May 25, 2015

Restoration of VIA Rail service between Matapédia and Gaspé

Philip Toone, MP Gaspésie--Îles-de-la-Madeleine is launching a campaign to restore VIA Rail to Gaspé. This includes cards to his constituents to be returned to him to present to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt in Ottawa. He is also starting another petition. I want to do my part, so I wrote a note to the Minister.

May 25, 2015

Honourable Lisa Raitt

Minister of Transport

Dear Minister,

On September 17, 2013 the people between Matapédia and Gaspé lost their VIA Rail service because the track was not safe. Recently, Quebéc’s Ministry of Transport has purchased the Matapédia to Gaspé rail line, and will rehabilitate the Matapédia to Caplan, and Percé to Gaspé segments for existing freight customers and the tourist train. There remains the part between Caplan and Percé that needs to be repaired for VIA Rail to return to Gaspé.

Passenger train service is a major driver of the economy in rural areas. Also, Orléans Express has reduced bus service in the region. In fact, Keolis (parent company of Orléans Express) has announced plans to cancel all services in the region. The Montréal to Gaspé train`s ridership in 2013 was 15.907. That would be the equivalent of around 22,000 for a full year.

The Government of Canada has assisted other areas in Canada with the infrastructure for passenger trains. I call on the Government of Canada to help fund the rehabilitation of the line from Caplan to Percé for the return of our passenger train. Our seniors, students, business people, and tourists are counting on you.

Yours truly,

Barry Brake
Montreal, QC

cc Mr. Philip Toone, M.P.
Mr. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, VIA Rail