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Via Rail gets $71M to upgrade service in Quebec, Ontario

The details unveiled show that some of the money will fund work to make sure that Via trains can seamlessly move between any new dedicated tracks and local transit systems in Montreal and Toronto.
The details unveiled show that some of the money will fund work to make sure that Via trains can seamlessly move between any new dedicated tracks and local transit systems in Montreal and Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mario Beauregard/FILE

A federal infrastructure agency is providing $71 million to Via Rail to help it in its plan to build dedicated tracks for faster, more frequent service in Ontario and Quebec.

The details unveiled today show that some of the money will fund work to make sure that Via trains can seamlessly move between any new dedicated tracks and local transit systems in Montreal and Toronto.

READ MORE: Montreal’s new Samuel de Champlain Bridge opens northbound

For Montreal, that includes running Via trains along the electric-rail system under construction, known best by its French acronym REM, which the Canada Infrastructure Bank is also financing.

The rail company wants to build a multibillion-dollar new network of dedicated passenger-rail lines so its trains will no longer have to yield to freight trains on borrowed tracks.

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READ MORE: REM link to West Island ‘on time and on budget’ to be in service as of 2023

The infrastructure bank money will be largely used for environmental assessment, consultations with Indigenous communities, and a technical and financial review to help the government make a final funding decision.

The high-frequency rail project is expected to cost $4 billion and Via Rail is exploring ways to have a private investor pick up some of the costs.

WATCH BELOW: Tour of REM’s West Island digs

Tour of REM’s West Island digs
Tour of REM’s West Island digs
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