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Friday, November 13, 2009

VIA Rail improving Chatham-Windsor line, adding Brockville station

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At a ceremony in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, officials kicked off a major rail infrastructure project to increase and improve the safety, frequency and speed of passenger rail service all along VIA's busy Toronto-Windsor route.

The upgrading under way on VIA's 56-kilometer (35-mile) portion of the Chatham Subdivision extends west from Bloomfield to Lacasse and includes:

• constructing a new passing siding at Stoney Point;

• adding an advanced Centralized Traffic Control signal system;

• welding and destressing the remaining 18 kilometers (11 miles) of jointed rail;

• installing 13,000 new hardwood ties;

• upgrading safety protection at rail/road grade crossings; and
 constructing 29 kilometers (18-miles) of strategically-located safety fencing.

Scheduled for completion by the end of 2010, VIA's Chatham Subdivision Project is budgeted at C$17 million of which C$6 million has been provided under the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan.

VIA's Chatham Subdivision Project is closely linked with other work that is now, or soon will be, under way throughout the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, which generates almost 90 percent of VIA's ridership and 75 percent of its revenues. Other corridor projects include similar upgrading of other VIA-owned lines between Montreal and Ottawa and between Ottawa and Smith Falls, Canadian Pacific's Smiths Falls-Brockville line and Canadian National's Montreal-Toronto main line. These projects combined will lead to increased VIA train frequency and speed, better reliability and on-time performance, as well as improved safety.

Major upgrading work is also under way on key elements of VIA's locomotive and rolling stock fleets for intercity, transcontinental and remote services. Other infrastructure projects are aimed at improving service quality and cost efficiency at other points across VIA's coast-to-coast route network. This upgrading is 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.

At a ceremony in Brockville, Ontario, VIA Rail unveiled its plans for a new station with improved and expanded facilities.

VIA's new Brockville 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 early next year. 

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. Of the project's total cost, C$3 million will come from the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan. The existing Brockville station, opened in 1872, 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 sections of new main line tracks and will include rearranging the track layout in some locations to increase safety, train frequency and service reliability. In Brockville, this involves adding one new main line track and a second platform, as well as building a new track crossover and reconfiguring the track layout. This cannot be done while still making use of the existing station.

Brockville Station Project is linked with other work now or soon to be under way throughout the Quebec-Windsor Corridor.