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New station for Belleville

09/17/2009 AT 06:47

“Investment in a new VIA station for Belleville will not only create new jobs and stimulate the economy but also allow VIA to provide better service to its local customers,” said Daryl Kramp, MP for Prince Edward-Hastings. “By investing in rail services and facilities such as those here in Belleville, our government is demonstrating that funding for VIA's capital renewal will stimulate economic activity and job creation, contribute to environmental sustainability and improve Canada's passenger rail system for years to come.”

VIA's Pierre Santoni added, “The investments here in Belleville and across our coast-to-coast route network will create a top-notch passenger rail service. A rail service that is safe, swift and sustainable. A rail system built by and for Canadians – for the 21st century. We – the 3,100 employees of VIA – are delighted that the citizens of Belleville are going to be a part of this new era in rail travel.”

VIA's new Belleville station will be a fully-accessible and aesthetically-pleasing structure adjacent to the existing building. VIA is currently studying options for the design of the new station, with the final design to be selected later this year.

Whatever design is selected for the new Belleville station, the preservation of the existing structure is assured. Discussions will soon begin with the City of Belleville regarding the preferred future use of this historic building. The existing heritage-designated building, opened in 1856, is no longer large enough to accommodate all customers at peak travel periods.

Furthermore, VIA's previously-announced, $300 million Kingston Subdivision Project will add new main line tracks and will include rearranging the track layout in some locations to increase safety, train frequency and service reliability. In Belleville, this involves adding two new main line tracks and a second platform, which cannot be done while still making use of the existing station.

“Belleville's connection with and affection for the railways goes back to 1856, when the Grand Trunk's first train steamed into town,” said Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis. “It brought with it so many opportunities for this city to grow and prosper. I'm convinced these VIA projects can and will do the same today.”

VIA's Belleville Station Project is linked with other work now or soon to be underway throughout the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, which generates almost 90% of VIA's ridership and 75% of its revenue. In combination, these projects will allow for increases in VIA train safety, frequency and on-time performance, as well as reductions in travel time.

Major upgrading work is also underway on key elements of VIA's locomotive and rolling stock fleets for intercity, transcontinental and remote service. Other infrastructure projects are aimed at improving service quality and cost efficiency at other points across VIA's coast-to-coast route network. These upgrades are part of an unprecedented $923 million capital investment in passenger rail modernization and expansion by the Government of Canada that is stimulating job creation, skills development and private sector activity across the country.

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