Northumberland County Applauds VIA Rail Canada for Getting Morning Train Service Back on Track

In Local

Northumberland County is pleased to note VIA Rail Canada’s recent announcement that it will reinstate commuter rail service between Ottawa and Toronto as of May 27, 2024. The new VIA Rail Train 641, leaving Ottawa at 4:19 a.m. and arriving in Toronto just before 9:00 a.m. Monday to Thursday, is a critical step forward in meeting regional transportation needs.

“VIA Rail Canada’s introduction of Train 641 gets morning rail service back on track for Northumberland and Eastern Ontario,” states Northumberland County Warden Brian Ostrander. “For the past 18 months, Northumberland County and our municipal partners have been calling for the reinstatement of morning rail service – depended on by thousands and suspended during the pandemic. In announcing the new train, VIA President and CEO Mario Peloquin acknowledged this advocacy, noting that VIA had taken care to ‘listen and act on this feedback’. This action, although delayed, is good news for Northumberland residents. Northumberland County looks forward to opportunities for additional service improvements so the workforce in Eastern Ontario can continue to help power Ontario’s economic engine.”

VIA’s early-morning commuter Train 651 – arriving in Toronto around 8:10 a.m. – was suspended during the pandemic. As of the end of June 2022, almost all VIA’s previous train routes had resumed across the country, except for Train 651. Last week, VIA announced the introduction of Train 641 – an early morning rail service departing from Ottawa at 4:19 a.m. with arrival in Toronto at 8:48 a.m., four days a week.

“Northumberland commuters need access to affordable and convenient transportation options rather than making the choice between unemployment or a costly and time-consuming commute,” notes Warden Ostrander. “We are encouraged that VIA recognizes this need and is reintroducing morning train service. We urge VIA and the Federal Government to continue working on infrastructure solutions that will enable sustained, effective commuter train service for our communities.”

In 2022, Northumberland County and partner municipalities in Eastern Ontario engaged in extensive advocacy efforts, calling on VIA Rail Canada and the Federal Government to meet the needs of hard-working Canadians, helping build back our economy from COVID-19 and also protecting the environment by welcoming passengers back to early morning rail service.

In late 2022, the counties of Northumberland and Hastings, and the cities of Quinte West, Belleville and Kingston released a report: The Case for Getting VIA Train 651 Back on Track: A report on the critical importance of commuter train services for a growing Eastern Ontario. This report detailed both the need and demand for fast, reliable, and sustainable transportation options to get a thriving labour force to work, while also supporting access to education, retraining opportunities, and medical appointments. This report can be viewed at JoinIn.Northumberland.ca.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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