Four train manufacturers to compete for VIA Rail fleet renewal contract

Photo: David McCormack.
Photo: David McCormack.

Canadian passenger operator VIA Rail has revealed the shortlist of rolling stock manufacturers for the Quebec City-Windsor fleet renewal programme.

Montreal-based Bombardier Transportation is joined by Siemens, Stadler and Talgo in the companies that will now participate in the request for proposals (RFP).

The announcement comes after VIA Rail launched the request for qualification process in April for 32 new bi-directional trains.

VIA Rail wants the new trains to have enhanced accessibility features, including accessible washrooms and multiple accommodations for wheelchairs and other mobility aids and devices on the trains.

It also wants the trains to be more fuel-efficient than its current fleet, and have the option to operate on electrified rail infrastructure as it becomes available.

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VIA Rail CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said: “By inviting four world-class train manufacturers to participle in the RFP to replace our corridor fleet, we have reached an important milestone of our transformation plan to lead Canadians towards a more sustainable future.

“With a brand-new fleet of modern trains to service the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, we will be able to offer our customers a renewed and improved travel experience that will help us convince them to make the smart choice to travel by train.”

The four companies now have until October 5, 2018, to submit a proposal, with the first new trainsets expected to enter service in 2022.

Funding for the fleet replacement programme has come from the federal government’s 2018 Budget.

Read more: Amtrak to either rebuild or buy up to 75 locomotives