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Rail News: Mechanical

VIA Rail takes wraps off first new modern trainset

The railroad is acquiring 32 new trainsets from Siemens to create a state-of-the-art fleet.
Photo – VIA Rail Canada Inc.


VIA Rail Canada Inc. yesterday unveiled the first new trainset for its upcoming state-of-the-art fleet.

The company plans to acquire 32 new trains as part of a modernization program aimed at creating a "VIA Rail of tomorrow," railroad officials said in a press release. The nearly CA$1 billion in funding for the new trainsets comes from the Canadian government’s 2018 federal budget.

Manufactured by Siemens, the new trains feature wider aisles, automatic touchless interior doors, more comfortable and ergonomic seats, high-speed data connections, onboard wheelchair lifts and large accessible restrooms. Their advanced diesel engines and bidirectional configuration are designed to reduce engine running time, which will make the trainsets one of the most environmentally friendly intercity fleets in North America, VIA officials said.

"This modern new fleet will offer our passengers an unparalleled, barrier-free and fully accessible travel experience," said VIA Rail President and CEO Cynthia Garneau.

The 32 trainsets eventually will operate in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.

"This marks a new era for passenger-rail service in the corridor, where we served over 4.7 million passengers in 2019, and which represented 96% of our ridership pre-pandemic," said Garneau.

Winter trials of the trainset will begin this month, with the first new train to enter service along the corridor in fourth-quarter 2022.