Minister Garneau’s appearance before the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN) on Main Estimates 2020-21 and Supplementary Estimates (B), 2020-21 held on November 5, 2020



Requesting $4,521,667 for the 2020-21 Supplementary Estimates B

VIA Rail Canada Inc. (VIA) is seeking access to $4,521,667 in planned spending authorities.

Key Messages:

  • $4,521,667 in re-profiled capital funding is from Budget 2017.
  • The capital funding is for VIA Rail’s Heritage Fleet Modernization Program, which involves the refurbishment of VIA Rail's Head End Power (HEP) fleet.  
  • The capital funding will be used for structural repairs to the aging HEP fleet to address identified cracks and corrosion issues.
  • The refurbishment of the HEP fleet will ensure the continued health and safety of VIA Rail’s passengers and employees.

If pressed:

  • Additional funding is critical for VIA Rail to recover from a significant decline in its year-over-year passenger revenues and ridership, and position itself to be part of Canada’s recovery.


Heritage Fleet Modernization Program

The Heritage Fleet Modernization Program, which began in 2018, is an important capital equipment program for VIA Rail as it involves renovating 54 cars in its Head End Power (HEP) fleet. The HEP I long-haul cars are at or over 65 years of age and have not had any refurbishment performed in 27 years. The HEP II cars, which are approximately 70 years old, were acquired and refurbished by VIA Rail in the early 1990s with no refurbishment since that time.  Structural repairs are required to this aging fleet to address identified cracks and corrosion issues to ensure continued health and safety for travellers and employees. The reprofile of funds into 2020-21 is required due to an unavoidable project delay.