VIA President in Halifax, discusses plans for the Maritimes

A VIA Rail self-propelled rail diesel car waits at a station
A pair of VIA Rail RDCs, similar to those proposed for regional services in the region. Photo by Tim Hayman

VIA Rail President and CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano was in Halifax on January 31, 2017 to deliver a talk to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. Billed as “VIA Rail’s vision in the Maritimes”, Desjardins-Siciliano addressed a full banquet hall during a luncheon at the Westin Nova Scotian.

Desjardins-Siciliano’s talk was accompanied by a slide presentation, which can be found on our website HERE.

The talk addressed VIA’s plans for the Maritimes, which are essentially two-fold: the anticipated launch of daily regional train services between Campbellton and Moncton and Moncton and Halifax, and the exploration of commuter rail possibilities in the city of Halifax.

It also delved into VIA’s broader goals at the moment, which include seeking funding for a new fleet and dedicated tracks in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. Though this doesn’t directly affect the Maritimes, Desjardins-Siciliano reiterated the mantra that what’s good for the Corridor is good for the rest of the system. If VIA can generate additional revenue from that operation, they can use it to add new services and expand their offerings throughout the country. The president has stated on several occasions that the ability to look at launching new regional services in the Maritimes is the result of positive returns in the Corridor in recent years, which have freed up additional funds.

The plans for new regional rail services were originally announced close to two years ago. Despite the delay in launching them, Desjardins-Siciliano was clear that they are a priority for VIA (the top priority outside of the Corridor, in fact), and staff in the region have been hard at work trying to make the necessary arrangements to get the services off the ground. As previously reported, the plan is to run daily weekday trains between Campbellton and Moncton, and between Moncton and Halifax. Trains would depart Campbellton and Moncton heading eastbound early in the morning, and return westbound in the evening. This would allow for travellers to come into Moncton or Halifax for the day to shop, attend medical appointments or other obligations, and return later on the same day.  Continue reading “VIA President in Halifax, discusses plans for the Maritimes”