Discussions underway between VIA and freight rail companies

February 25, 2016

By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer

Talks aimed at expanding passenger train service in Sarnia are underway between Via Rail and the owner of the tracks it uses in southwestern Ontario.Website Insert Start Here copy

That comes as self-propelled rail cars have been spotted in recent days travelling on tracks around the region.

“Since our announcement last year of our desire to improve service in the region, Via has submitted a request to the track owner with respect to possible additional frequencies in 2016 on routes linking Sarnia and Windsor with London and Toronto,” Via Rail spokesperson Malcolm Andrews said in an e-mail.

“Discussions are ongoing with the railway owner.”

Andrews also confirmed that Via has been running tests with refurbished self-propelled rail diesel cars on tracks in southwestern Ontario, “in preparation for those possible new frequencies.”

Self-propelled passenger cars were photographed on the weekend running on tracks through Thamesville in Chatham-Kent.

Via Rail CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said during a visit to Sarnia in June the passenger rail provider planned to increase service to the community, and the rest of the region.

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Via tests passenger cars for proposed southern Ontario runs

CBC News

Dozens of additional passenger train runs should be operating in southern Ontario later this year as Via Rail Canada continues its push to increase the frequency of trips in and out of London, Ont.

Proponents of increased passenger rail service got a glimpse of the company’s expansion plans when Via tested a couple rebuilt diesel cars near Chatham.

Testing out the diesel cars sends a signal of Via’s progress, according to Terry Johnson, president of the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Alliance.

The alliance has been advocating for increased passenger service for years.

“What we hear when we talk to people about what they would like to see done to make passenger service more attractive to use, frequency is a big factor,” Johnson told CBC News.

Via Rail confirmed its plan to add dozens of trips in the region, including four extra round trips between Sarnia and London and several others trips out of Windsor.

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