Corridor (Via Rail)
A Via Rail train approaching Belleville Station
|Locale||Quebec City–Windsor Corridor|
Quebec City Station
|No. of tracks||2+|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Operating speed||Up to 100 mph (160 km/h)|
Corridor is used by Via to refer to all Via inter-city passenger trains which start and end within the geographic region known as the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. Other inter-city trains from outside the Corridor may have their terminus at stations in the Corridor, such as the Canadian and the Ocean, but are marketed by their respective train names and are not considered to be Corridor services.
The Corridor service area has the heaviest passenger train frequency in Canada, with 36 Via trains traversing the route daily. About 67% of Via's revenue comes from Corridor routes.
Via runs a mix of local-service and express trains in the Corridor. Most of the trackage is owned by CN, although Via also owns two former freight lines, one from Smiths Falls, Ontario, to Coteau-du-Lac, Quebec via Ottawa; and one from Chatham, Ontario to Tecumseh, Ontario. It also runs on Canadian Pacific rails between Smiths Falls and Brockville, Ontario.
All trains are identified by number; however, in previous schedules these trains were named as well.
High speed proposal
During the 1970s and early 1980s, CN and later Via Rail operated the Turbo Train on existing freight rail trackage. This equipment was later replaced by the Bombardier LRC (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) train sets. Beginning in the 1980s and through the 1990s, Via Rail, Bombardier and the provincial and federal governments studied the feasibility of establishing a dedicated high-speed passenger rail network linking Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Windsor similar to the French TGV as a means of reducing domestic air and highway travel between these destinations.
After a hiatus of ten years, a feasibility study on launching a high-speed rail service in the Corridor will be updated at the joint cost of the federal government, Ontario and Quebec. On November 14, 2011, the three governments have officially released the final report of a high-speed rail study for this corridor.
Improvements to corridor
In 2009–2010, Via used C$300 million of government stimulus money to upgrade segments of the Corridor. Notable track improvements planned were an additional 70 km of third main track in four segments, and a short segment of fourth main track, as well as additional yard tracks at three locations. Improvements were made to several stations along the line, with new station buildings being constructed at Belleville and Cobourg, and additional platforms for existing stations at Brockville and Oshawa. The improvements were planned to reduce delays along the route and to allow for a reduction in travel time of up to 30 minutes from end to end. They were intended to allow Via to introduce two new round-trip trains from Toronto to both Montreal and Ottawa without requiring the acquisition of new equipment.
Primary inter-city Corridor routes
- Montreal-Ottawa (6 per weekday, 4 Saturday/Sunday)
- Montreal-Quebec City (5 per weekday, 3 Saturday/Sunday)
- Toronto-Montreal via Kingston (8 per weekday, 6 per Saturday, 7 per Sunday)
- Toronto-Ottawa via Kingston (5 per weekday, 3 per Saturday, 4 per Sunday)
- Toronto-Sarnia via Georgetown and London (1 per day)
- Toronto-London via Georgetown (2 per day incluing Sarnia trains)
- Toronto-Windsor via Brantford and London (4 westbound Sunday-Thursday, 4 eastbound Monday-Friday, 3 per day other days)
- Toronto-London via Brantford (5 per weekday, 4 Saturday/Sunday including Windsor trains)
The Maple Leaf, a through service from Toronto to New York City, operated jointly with Amtrak, is crewed by Via as trains 97 and 98 on VIA schedules, between Toronto and Niagara Falls and can be considered part of Corridor services as well. It is the only scheduled rail service from the Corridor line at Burlington to Niagara Falls.
Two commuter rail agencies, provincially-funded and independent of Via, share tracks with Via's Corridor Trains.
- The GO Transit Kitchener line shares tracks with Via trains for its entire route from Toronto Union Station to Kitchener Station.
- The GO Transit Lakeshore West line line shares tracks with Via trains from Toronto Union Station to Bayview junction, just west of Aldershot Station. The Lakeshore West line Niagara Branch shares tracks with Via trains for its entire route from Toronto Union Station to Niagara Falls.
- The GO Transit Lakeshore East line shares tracks with Via trains from Toronto Union Station to Durham Junction, just west of Pickering Station. Between Pickering and Oshawa, GO trains use a separate parallel line immediately north of the CN/Via tracks.
- The AMT Mont-St-Hilaire line shares tracks with Via trains for its entire route from Montreal Central Station to Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
- The AMT Vaudreuil-Hudson line operates in the same corridor as Via trains from Dorion to Lachine, but does not share tracks with Via trains. AMT trains operate on the CP tracks, and Via trains operate on the CN tracks.
- Peter Warwick (December 2009). "Via's bold Corridor plan". Trains Magazine (Kalmbach Publishing).
- Greenaway, Norma (2008-01-10). "Ontario-Quebec to study rapid rail link". National Post.
- High-Speed Passenger Rail Study Released
- "VIA Rail schedules".