OTTAWA – At the VIA Rail Ottawa train station, David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South, on behalf of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport and Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) marked the station’s 50th anniversary, announcing a major renovation project and new departures between Toronto and Ottawa.
Greater flexibility for travellers between Ottawa and Toronto
Starting November 1, VIA Rail will run a new schedule between Ottawa and Toronto. Travellers will have a choice of two new afternoon departures (one departure each way), bringing the service offering up to nine daily departures in each direction during the week.
Improved customer experience and better accessibility
A major renovation project, valued at $20 million, will bring these facilities in line with international accessibility standards and will support VIA Rail’s commitment to sustainable mobility. The work, scheduled to run from September 2016 to the fall of 2017, will include the construction of an elevated and heated passenger platform, installation of elevators to provide access to the tunnel and boarding platforms, and a new electrical room, as well as the installation of an upgraded electrical system.
An additional $1.7 million will also be invested in partial roof renovations and improvements to certain systems. This investment will come from the federal funding for infrastructure announced in Budget 2016.
“Railways in this country have a long history of providing service to Canadians and the Ottawa Station helps to continue this tradition for the National Capital Region”, said Member of Parliament David McGuinty.
This work follows a series of renovations which began in 2007, an investment of $5.4 million, that included, among other projects, the installation of new escalators, additional work spaces, automatic door replacement, washroom upgrades, Business lounge renovations, ticket booth replacement, rotunda improvements, renovation of parking facilities, restoration of the steel structure inside the station, as well as improvements to the ventilation system and the boarding platform.
“The Ottawa train station is truly an architectural gem,” declared Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail. “Its remarkable design has garnered designation as heritage train station. In one year we will be in a position to offer our clients a completely new experience. Once the renovations are complete, our facilities will be more accessible and mobility within the station as well as boarding and disembarking from our trains will be easier for everyone. The Ottawa train station is at the heart of our future dedicated tracks project, which will draw more passengers with increased train frequencies, shorter travel times, and more convenient and reliable schedules. Until then, we will increase the departures from our nation’s capital in order to serve a growing market.”
50 years of history
The Ottawa train station was inaugurated on August 1, 1966. In 1967, the architecture firm behind the building design, John B. Parkin and Associates, received the Governor General’s Massey Medal for its outstanding work. The VIA Rail station was designated a heritage building in 1996 – 30 years after it was opened. In 2000, it was named one of the top 500 buildings produced in Canada during the last millennium and, in 2007, was presented the Ontario Association of Architects’ Landmark Award. Currently, the station serves more than 800,000 passengers every year, and the train represents a smarter choice for the many tourists, families and businesspeople travelling to and from Ottawa.