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MP Bachrach calls on feds to fix passenger rail service in the country

Bachrach recently completed a six-day rail journey from Ontario to B.C.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach has sponsored petition e-4754, initiated by Terrence Johnson, President of Transport Action Canada, urging the government to take action to fix the state of passenger rail service in Canada.

In December, Bachrach, who is the NDP transport critic, tabled Bill C-371, the Rail Passenger Priority Act, which seeks to improve VIA Rail’s on-time performance by giving passenger trains priority on freight tracks.

He followed this up by spending six days on a VIA train, travelling from Toronto to Smithers BC to discuss the future of Canada’s passenger rail with passengers and communities across the country.

Bachrach’s petition not only calls on the government to adopt the Rail Passenger Priority Act, but to address many issues brought forward by passenger rail advocates from Transport Action Canada and Unifor over the years, including a legislative mandate for VIA Rail, renewing the long-distance fleet, and keeping the government’s High-Frequency Rail project in the public’s hands.

“I am very encouraged by the support my Rail Passenger Priority Act has received,” said Bachrach. “The bill is a strong first step towards securing the future of strong, reliable passenger rail in Canada. Combined with the actions called for by advocates, Canada can truly make passenger trains a desirable option for travellers. The goal of this petition is to show the government the enthusiasm Canadians have for strong passenger rail services. We’ll see if they choose to listen.”

While explaining why action on passenger rail is so important, Terrence Johnson said: “We’re not just talking about delays of a few hours. Three whole days have been added to the scheduled travel time between Halifax and Vancouver since the 1970s. Rail is the environmentally-friendly backbone for Canada’s logistics and travel network, and we need to invest in strengthening our network for both freight and passengers.”

Bachrach’s petition can be viewed here

Black Press Media Staff

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