July 18, 2016 — Save VIA continues to ask: “Why not in Canada?”

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Save VIA continues to ask: “Why not in Canada?”

ST. MARYS, ONTARIO – As it continues to lead the charge to encourage our federal government to fix Canada’s stagnant rail passenger service, the Save VIA citizens’ committee has released a third background paper outlining rail initiatives that have been taken recently in other countries – and are excellent bets for Canada today.

“Ireland is our latest case study and it provides one of the most sensible and affordable examples of how you can quickly improve a rail passenger service that had been dismissed by some as a lost cause,” says Save VIA’s Chris West. “It demonstrates what can be done with limited resources when key politicians heed the public’s call for rail improvements. Best of all, it’s exceeding expectations. Citizens and tourists are making use of Irish Rail’s modern, efficient and comfortable passenger trains in growing numbers.”

While the members of Save VIA have been encouraged by the new federal government’s expressions of support for a renewed and improved VIA Rail Canada service, they are also concerned by the decision to engage in expensive, long-range studies before any action is taken.

Says West, “Our Irish Rail backgrounder – and the previous two on successful projects in North Carolina and Scotland’s Border Region – are clear demonstrations that there are practical and proven solutions available practically off the shelf. We’re not arguing against the need for VIA and the government to be informed before the required projects are approved and the cheques are signed, but long-range studies alarm us. Studies lead to delay and that can result in decisions being deferred indefinitely. This is what has happened too often when it comes to Canada’s aging rail passenger system.”

Save VIA is also puzzled as to why VIA requires yet more studies of subjects that have already been studied in the past, especially VIA’s proposal for a $4-billion dedicated line between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. This idea was rejected 20 years ago by a previous VIA management team for reasons that were valid then and haven’t changed since.

BOX 1197 449 QUEEN STREET WEST ST. MARYS, ONTARIO N4X 1B7 TELEPHONE (519) 284-3310 FACSIMILE (519) 284-3160

To demonstrate what is possible within a short time frame and without reploughing ground covered in past studies, Save VIA will be issuing more of its backgrounders on a regular basis in the weeks ahead.

“This isn’t rocket science or brain surgery,” says West. “Perhaps VIA and government officials are unaware of what has been done elsewhere and what can be transplanted to Canada now. Our backgrounders highlight rail passenger successes that have occurred in other regions around the world that share many geographic, demographic and market conditions with Southwestern Ontario. We can only hope this will assist in the providing workable answers and stimulating the action Canada’s rail passenger service desperately requires sooner, rather than later.”

The three Save VIA backgrounders that have been issued to date are attached to this release.


For further information, please contact:

Chris West,
Save VIA
Box 1197 449 Queen St. W
St. Marys, ON N4X 1B7 [email protected] www.savevia.ca
Tel: 519 284 3310 :Fax: 519 284 3160 Sans frais/toll free 1-866-8632 ext 238

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