October 10, 2018


NEW RICHMNOND, October 10, 2018 – VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) has awarded a contract valued at $16.4 million to Rail GD to completely refurbish and transform four dining cars intended for use on the long-haul train, the Canadian. Built in the 1950s, these cars will be modernize to continue to deliver the best customer experience. VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Yves Desjardins-Siciliano announced the investment this morning at the company’s New Richmond site in the presence of the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Gaspésie — Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine; and Gilles Babin, Rail GD President and Chief Executive Officer. This work will be undertaken by Rail GD at its New-Richmond facilities.

As part of VIA Rail’s commitment to sustainable mobility, the contract awarded to Rail GD to renovate these stainless steel cars will extend their useful life by a few decades and is aligned with the Corporation’s “reuse-recycle-repurpose” approach. Rail GD was selected following a fair, open and transparent bidding process that was launched in April 2018. The cars will be upgraded with a view to enhancing the passenger experience and making the equipment more reliable.

The work to be completed in the second quarter of 2020 will include:

  • Installing a new kitchen;
  • installing devices to make the cars Wi-Fi ready for future deployment;
  • carrying out a mechanical upgrading;
  • replacing various electronic/electrical components.

Providing safe, accessible and environmentally sound services

The renovations are part of VIA Rail’s modernization plan for Canadian rail passenger service. A portion of this plan includes renovating a part of the rolling stock and acquiring a new fleet for the Quebec City – Windsor corridor. Funding for these projects was approved by the federal government in its 2017 and 2018 Budgets, respectively. As part of this program, earlier this year, a contract was awarded to Bombardier Transportation for the renovation of 17 train cars that will form a new fully accessible generation of cars. An additional contract was also awarded to Cad Railway Industries for the upgrade and refurbishment of 25 train cars. This work will significantly increase the number of refurbished 1950s-era cars to better serve our clients. The program is scheduled to be completed in 2020. The contracts with Rail GD, Cad and Bombardier are in addition to 33 cars currently under renovation, by VIA Rail’s Montreal Maintenance Centre.

“I am proud to join the VIA Rail team today to announce a major investment in our region. Through this investment, people from across the country will be able to appreciate the expertise that the people of Gaspé have to offer, as they watch our renovated train cars rolling on the Canadian railway. This announcement confirms that our local businesses, such as Rail GD, are doing remarkable work, in addition to offering quality services in their respective industries.”

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Gaspésie — Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine

 “Thanks to the funds granted by the Government of Canada in both the 2017 and 2018 Budgets, our modernization plan aimed at engaging Canadians in a more sustainable future continues to materialize. Today’s announcement will allow us to offer our customers an enhanced service in a completely renovated diner car. They will be able to savour the best Canadian cuisine while the train winds its way through the most scenic landscapes. The new kitchen will also allow our on-board chefs to prepare world-class meals in a state-of-the-art facility.”

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano
VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer

“Rail GD and its employees are honored by the confidence shown by VIA Rail in the award of this important contract, which will run until the second quarter of 2020, which will create dozens of jobs here in New Richmond Gaspésie. Additionally, in order to successfully deliver this mandate, major orders for components and subcomponents will be made from our regional, Quebec and Canadian suppliers. In the past, Rail GD has performed various mandates for VIA Rail, while respecting delivery schedules and budgets, as well as a high standards of work. The entire Rail GD team is proud to share its know-how and knowledge with VIA Rail for the comfort and safety of its passengers.”

Gilles Babin
President and co-founder of Rail GD Inc.

About Rail GD
Created in New Richmond, Quebec, Rail GD is a company that repairs and refurbishes railway rolling stock. The refurbishment work done by Rail GD adds about 25 years of useful life to rail vehicles and its attaching components. The company has a modern workshop with an area of ​​2230 square meters with 3 rails each of 65 meters long that can park 6 cars. His team, one of the most competitive in the field, has delivered several refurbishment and modernization mandates for many railway companies across Canada. Rail GD also specializes in the maintenance and repair of freight train cars.

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (
viarail.ca) and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the “About VIA Rail” section at: www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.