Upgrades to the Toronto and Montreal maintenance centres to support the new corridor fleet, together with change management processes and staff training on the new systems and diagnostics aboard the new trains, will be essential to supporting the future performance of corridor services, so Transport Action is pleased that the contracts for the work needed at the two maintenance centres has now been awarded, as announced on November 16, 2023.
VIA Rail awarded the contract for upgrades to the Toronto Maintenance Centre to Buttcon Limited, based in Concord, Ontario. Pomerleau Inc., based in Montréal has been awarded the contract for work at the Montréal Maintenance Centre.
Funding for these projects was first earmarked in the 2018 federal budget, with an additional $212 million in budget 2022 allocated to the maintenance centre upgrades and station maintenance in the corridor. It appears the procurement process and announcement of the awards may have been extended by the pandemic and other considerations around the delivery of the new trains; so construction is expected begin in the spring of 2023.
“The modernization of our maintenance centres is an important step in the fleet replacement program and in VIA Rail’s overall modernization process. These centres will allow us to maintain the new Corridor fleet that embodies the vision we have for the VIA Rail of tomorrow.”Martin R Landry, President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada
The work will be challenging because it must take place alongside ongoing operations. The two maintenance centres will continue to support the LRC coaches and P42 locomotives until the Siemens Venture trains are fully in service, at which point that equipment is expected to be retired; and to service the stainless-steel heritage fleet, Renaissance coaches and F40 locomotives until such time as the much-needed replacement of the long-distance fleet proceeds.