VIA Rail upgrades Kingston service: the making of a regional hub

VIA Rail upgrades Kingston service: the making of a regional hub

VIA Kingston hub model

provided by VIA Rail, showing Kingston as a regional service hub  

Last week the President and CEO of VIA Rail, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, was in Kingston to discuss the future of passenger rail service across the country and the exciting enhancements we will see in our local service, into and out of Kingston.

Currently, VIA Rail service in Kingston is restricted both by limited track space for passenger trains and because Kingston is currently only an intermediate stop on Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Ottawa lines. I’m excited to share with you how this is going to change thanks to the announcement made last week!

In 2019 VIA Rail plans to introduce a new dedicated track for passenger rail along the Windsor-Quebec City corridor by taking over existing under-utilized freight tracks. This change alone will bring three times as many trains per day; this of course means better schedules with more travel options.

Also part of the service enhancement announcement is the plan to make Kingston a new rail service hub. In this new model Kingston will be the Southeastern Ontario service hub with trains originating from Kingston every morning en route to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and ending each evening in Kingston. This means Kingston residents will now be able to, for example, take the train to an early morning meeting in Ottawa, or take a late train back to Kingston after dinner and a show in Toronto.

To grow our local economy we need better transportation links to make it easier for people to get to and from Kingston. That’s why the expansion of our airport is important and that’s why I’m so pleased to be able to work with VIA Rail to improve rail connections to Kingston.  

One Response

  1. dlagordon says:

    The City should support this initiative with everything we have available

    Using Kingston as a rail hub will allow residents to make return day trips for business purposes to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa again. This will be an improvement to Kingston’s competitive position, more important than plane service. And if Via keeps some of their trains here in Kingston overnight (rather than Downtown Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, where yards are disappearing), then there will be some local jobs.

    This single passenger track & hub option is much better for Kingston than the proposals for a Eurostar-like high speed link from Toronto to Ottawa to Montreal. Most of these proposals bypass Kingston for the shorter route to Ottawa via Peterborough. That would be a poor outcome for Kingston’s future – similar to getting no connection to the 401 in 1950. The towns that were not on the 400 highway system withered compared to others.


    Dave Gordon
    Queen’s University.

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