ST. MARYS, ONTARIO – To make the case that Ottawa must restore the legendary Ocean and Chaleur passenger trains, the All Aboard St. Marys citizens’ committee has produced a report on how it can be done and the benefits it will generate for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the Lower St. Lawrence Valley and Gaspé.
“What our colleagues at Save Our Trains in Northern New Brunswick are doing is very much on track with our campaign here in Southwestern Ontario,” says Chris West of the St. Marys citizens’ committee. “We feel it is important to assist them in making the case to the federal government, which has done nothing since its election nearly two years ago.”
Titled Riding the Ocean’s Next Wave, the report by transportation consultant and All Aboard St. Marys campaign coordinator Greg Gormick focuses on the brief window of opportunity for the renewal of the Halifax-Montréal Ocean and the restoration of the suspended Gaspé-Montréal Chaleur thanks to an Amtrak rolling stock order now on the production line.
Known as Viewliners, the new Amtrak cars are ideal for the modernization of the Ocean and the Chaleur. Infrastructure improvements are also required on a portion of the Ocean’s route in New Brunswick and, combined with the new rolling stock, this investment would secure the future of these two rail services for up to 30 years.
The required investment of approximately $300 million would be recouped within seven years through operating cost savings, increased ridership and the economic boost provided to private tourism operators in all the regions along the trains’ routes.
Says West, “We face the same situation as our Eastern Canadian friends here in Southwestern Ontario. Equipment is available and infrastructure upgrading would have multiple passenger and freight benefits. But all we hear from our elected representatives is the need for more studies, which invariably result in delays and no action. This is becoming a crisis for the many regions across Canada dependent on rail passenger service.”
All Aboard St. Marys will be working closely with Save Our Trains in Northern New Brunswick and other citizen advocacy groups to bring Riding the Ocean’s Next Wave to the attention of politicians and the media along the routes of the Ocean and the currently-mothballed Chaleur.
“VIA Rail Canada is running out of time and resources,” says West. “We’ve had quite enough of the studies and delaying tactics by Ottawa. Action is required now or there simply won’t be a VIA to revive when the country comes to the realization that it has been eclipsed by all those competing nations and rail systems – including Amtrak – that have invested in rail passenger service because of the tremendous economic, social and environment dividends it pays.”
Riding the Ocean’s Next Wave is available online at the All Aboard St. Marys website at: http://allaboardstmarys.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/VIA-Ocean-Report.pdf
For more information, please contact:
All Aboard St. Marys email@example.com
Tel: (519) 284-3310
Toll Free: 1-866-5632 Ext. 238
Jane Van Horne
Save Our Trains in Northern New Brunswick firstname.lastname@example.org
Home: (506) 759-9925
Cell: (506) 753-9194