Interchange - Winter 2010 - (Page 37)

INDUSTRY NEWS AND DEVELOPMENTS VIA Boosts Transcontinental Accessibility and Appeal VIA RAIL CANADA has announced a $19.5 million program for the reconfiguration of 12 stainless-steel passenger cars used on its western transcontinental train, the Canadian, to increase accessibility and market appeal. The work is being funded from the $407 million allocated for passenger rail improvements under the government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The contract for the rebuilding of VIA’s eight Chateau sleeping cars and four Park sleeper-dome-lounge cars has been awarded to Avalon Rail Inc., of Milwaukee, Wis. Avalon Rail specializes in remanufacturing passenger rolling stock of all types. The company will use various Canadian engineering, design and supply fi rms for a portion of the project. The cars will be delivered in 2011. “Avalon Rail was selected for this demanding work through a competitive bidding process based on numerous factors,” said Paul Cote, VIA Rail’s president and CEO. “These included price, craftsmanship, a detailed knowledge of the equipment to be rebuilt and on-time completion of previous projects.” “We are honoured to undertake this work for VIA,” said June Garland, president of Avalon Rail. “The Canadian is a living legend, offering thousands of travellers from around the world the ultimate in safe, stylish and sustainable rail travel every year for more than a half-century. I can think of no better showcase for the skills of Avalon’s dedicated craftspeople.” The work involved in the modernization and major upgrading of this classic rolling stock is extensive. The eight Chateau sleeping cars will be reconfigured with an all-new arrangement of six upscale cabins designed to accommodate up to three passengers each. Each sleeping cabin will be completely self-contained and will include an ensuite washroom plus a separate shower. The new cabins will also feature wood paneling, sofa seating, a widescreen television and controls to enable passengers to raise or lower the beds whenever they desire. This elegant new design has been selected to enable VIA’s Canadian to attract the growing clientele for more upscale travel experiences. This program will also substantially increase the train’s accessibility for travellers with special needs. The four existing Park car bedrooms will be replaced by two large upscale cabins. One will be identical to those in the rebuilt Chateau sleeping cars. The Avalon Rail specializes in remanufacturing passenger rolling stock of all types other will be an extra-large, fullyaccessible cabin. It will provide separate, fully-accessible washroom and shower facilities. Each Park car will also feature an onboard wheelchair lift. The 174 cars in VIA’s stainless steel fleet were primarily built for Canadian Pacific in 1954-1955 by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, the world’s leading manufacturer of stainless-steel rolling stock. These elegant and robust cars were used to create CP’s Canadian, the last all-new train of the Art Moderne-influenced Streamlined Era. VIA bought this distinctive and durable rolling stock when it took over the operation of the former CP services in 1978. Canadian government funds 35 crossings projects The Canadian government plans to provide $3.8 million to upgrade 35 grade crossings in five provinces. Funds will come from Canada’s Economic Action Plan, which provides $28 million for crossing upgrades over the next five years. The 35 projects are in addition to an earlier round of crossing projects announced in May. The most recent projects – in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec – call for installing flashing lights and gates, linking crossing signals to nearby traffic lights or adding new circuits or timing devices. The government covers up to 80 per cent of project costs, with the remainder provided by continued on page 38 Interchange Winter 2010 37

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Interchange - Winter 2010

Interchange - Winter 2010
Table of Contents
President’s Message
Côté Helped Change VIA’s Culture
High-Speed Trains Proven Around the World
Putting Teeth in Trespass Prevention
The Class of 2009
Moving the Olympic Spirit
Industry News and Developments
Index to Advertisers

Interchange - Winter 2010