The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been urged to undertake a sweeping review of passenger rail from coast to coast, and to initiate action to bring this country in step with the other nations in the G7 community. The challenge was unveiled two days after the new Liberal administration took office, at an event commemorating National Railway Day. It coincides with the 130th anniversary of the last spike ceremony that marked completion of a continuous rail link from across the country on November 7, 1885.
Transport Action Canada and its regional affiliates have just completed a comprehensive document entitled The VIA 1-4-10 Plan. Prepared by eminent transportation consultant and writer Greg Gormick, it explores the past, present and future of passenger rail, tracing its decline since the flawed creation of VIA Rail Canada by order-in-council in 1978, and offering practical and achievable suggestions for its reconstruction. A copy of the report has been delivered to Transport Minister Marc Garneau, with public release taking place during a Railway Day event at the VIA station in St. Mary’s, Ontario.
“The timing is doubly appropriate,” says Transport Action Atlantic president Ted Bartlett, “because a government that has embraced ‘real change’ is taking office so close to the anniversary of an event so significant to Canada’s very existence. We’re asking Minister Garneau to include this issue among his priorities.”