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Thursday, July 3, 2014

VIA Rail Canada Celebrates the 110th Anniversary of the Ocean train between Montreal and Halifax

Montréal, July 2, 2014 – VIA Rail Canada (viarail.ca) is proud to celebrate the 110th anniversary of its Ocean service that serves 26 communities between Montréal and Halifax.

To mark the occasion, VIA Rail’s new President and CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, along with several colleagues boarded the historic train leaving Montréal’s Central Station on July 2nd at 6:55 p.m.

Mayors and Members of Parliament from communities along the Ocean’s route were invited to ride the train with Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano, 20 of whom accepted the offer. A ceremony will take place in Halifax upon their arrival on July 3rd, where approximately one hundred dignitaries will participate in the celebration marking this historic anniversary.

“The Ocean is not only a great travel choice for discovering the beauty of Eastern Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but it is also a part of our heritage,” declared Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano. “For 110 years this train route has been an important connection between many communities. For the population, it is a treasure, and we are proud to continue this tradition now and for years to come.”

“I am delighted to be taking this trip with the representatives of the communities that are served by the train,” added Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano. “We will take this opportunity to discuss how to better promote the service, increase ridership and respond to the needs of the people in Eastern Canada.”

“Whether it is loved ones returning home for the holidays or travelling for business, the Ocean has been connecting the people of Halifax for 110 years and counting. We’re pleased to be part of the celebration of this line”, said Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax.

“We feel a strong attachment to and place great importance on VIA Rail's Ocean train service, and our actions in recent months to maintain the railway line in eastern New Brunswick demonstrate that commitment,” said the president of the Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick and Mayor of Richibucto, Mr. Roger Doiron.

“The news about the $10.2 Million investment in the infrastructure was received with joy. We are aware, however, that a lot of work remains to be done to ensure the long term success of the service and attract more passengers. We welcome the proactive collaborative approach adopted by the new president, Mr. Desjardins-Siciliano. He wants to work with the municipalities to find solutions and we couldn’t ask for more."

“In this joyous context, I’d like to take this opportunity to emphasize how important it is for the railway industry and elected municipal officials to maintain good relations through ongoing collaborations. Elected officials are better positioned than anyone to know what their communities need, and the railway industry is inherently tied to their economy.

In terms of sustainable development, the railway is an integral part of collective transport, and I sincerely hope that the Ocean will continue serving Eastern Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia communities for many years”, stated Rimouski Mayor and Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ) ex-officio president, Éric Forest.

110 years ago, the Ocean, then named the Ocean Limited, first carried Canadian immigrants to their newly forming communities, contributing to the development of Canada. Throughout the two World Wars, troops of soldiers travelled by train to Halifax, where they transferred to ships that carried them overseas.

When the wars were over, the soldiers headed back to Halifax and boarded the trains once again, on their way back home. 110 years later, the Ocean still travels the same 1,346 kilometers of tracks along the St. Lawrence, through the Matapedia valley, linking the cities of Campbellton, Moncton, Truro and Halifax, with central and western Canada. This service offers tens of thousands of passengers from across Canada and the world the opportunity to discover the Eastern Canadian provinces.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's (viarail.ca) and its 2,500 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually.

The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years, and is recipient of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested almost a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow the progress of our transformation at viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/capital-investment.

Follow us on our Evolution Blog at viaevolution.ca - On Twitter @VIA_rail and @VIARailPrez - On Facebook

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