Dilkens believes Amtrak-VIA Rail link is an 'exciting opportunity'


Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens is calling it an 'exciting opportunity.'

Speaking on AM800's The Morning Drive, Dilkens says a $44-million project to link Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada services is expected to start in 2027.

He says the service would take passengers from Chicago to Toronto with stops in Detroit and Windsor.

"They're hoping to have all of the approvals in place and the track upgrades in place, a joint customs processing in place for service to start in 2027," says Dilkens.

He says Amtrak and VIA are paying for the project.

"The objective here is to have Amtrak and VIA fund the entire cost of this upgrade and then open up their networks respectively, you can get on a train and get anywhere in the United States practically and anywhere in Canada through the VIA system," says Dilkens.  "With the level crossings in Windsor, with the station improvements in Detroit and then of course the joint customs facility getting all the approvals from the regulatory folks in the U.S. and Canada on the specs and design and actually see that facility built and so there's a lot of work to happen but the fact there's an interest and there's money being put towards all of the studies required is a really good sign."

The rail companies say the project would include crossing improvements, station improvements and the construction of a new joint border security facility.

They say the proposed service would address population and traffic increases and support economic growth. 

The companies are also projecting 66,500 passengers to use the service each year, with 14,000 passengers beginning and ending their trip in Windsor.


Photo courtesy: Amtrak/VIA RailAM800-News-Amtrak-VIA-2-November-2023

Photo courtesy: Amtrak/VIA Rail