VIA Rail Canada has issued a formal Request for Information (RFI) for a supplier to design, manufacture, test, deliver and commission new coaches and locomotives to replace its ageing fleet of long-distance trains, some of which date from the 1950s.

The coaches will include a variety of types, including sleeping cars, dining cars, multi-purpose vehicles and baggage cars, and will be acquired together with the locomotives through an open competitive procurement process.

Via Rail’s existing fleet operates on nine long-distance routes consisting of 21 trains per week, including the transcontinental Canadian linking Toronto with Vancouver.

The RFI for VIA Rail closely follows that of Amtrak in the United States, which issued an RFI to potential suppliers in December 2022 to re-equip its own long-distance network. Via Rail’s RFI implies, but does not specifically state, that the same suppliers could be bidding for both contracts, potentially creating synergies.

Interested parties must sign a non-disclosure agreement by February 17 to be eligible to participate and receive the draft technical and commercial documents. Via Rail plans to invite participants to a general information meeting in March. Confidential meetings to review comments on the technical and commercial documents draft are planned from May onwards.

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