of an independent fairness monitor and VIA Rail’s Board of Directors. On-time delivery, quality of product, and price were the criteria on which all the proponents were evaluated.
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, on-time delivery was a key criterion to maintain the current level of services and jobs in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.
Starting 2022, millions of VIA Rail passengers travelling in Canada’s busiest corridor will enjoy a new era of brand new trains, with more comfortable seats, offering more spaces for people with reduced mobility, and equipped with the latest technology to be more fuel-efficient and reduce the carbon footprint of travel.
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 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) valued at $23.7 million per year.