MP Williams “Via Rail Has Failed Commuters in the Bay of Quinte Region”

March 14, 2022

Belleville –Bay of Quinte MP Ryan Williams received confirmation from VIA Rail that they have no plans in the near future to reinstate early morning rail service to the Quinte Region. MP Williams says, “For quite a while now we have heard from constituents who are asking us to lobby on their behalf to get VIA Rail to return to the schedule local residents enjoyed pre-Covid, specifically Train 651 that operates from Kingston to Toronto.”

MP Williams received a letter today from Martin Laundry, President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada that states “Due to VIA Rail’s current lack of equipment, we are operating in the Quebec-Windsor corridor a daily average of 50 frequencies compared to 62 daily frequencies (pre-COVID-19). Although our train services were significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of available rolling stock is the core reason we are unable to resume our full schedule.”

MP Williams says “It is absolutely unacceptable that VIA Rail allowed this situation to occur. This lack of service has nothing to do with COVID. VIA Rail is responsible for maintaining its fleet and letting the equipment lapse was a tremendous misstep by the company.” Williams adds “VIA Rail is a Crown Corporation that has failed its commuters and local residents.”

Mr. Laundry states “Once we have successfully deployed the first two trainsets, we will be in a position to plan the eventual return of the currently suspended frequencies but as indicated, we will not be able to resume our full pre-pandemic schedule in the Québec City – Windsor corridor before the end of this year.” MP Williams says “In the meantime commuters who rely on this service to get to work or attend medical appointments are stuck! I would expect VIA Rail to take responsibility and those involved to resign. As a G7 nation, having dependable train service is essential and that’s not even tackling the discussion of having high speed train service.”

MP Williams will be sending a letter to the VIA Rail Board and will continue to fight for restored and improved train service to the Quinte Region.