Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New VIA Rail station planned for Belleville, Ontario

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Belleville, Ontario, will receive a new VIA Rail station to help make it "one of the core stops" on VIA Rail’s Montreal-Toronto route, the passenger carrier’s busiest line, according to Member of Parliament Daryl Kramp, who represents the city in Ottawa.

Kramp early this week announced an investment of approximately C$7 million (US$6.3 million) in the new train station as well as other improvements at a press conference. Plans include a new station built adjacent to the existing structure and improvements to the tracks such as two new mainline tracks and a second platform.

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The new station is still in the design process and improvements to the rail line mean both visitors to the city and residents who use VIA will have a new access point to train services, Kramp said.

"Investing in the VIA station here not only creates jobs but it'll also allow VIA to better invest in their customers," Kramp said. "Today we're mixing both the long-term vision for VIA along with the necessary stimulus input for going forward."

Pierre Santoni, VIA Rail senior director for national sales, said the city's existing station -- opened in 1856 -- will be preserved once the new station opens in late 2010 or early 2011. He said VIA recognizes the historic significance of the structure, though it can longer meet the needs of passengers and VIA employees.

Belleville, roughly 125 miles east of Toronto on the CN main line (Kingston Subdivision) to Montreal, already is a significant source of ridership for VIA, reports Railway Age Contributing Editor Greg Gormick.