Via Rail CEO ‘cautiously optimistic’

October 28, 2015

Via Rail CEO ‘cautiously optimistic’ Liberals will back $4B rail investment

The head of Via Rail plans to convince the Liberal government that increases in ridership and revenue suggest a growing market for dedicated passenger rail, while worsening punctuality and longer trips reinforce the need.

CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said the Crown Corporation will submit a $4 billion dedicated track plan for the busy Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa corridor to the new transport minister within months of the Nov. 4 announcement of the next federal cabinet.Website Insert Perfect Answer copy

The project — which has already attracted attention from potential investors at Canada’s big pension funds — would dramatically improve convenience and efficiency, he said.

“We’re satisfied that the case is built and now it’s just really a matter of waiting for the government to consider it,” Desjardins-Siciliano said Tuesday.

The project would see the company build, acquire and restore tracks to increase the number of daily departures from each city to 15 from the current six. That could convince more commuters to make trips between 120 kilometres and 500 kilometres by train. Currently, eight in 10 trips in the Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa triangle are made by car.

“We believe that service is so profitable — because it would go from about two million passengers per year to about seven million — that it could finance itself,” Desjardins-Siciliano said.

Via expects it will add 100,000 passengers in 2015, he said, crediting improved customer service and the addition of stops and cars to trains at busy times.

Business Reporter Sunny Freeman of the Toronto Star has the full story by clicking here.


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