On June 27, 2023, the government of Quebec confirmed funding to complete repairs to the third segment of the Gaspé railway, beyond Port-Daniel–Gascons. The new funding, totalling $518 million, will ensure that the work can be completed by 2026.
This will be the most challenging segment of the line to restore, with serious damage due to costal erosion making it necessary to relocate the railway away from the shore in some places.
This announcement was welcomed by the Coalition des Gaspésiens pour le retour du train de passagers, and VIA Rail has committed to return passenger service to the route once it is reopened all the way to Gaspe, but local communities would like to see the Chaleur return as far as New Carlisle as soon as that segment of track is complete, which is expected by the end of 2023. Transport Action assisted with the translation of a briefing paper on the matter earlier this year.
An additional $10M of federal funding was later confirmed for sea wall construction at Port-Daniel–Gascons, from the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure component of the Rail Safety Improvement Program. The project will be designed to prevent further erosion of the cliffs and to withstand the increasing forces of waves and tides expected over the next seventy-five years.
Combined with earlier funding to restore the line as far as Port-Daniel–Gascons, the total federal and provincial funding committed to repairing the Gaspé railway is now more than $900 million.
Photo: VIA Rail’s Chaleur train crosses a bridge at Grande-Rivière, Quebec – by Dennis Jarvis