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Thursday, September 10, 2009

New VIA Rail station for Cobourg, Ontario

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At a ceremony in Cobourg, Ontario, Northumberland-Quinte West MP Rick Norlock, Mayor Peter Delanty and John Marginson, VIA Rail Canada's Chief Operating Officer, said VIA plans 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$1 million of the project's cost will come from the government's Economic Action Plan.

VIA's new Cobourg 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 Cobourg station, the preservation of the existing structure is assured. Discussions will soon begin with the Town of Cobourg regarding the preferred future use of this historic building. The existing heritage-designated building, opened in 1911, 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, capacity and service reliability. In Cobourg, this involves adding one new main line track and a second platform, which cannot be done while still making use of the existing station.

"Cobourg's connection with and affection for the railways goes back to 1856, when the Grand Trunk's first train steamed into town," said Cobourg Mayor Peter Delanty.  "It brought with it so many opportunities for this town to grow and prosper. I'm convinced these VIA projects can and will do the same today."

VIA's Cobourg 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 C$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.