December 12, 2018


Montréal, December 12, 2018 VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced today that Siemens Canada was awarded a $989 million contract to build the 32 trainsets that will replace VIA Rail’s fleet that operates in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. Siemens Canada was selected following a fair, open, rigorous and transparent bidding process under the oversight of an independent fairness monitor and VIA Rail’s Board of Directors. On-time delivery, quality of product and price were the criteria on which all the proponents were evaluated.

VIA Rail currently operates some of the oldest trains in North America, some dating back to the 1950s, and most of the cars currently in service are nearing the end of their life. VIA Rail will retire a portion of its current fleet starting 2019, as such, on-time delivery was a key criterion to maintain the current level of services and jobs in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.

Starting 2022, millions of VIA Rail passengers travelling in Canada’s busiest Corridor will enjoy a new era of brand new trains, with more comfortable seats, offering more spaces for people with reduced mobility and equipped with the latest technology to be more fuel-efficient and reduce the carbon footprint of travel.

The new VIA Rail Corridor fleet will be equipped with some of the following key features:

  • Improved comfort for travelers: LED lighting, USB ports, wide seats, quiet-zones, new interior design elements, bike storage, flexible luggage space.

  • Enhanced universal accessibility features designed to exceed accessibility standards: multiple spaces for wheelchairs and other mobility devices on the trains, braille seat numbering, companion seating, at-seat emergency call buttons, larger fully accessible washrooms, integrated mobility device lift.
  • Enhanced safety features exceeding the latest safety standards.

  • Improved locomotive engines meeting EPA - Tier 4 emission standards.
  • Bi-directional operation will lower operating cost while yielding more passenger capacity.

Over its 30-year expected life, the new fleet will be maintained in Canada by qualified VIA Rail employees at VIA Rail’s Montreal and Toronto Maintenance Centers. Maintenance activities will be supported by a 15-year Technical Services and Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA) valued at $23,7 million per year.

Evaluation of the received Proposals

Four evaluation committees, comprised of internal and external experts, did a thorough and rigorous evaluation of the proposals submitted by the three qualified suppliers:

  • Technical Committee: Responsible for assessing the technical quality of each proposed trainset, including regulatory compliance, passenger experience, accessibility and trainset performance.

  • Price and Financial Review Committee: Responsible for assessing the financial offer of each supplier, including price and performance security.

  • Conflict of Interest Committee: Responsible for managing conflict of interest situations, if any.

VIA Rail’s Modernization

The Quebec City – Windsor corridor fleet replacement is part of VIA Rail’s transformation plan for Canadian passenger rail service. This plan also includes renovating a part of the rolling stock that operates on VIA Rail’s long-distance routes. Accordingly, the following work was announced earlier in 2018 at several locations:

    • 17 accessible cars – Bombardier Transportation – La Pocatière
    • 25 economy cars – Cad Railway Industries – Montréal
    • 4 dining cars – Rail GD – Gaspésie
    • 33 economy and business cars – VIA Rail – Montréal

This renovation work represents an investment of approximately $154 million, undertaken by 300 workers in Quebec.


"As is the case in its day-to-day business practices, VIA Rail conducted a procurement process that was fair, open, rigorous and transparent. Having an open bidding process, available to all interested suppliers, allowed VIA Rail to reap the benefits of having the best railway companies in the world competing to supply the Quebec-Windsor corridor fleet. VIA Rail’s Board of Directors is convinced that the decision announced today represents the best value for money for all Canadians."

Françoise Bertrand
Chairperson of the Board of Directors, VIA Rail Canada

"As we are initiating the gradual withdrawal of the current fleet, the timely delivery of the new fleet will allow VIA Rail to maintain the current levels of service in the Québec-City Windsor Corridor, while significantly improving the quality of its passenger experience. We thank the Government of Canada for their trust in VIA Rail and for this historic investment in its sustainable future.

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano
President and CEO, VIA Rail Canada

“Our new trains will offer VIA Rail passengers a more comfortable and accessible rail travel experience while also supporting VIA Rail’s sustainability goals. As part of the Canadian fabric for over a century, we’re committed to helping this country become stronger and continuously improve, and this fleet replacement reflects that and benefits from our experience worldwide.”

Faisal Kazi, President and CEO, Siemens Canada

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail ( 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 approximately 4.8 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:

About Siemens Canada
Since 1912 Siemens Canada has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality and reliability. Siemens technology in the fields of electrification, automation and digitalization helps make real what matters to Canadians. From the Atlantic to Pacific oceans, Siemens Canada employees deliver solutions for sustainable energy, smart infrastructure, and the digital enterprise. One of the world's largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of efficient power generation and power transmission solutions and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions as well as automation, drive and software solutions for industry. With its separately managed subsidiary Siemens Healthineers LImited, the company is also a foremost provider of medical imaging equipment – such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging systems – and a leader in laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT. Sales for Siemens Canada in fiscal 2018 (ended September 30), were $2.2 billion CAD. The company has approximately 4,300 employees and 44 locations across Canada, including nine production facilities. Further information is available at