“Our new train has arrived and we couldn’t be happier!” VIA Rail Canada tweeted on Sept. 29. It is the first of 32 trainsets that Siemens is delivering to the passenger railroad under a C$989 million (US$781.5 million) contract awarded in December 2018.
The new bidirectional trainsets, powered by Siemens EPA Tier 4-emission-compliant Chargers, will replace VIA Rail’s fleet that operates along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. Canada’s federal government is helping to fund the locomotives and rolling stock for the country’s most heavily traveled passenger rail corridor, which carried more than 4.7 million riders in 2019.
Slated to start entering service in late 2022, the trainsets will offer:
• Rider amenities such as LED lighting, USB ports, wide seats, quiet-zones, new interior design elements, bike storage and flexible luggage space.
• Accessibility features such as multiple spaces for wheelchairs and other mobility devices on the trains, braille seat numbering, companion seating, at-seat emergency call buttons, larger fully accessible washrooms, and integrated mobility device lift (see video below).
• Enhanced safety features.
The new fleet will be maintained by VIA Rail employees at the railroad’s Montreal and Toronto maintenance centers. Work will be supported by a 15-year Technical Services and Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA) valued at C$23.7 million (US$18.7 million) per year, VIA Rail reported during the 2018 order announcement.