Friday, July 17, 2009

Government of Canada, VIA Rail launch improvement project

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At a ceremony at Toronto's Union Station, the Government of Canada and VIA announced C$300 million dollars in support for the largest-ever improvement and investment program in the 153-year history of passenger rail service between Montreal and Toronto: VIA's Canadian National Kingston Subdivision Project.??Totaling more than C$300 million, VIA's CN Kingston Subdivision Project is a series of infrastructure improvements at eight locations along the 539-kilometer (334-mile), double-track rail line. It will boost capacity by eliminating bottlenecks and greatly reducing delay-causing conflicts between VIA passenger and CN freight trains.

Phase I of the project will allow for the addition of two daily roundtrip frequencies on VIA's busy Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Ottawa routes. The latter operates over the Kingston Subdivision between Toronto and Brockville.

VIA's CN Kingston Subdivision Project is part of an unprecedented C$923 million investment by the Government of Canada in passenger rail renewal and expansion. Of this amount, C$407 million is under the government's Economic Action Plan.

Other elements of VIA's program include expanded, fully-accessible station facilities at strategic locations on the Montreal-Toronto route, major infrastructure and station upgrading on other routes, accessibility projects for travelers with special needs and the complete rebuilding of service-proven locomotives and rolling stock. The program will benefit rail travelers across the entire VIA transcontinental system, from Halifax to Vancouver Island.

Highlights of VIA's CN Kingston Subdivision Project include: construction of additional (third) main line track to enable VIA and CN trains to pass or overtake each other safely and quickly; extensions to sidings and yard tracks to allow CN freight trains to exit and clear the main line when required; and- other track and signal improvements to smooth the flow of VIA passenger and CN freight traffic, assuring consistent on-time performance for both.

Work on VIA's CN Kingston Subdivision Project will begin this summer and wrap up in 2011. To date, CN has hired 100 track and signal workers for its portion of the work, which will be performed under contract with VIA. Additional jobs will be created throughout the two-year span of the project within both CN and other private sector companies participating in this project.
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