OTTAWA — Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra says the federal government is looking to explore options to improve passenger rail frequencies, on-time performance, and shorten travel times in southwestern Ontario.
Minister Alghabra says the government will seek an external advisor, who will analyze passenger demand and route options to deliver on rail service that best meets the needs of communities in the region.
The external advisor will analyze concrete options to enhance service in southwestern Ontario for potential future integration into the High Frequency Rail project, submitting a final report to the federal government by the end of 2023
Minister Alghabra reiterated that the government is committed to working with Indigenous groups and local communities to ensure their views are heard and their rights are respected.
In early 2023, he will host a stakeholder roundtable on passenger rail service in Southwestern Ontario.
These new actions build on more work being done to improve the overall passenger rail experience in southwestern Ontario and along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. This includes $42.8 million in Budget 2022 to upgrade VIA Rail stations, which VIA Rail is prioritizing at its Brantford, Chatham, and Sarnia stations, and London station later this year.
The federal government has also invested $990 million to replace VIA Rail’s fleet in the region, with the first new passenger cars coming into service later this year.
“Travellers in Southwestern Ontario want faster, greener passenger rail service, and I am happy to say that our government remains committed to delivering on High Frequency Rail, stretching from Quebec City to Toronto. With the engagement of a new external advisor, we are ready to develop options that will enhance passenger rail for communities across Southwestern Ontario,” said Minister Alghabra.