CANADA: National passenger operator VIA Rail has officially unveiled the first of the 32 push-pull trainsets which Siemens Mobility is supplying for inter-city services on the Québec City – Montréal – Toronto – Windsor corridor.
‘This new fleet 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 President & CEO Cynthia Garneau on November 30.
‘In addition to being one of the most environmentally friendly fleets in North America, this modern new fleet will offer our passengers an unparalleled, barrier-free, and fully accessible travel experience.’
The C$989m order for the trainsets was placed in December 2018, and the first was delivered from Siemens’ Sacramento factory to VIA Rail’s Montréal maintenance depot in September. Winter trials are to begin this month, with the first set expected to go into service in Q4 2022.
The SC-44 Charger diesel locomotive is powered by a 4 200 hp Cummins QSK95 16-cylinder diesel engine meeting Tier 4 emissions standards. The trainsets have a design speed of 200 km/h, although the infrastructure currently limits services to 160 km/h.
The five coaches are 25·908 m long and 3 201mm wide, and include a driving trailer to permit push-pull operation to lower operating costs and provide more passenger capacity.
There are 194 economy and 87 business class seats, with wider aisles than the current trains, automatic touchless interior doors, adjustable tray tables, ‘comfortable and ergonomic’ seats, and a reliable data connection. Water dispensers provide passengers with access to fresh water using their own bottles.
Accessibility features include wheelchair lifts, five mobility aid spaces with attendant call buttons, braille and embossed signage, and large toilets designed for wheelchair manoeuvrability.
- VIA Rail is to offer sign language videos produced in collaboration with Canadian Hearing Services to explain where to find information on its website.