VIA Rail Acceptance Testing New Siemens Trainsets

Written by Stephen C. Host
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VIA No. 688 running extra at the downtown Guelph station on the CN Guelph Subdivision, April 14, 2022. Photo by Stephen C. Host.

VIA Rail Canada’s newest arrival, a full Siemens Venture trainset with a Charger locomotive, made a circuit of the Ottawa-Windsor segment of the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor on April 13 and 14, 2022.

Beginning in Ottawa, the train ran as a special, No. 649, to test track geometry and passenger loading/unloading performance at all stations between Ottawa, Brockville and Toronto. The train continued westward via Brantford and London to Windsor and back, covering 550-plus miles of the network in one day. On April 14, a crew came on duty in London and tested on the CN Guelph Subdivision as No. 688, running on VIA’s slowest track in the corridor, with 30-mph speed limits and jointed rail. It arrived in Toronto just in time for the afternoon GO Transit rush. The train returned to Montreal late in the evening that day for a total journey distance of almost 1,000 miles.

VIA Rail will continue to put the Siemens equipment through acceptance testing, as all weather conditions are part of testing before it can formally accept the equipment for service. Once completed, a total of 32 trainsets are expected to be delivered by 2024 with the total program cost of more than C$989 million.

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