The Canadian government and VIA Rail Canada have launched a C$20 million (US$18.7 million) program to “renew and improve two key components of its nationwide locomotive and rolling stock fleet,” including 78 passenger cars and 21 P-42 diesel electric locomotives. The program will be funded from the federal government’s C$407 million (US$381 million) Economic Action Plan.
The renovation and upgrade of 78 HEP 1 longhaul passenger cars will primarily benefit VIA’s world-renowned Toronto-Vancouver Canadian service. By contrast, the P-42 locomotives will primarily cover VIA’s Quebec-Windsor Corridor.
Said Hon. Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), “Combined with the other capital projects announced recently, it will give Canadians a more efficient, reliable and comfortable passenger rail network.”
“Equally satisfying for all of us at VIA is the fact that this program will create and maintain skilled employment, contributing to the government’s strategy of employment and economic stimulus,” said VIA Chief Operating Officer, John Marginson. “This initiative is creating 58 positions at VIA’s Montreal Maintenance Centre (MMC): 51 positions for the HEP 1 project and seven positions for the P-42 locomotives.
“When coupled with our other fleet renewal programs, it adds up to the largest investment ever in Canadian passenger rail equipment,” added Marginson.