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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Government of Canada, VIA Rail plan new station for Belleville

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At a ceremony in Belleville, Ontario, Prince Edward-Hastings MP Daryl Kramp, Mayor Neil Ellis and Pierre Santoni, VIA Rail Canada's Senior Director, National Sales, announced VIA's plans for a new station with improved and expanded facilities. VIA estimates that it will invest as much as C$7 million for the new station and related improvements from recent capital funding for VIA announced by the Government of Canada. C$2.5 million of the project's cost will come from the government's Economic Action Plan.

VIA's new Belleville station will be a fully-accessible and aesthetically-pleasing structure adjacent to the existing building. VIA is currently studying options for the design of the new station, with the final design to be selected later this year.
Whatever design is selected for the new Belleville station, the preservation of the existing structure is assured. 

Discussions will soon begin with the City of Belleville regarding the preferred future use of this historic building. The existing heritage-designated building, opened in 1856, is no longer large enough to accommodate all customers at peak travel periods. 
Furthermore, VIA's previously-announced, C$300-million Kingston Subdivision Project will add new main line tracks and will include rearranging the track layout in some locations to increase safety, train frequency and service reliability. In Belleville, this involves adding two new main line tracks and a second platform, which cannot be done while still making use of the existing station. 

VIA's Belleville Station Project is linked with other work now or soon to be under way throughout the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, which generates almost 90 percent of VIA's ridership and 75 percent of its revenue. In combination, these projects will allow for increases in VIA train safety, frequency and on-time performance, as well as reductions in travel time.

Major upgrading work is also under way on key elements of VIA's locomotive and rolling stock fleets for intercity, transcontinental and remote service. Other infrastructure projects are aimed at improving service quality and cost efficiency at other points across VIA's coast-to-coast route network. These upgrades are part of an unprecedented $923-million capital investment in passenger rail modernization and expansion by the Government of Canada that is stimulating job creation, skills development and private sector activity across the country.