On-Site Magazine

Construction project underway to modernize VIA Rail

By Adam Freill   

Construction Infrastructure

Canada’s national passenger rail company breaks ground on construction project to build cutting-edge Toronto Maintenance Centre.

(Photo courtesy of VIA Rail)

VIA Rail is transforming its Toronto Maintenance Centre (TMC). The national rail passenger service broke ground at the TMC last week to mark the start of construction of a major upgrade that will provide a state-of-the-art maintenance facility for VIA Rail’s new fleet of 32 trains for the Québec City-Windsor corridor. The company says the facility will be an important pillar in its large-scale modernization plan, which aims to transform the way Canadians travel from reservation to destination.

“This modernized maintenance centre will support us in our mission to provide our passengers the most enjoyable travel experience and better connect Canadian communities,” said Mario Péloquin, VIA Rail’s president and chief executive officer. “It will also allow our employees to work with the most modern equipment and will provide them the necessary tools to maintain the new fleet according to VIA Rail’s standards of excellence.”

The maintenance centre’s innovative Vehicle Equipment Measurement System (VEMS) will allow VIA Rail to improve proactive maintenance with an early warning detection system, ensuring any issues are dealt with swiftly, safely, and without prolonged downtime.

“This pivotal step in our modernization process will allow VIA Rail to maintain the 32 trains of the new fleet that will offer an unparalleled customer experience for passengers travelling in the Québec City – Windsor corridor,” said Bruno Cacciola, chief business transformation officer.


In keeping with VIA Rail’s vision to positively impact the communities we serve, the work will be conducted by Buttcon Limited, a construction firm with headquarters in Woodbridge, Ont. The project is expected to create up to 475 local jobs in the trade and construction industries between now and the completion of the centre in 2026.

The scope of the work will include demolition of a portion of the existing structure, construction of state of-the-art facilities, construction of a new addition, the removal and replacement of tracks, and the addition of a stand-alone wheel lathe facility, as well as critical infrastructure improvements throughout the maintenance yard.

“Buttcon is excited to embark on this amazing project,” stated Peter Di Gaetano, president and CEO of Buttcon Limited. “This moment signifies the culmination of our collaborative partnership with VIA Rail, a testament to the unwavering dedication and ingenuity of every team member. We eagerly anticipate surpassing industry standards and transcending conventional construction practices, ensuring the seamless execution of the Toronto Maintenance Centre Modernization Project. Together, we embark on this transformative journey, driven by innovation, collaboration, communication, and the exchange of professional expertise.”

The funding of the modernization of VIA Rail’s maintenance centres, the implementation and integration of various Information Technology (IT) systems as well as the transformation of maintenance processes were all part of the funding for VIA Rail’s Fleet Replacement Program provided in the 2018 federal budget.

“Passenger rail is an important part of Canada’s history, and VIA Rail has been an essential part of that story,” stated Omar Alghabra, Canada’s minister of transport. “I am pleased that this facility upgrade will ensure VIA Rail’s new fleet is serviced and maintained to the highest level possible.”




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