[HALIFAX, NS] — Via Rail is looking to develop the land next to its Halifax station, amidst major cutbacks to the train company.
The Canadian railway has accepted expressions of interest (EOI) from local investors to help develop four acres of land surrounding the Halifax terminal, roughly following the tracks between Hollis Street and Terminal Road.
“We’re not going into this with any pre-conceived notions, and we’re open to suggestions” said Malcolm Andrews, a spokesperson with Via Rail.
“It’s not really being used for anything related directly to our train operations or the station,” Andrews added about the area.
He says Via Rail wants to develop the Halifax station because the city’s economy is strong, especially concerning waterfront projects.
“The time seemed to be very much right,” said Andrews.
The announcement Tuesday comes only a few months after Via Rail announced it would cut the Halifax-Montreal route from six to three trips a week, and 31 workers within the company working in Nova Scotia would be laid off.
Andrews says the frequency of train service was changed because less people were taking that route, but Via Rail will still promote that line, and can add extra compartments to a train if it fills up.
“It behooves us to look at all aspects of the business at all times, not just schedules that fit traffic demand, but its use of real estate across the country… are we doing justice to the properties that we occupy in those communities,” he said.
Last week, Via Rail was also in the news when its president, Marc Laliberte, told the Halifax Chamber of Commerce the Crown corporation was looking at integrating bus and rail services in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.