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Rail News: Passenger Rail

High-speed rail study garners funds, VIA Rail gains holiday riders

The Canadian government recently announced plans to fund up to one-third of the cost to update feasibility studies for high-speed rail service between Windsor, Ontario, and Quebec City, Quebec — a route currently used by VIA Rail Canada Inc.

The study would examine the environmental and business cases for providing the service, and assess opportunities for the private sector to participate in the line's development and implementation.

Remaining study costs will be funded jointly by the governments of Ontario and Quebec City.

The Windsor-to-Quebec City corridor is VIA Rail's busiest, and the intercity passenger railroad recently posted a significant holiday ridership gain along the route.

Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 6, the agency carried 21,000 passengers, up 10.2 percent compared with ridership during the 2006/2007 holiday season. Officials attribute the increase to record snowfalls.

The most popular trains? Those running between Toronto and Ottawa, and between Montreal and Ottawa. Recent ridership increases on the Montreal-to-Ottawa trains have prompted VIA Rail to add a daily mid-day train in both directions between the cities beginning Jan. 14.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/11/2008