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August 7, 2008

VIA plans to invest $25 million to modernize Ottawa-Montreal railway infrastructure

 

MONTREAL

 

As part of the Government of Canada’s $692 million dollar investment to improve passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada has announced it plans to invest more than $25 million on a multi-phase, multi-year program to modernize key parts of its rail infrastructure between Ottawa and Montréal. These improvements are part of VIA Rail’s overall capital investment plan.

 

In this first phase, upgrades to the Ottawa-Montréal line will include the addition of a .76-km long passing track (siding) approximately 16 kilometres east of Ottawa, near Carlsbad Springs, a project which will be carried out by PNR RailWorks Inc.

 

The siding will be constructed with remote-controlled power switches tied into the existing Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) system and Rail Traffic Control (RTC) dispatch system. The siding will also be equipped with a back track (additional track adjacent to the siding) for the storage of maintenance equipment, when required.

 

VIA will also be installing new continuously-welded rail and performing other associated track work over some 40 track-miles between Coteau, Québec and Moose Creek, Ontario.

 

This work, which is expected to be completed within the next few months, will be carried out by Total Track. Some trains on the Montréal-Ottawa route may experience minor delays while this work is being completed.

 

Additionally, structural rehabilitation of the bridge over the South Nation River in Casselman, a project which has been awarded to SEMA Railway Structures, will also be completed.

 

Improvements to VIA’s Ottawa station are also planned. VIA will be modernizing and improving the layout of the public washrooms, ticket office, baggage operations and Panorama (VIA 1) lounge.

 

The lounge will also be enlarged to accommodate increased demand. As part of these renovations, VIA will be making both technological and environmental improvements to the station.

 

The general contractor chosen for the project is Terlin Construction Ltd. of Ottawa. CSV Architects Inc. and Norr Ltd., also of Ottawa, will provide design and engineering support.

 

Work on this project, worth some $500,000, will begin shortly and is expected to be completed by this fall.

 

“These initiatives will improve comfort, speed, ride quality and reliability,” said VIA Rail president and chief executive officer Paul Côté. “They will also enhance overall safety, and increase scheduling flexibility and capacity for additional trains. Just as importantly”, he noted, “a more efficient operation will also contribute to reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

“The projects on VIA’s Montréal-Ottawa route are part of the $692 million in new funding this government announced in 2007 as part of its commitment to providing Canadians with safe, reliable and sustainable passenger rail service,” said federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon.

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