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Canadian government launches largest capital program in VIA Rail's history

The Canadian government yesterday announced a five-year, $710.4 million plan to revitalize VIA Rail Canada Inc., the country's inter-city passenger rail service.

"We are launching the largest capital program in VIA Rail's history," said Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty in a prepared statement. "It will allow for the renewal of VIA Rail's fleet, the upgrading of the existing network and it will support a stronger economy, a cleaner environment and a safer Canada."

Specifically, $530.2 million will be allocated during the next five years for:

• fleet renewal via refurbishment of F40 locomotives and "light, rapid and comfortable" passenger cars, according to Transport Canada, which adds that the locomotive rehab will boost fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions;

• strategic infrastructure improvements to eliminate bottlenecks in the Quebec City-to-Windsor corridor; and

• station upgrades.

The remaining $180.7 million will be set aside for VIA Rail's operating costs during the next five years.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/12/2007