CBC News reports on a possible re-introduction of RDC service between London and Sarnia:
Dozens of additional passenger train runs should be operating in southern Ontario later this year as Via Rail Canada continues its push to increase the frequency of trips in and out of London, Ont.
Proponents of increased passenger rail service got a glimpse of the company’s expansion plans when Via tested a couple rebuilt diesel cars near Chatham.
Testing out the diesel cars sends a signal of Via’s progress, according to Terry Johnson, president of the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Alliance.
The alliance has been advocating for increased passenger service for years.
“What we hear when we talk to people about what they would like to see done to make passenger service more attractive to use, frequency is a big factor,” Johnson told CBC News.
Via Rail confirmed its plan to add dozens of trips in the region, including four extra round trips between Sarnia and London and several others trips out of Windsor.
More details from the VIA Rail website:
The RDC fleet is being improved to ensure reliable service and upgrade interior comfort.
Structural upgrades include engine, transmission, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and refrigeration system replacements. Our goal is to achieve substantial fuel savings, while extending the life of our trains with new parts.
The trains will also feature fully-rebuilt diesel engines that meet Euro II emission standards and fully-rebuilt air brakes. There will be new cabs at one end of each RDC with new operator controls, and new LED lighting. A new camera system will record the operator’s track view from the cab, enhancing safety and minimizing wait time if a delay-causing incident occurs, allowing VIA to deliver passengers as quickly as possible.
New wheelchair lifts are now available on either side of the cars, allowing passengers to embark or unload at any station, regardless of which side the track is on.
In addition, we’ll be adding a modern touch to interiors with features designed for passenger comfort, including improved accessibility for passengers with special mobility needs. RDC train seats will be treated to new foam and reupholstered in bright new fabrics. As well the cars will feature new toilets with environmentally-friendly retention systems in redesigned, accessible washrooms.
Earlier this week, Hunter Holmes caught a pair of RDC units being test-run on the Chatham subdivision:
Published on 21 Feb 2016
Filmed: February 20, 2016
Chatham Ontario, Canada
On February 20, 2016 two VIA Rail RDC’s were brought to Chatham Ontario to test crossing response to the units and provide a feasibility study of future operations. The units are rare enough being two of only a handful of RDC’s still in revenue service anywhere they are also far from home. Hopefully we see more of these units in the future.