VIA Rail Canada has taken delivery of the first of 32 trains built by Siemens for its Quebec City - Montreal - Toronto - Windsor corridor as part of a $C 989m ($US 781.5m) contract awarded in 2018.

The push-pull trains, which are being built in Sacramento, California, are each formed of five coaches with a 3100kW Charger SBC-40 diesel-electric locomotive at each end. The coaches are the same Venture platform that Brightline is introducing in Florida and Amtrak in the north east of the United States. All of Via Rail’s new fleet will be delivered by 2024 and will replace the existing life-expired fleet when they begin to enter traffic towards the end of 2022.

The new trains will be maintained by Via Rail in Montreal and Toronto, and the contract includes a 15-year Technical Services and Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA), which is worth $C 23.7m per year.

Funding has been provided by Canada’s federal government. At the time of that announcement in March 2018, the corridor the trains will operate on accounted for 94% of Via Rail’s passenger usage.

The new trains are fitted with LED lighting, USB ports, wider seats, quiet zones, new interior designs, bike storage and flexible luggage space.

The fleet is also fully accessible for passengers with reduced mobility and have been fitted with braille seat numbering, companion seating, at-seat emergency call buttons, larger fully accessible toilets and an integrated mobility device lift.

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