Federal rail announcement for southwestern Ontario on Wednesday

Long-awaited improvements to passenger rail service in southwestern Ontario are expected to be announced on July 21.

Local leaders will join Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra for the announcement.

Two weeks ago, Alghabra announced a procurement process to provide higher-frequency VIA Rail service from Toronto to Quebec City.

The next day, London Mayor Ed Holder hinted that this region would not be left out of rail service improvements.

“In the near term, you are going to be hearing some positive news for London,” he told CTV News London at the time.

In 2012, VIA Rail service was slashed along the Toronto-Windsor-Sarnia route.

Two years ago, plans for a high-speed rail line between Windsor and Toronto were abandoned by the provincial government.

The Toronto-Windsor-Sarnia corridor is VIA Rail’s second busiest route in the country -- and there remains potential for growth.

At the top of the wish list for local passengers, more frequent daily service to make business and personal travel more flexible.

“London is big enough, the area is big enough. They should be able to add more routes,” said Maria Gilbert on her way into the train station in London.