VIA Rail launches procurement process to modernise its maintenance centres

Posted: 31 January 2020 | | No comments yet

Ahead of the arrival of its new fleet of trains expected in 2022, VIA Rail Canada has issued Requests for Qualifications to modernise its Montréal and Toronto maintenance centres.

VIA Rail Canada $54 million accessibility contract has been awarded to Bombardier

As part of its Québec City–Windsor Corridor Fleet Replacement Program, Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail), has launched the first phase of a procurement process to construct new buildings and make upgrades to its maintenance centres in Montréal and Toronto, ahead of the arrival of its new fleet expected in 2022.

This process follows the contract granted to Siemens to build and supply 32 train sets to replace VIA Rail’s current fleet. 

The scope of work for the project includes a combination of constructing new buildings and making upgrades at both centres, including the yard, civil engineering systems, structural, architectural, mechanical and electrical systems, communication systems, and refuelling equipment, and supplying and installing vehicle maintenance equipment.

Cynthia Garneau, VIA Rail’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Upgrading our Montréal and Toronto maintenance centres is one of the core projects of our organisation.  It is an integral part of VIA Rail’s transformation plan. In preparation for the introduction of our new fleet of trains, the modernisation and upgrade of our facilities will also allow for the maintenance of the current fleet. Starting in 2022, our passengers will enjoy a renewed travel experience with a significantly lower environmental footprint, which also meets universal accessibility standards.” 

The modernisation project will be funded with the money allocated to the Fleet Replacement Program in the Federal government’s 2018 budget. 

Phases of the procurement process 

In preparation for the procurement process of this modernisation project of maintenance centres, VIA Rail conducted a market sounding exercise in December 2019 with general contractors interested in the project. This exercise not only gathered useful information from potential bidders, but also aimed to promote VIA Rail’s maintenance centres upgrade project to ensure participation from the private sector and encourage competition. The goal of this request for qualifications is to pre-qualify firms for work on the Montréal and Toronto maintenance centres. Price, relevant experience and delivery capacity will be the key criteria VIA Rail will look for when selecting the firms during the procurement process. A Fairness Monitor will be used to ensure the procurement process is open and transparent. 

Phase 1 – Request for Qualifications (RFQ), dates are approximate:

  • RFQ release: 30 January 2020
  • RFQ submission deadline: 31 March 2020
  • Deadline for the evaluation of submissions and shortlist release: May 2020.

Phase 2 – Request For Proposals (RFP): 

  • RFP release to shortlisted proponents: Summer 2020
  • Proposal submission deadline: Autumn 2020
  • Awarding of the contract: Winter 2020–2021

VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and approximately 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over five million passengers in 2019.