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Monday, September 17, 2012

Overhead walkway and island platform now open at Oshawa train station

Oshawa, ON, September 14, 2012 -Today, as part of the ongoing modernization of Canada's national passenger rail service, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance and MP for Whitby Oshawa, Dr. Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and MP for Oshawa, and VIA Rail Canada officially opened a new overhead walkway and island platform at the Oshawa train station. 

"Our Government is proud of investments like VIA's new island platform at Oshawa Station and through  the busy Qu├ębec City to Windsor corridor that create jobs and improve passenger rail," said Minister Flaherty.

"These upgrades to the busy Oshawa VIA Rail station will translate to more efficient, reliable service for passengers." 

VIA Rail's new overhead walkway and platform, which began serving passengers in July 2012, are fully accessible and are similar to work being done at other VIA stations in Ontario. Oshawa's new, improved and expanded facilities include a heated island platform for passenger comfort, elevators to and from the new overhead footbridge for greater accessibility and a safer way to get to and from trains and a new lateral platform.

Track modifications are also being made for greater capacity and to improve speed allowing trains to bypass trains stopped at the station. These modifications, to be completed later this fall, together with other track improvements between Brockville and Oshawa, will mean faster travel through the busy Windsor - Quebec City corridor, fewer delays for current trips and allow for smoother train movement.

Funding for this $16M project came from the Government of Canada's nearly $1B investment in VIA Rail since 2007 for improvements to its facilities, equipment and infrastructure, and included $3M from Canada's Economic Action Plan.

Oshawa's station was built in the 1960s and renovated about ten years ago. "The improvements we are celebrating today, made possible by funding from the Government of Canada, have created jobs, helped Canada's economy, will provide real benefits for travelers in Oshawa," said Mr. Paul. G. Smith, VIA Rail's Chairman of the Board.  "They will also align VIA for potential growth in ridership in the years to come."

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About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada (www.viarail.ca) has a mandate to provide Canadian travellers with safe, efficient, and cost-effective passenger transportation services in the country's two official languages. VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental train services linking 450 communities through its 12,500-kilometre network. Winner of the 2011 RAC Safety Award, VIA Rail safely transports more than four million passengers annually. In 2007, the Government of Canada invested almost a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow our transformation on viarail.ca/transformingVIA.

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About the new Oshawa Facilities
The project was carried out in conjunction with a $350 million program to upgrade the rail infrastructure throughout the CN Kingston Subdivision between Montreal and Toronto. It is made possible by an unprecedented $923 million capital investment in the national passenger rail service by the federal government, which will allow VIA to deliver efficient, reliable, faster and more frequent passenger train services in the years ahead.

The need for new facilities
The Kingston Subdivision infrastructure improvements include building additional lines of track, which will allow passenger and freight trains to overtake and pass each other without needing to slow down or stop on a siding.  One new pocket track is being added at Oshawa. This means that a new "island boarding platform" located between tracks was necessary at the station, reached by an overhead bridge by passengers to ensure their safety.

A modern, attractive facility
The design of the new facilities responds to the needs and expectations of Canadian travellers in the 21st century, providing a relaxing and welcoming experience for customers, and reinforcing VIA's market position as the more "human" way to travel.

VIA is recognized as the green choice for travellers concerned about the environment, and delivers an attractive service that is encouraging more and more people to get out of their cars and onto passenger trains.  The key to VIA's success has been its renowned onboard service and customer care, focused on making train travel the best possible travel experience for its customers.

VIA designed the new Oshawa facilities to extend this attention to detail and customer care to the station itself, making arrival and departure part of that experience. Design features include:
  • Fully accessible features from the parking lot to the platform for passengers with disabilities.
  • An efficient and aesthetically pleasing layout to ensure smooth passenger flows.
  • Large, ample windows to allow plenty of light and views outside, including views of train arrivals and departures from multiple vantage points.
  • Wider boarding platforms and expanded waiting areas.

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