Gaspesians need their passenger train for several reasons:
1- Health care: The population of Gaspésie is aging and many of its citizens have to travel long distances to obtain care. Many patients with cancer or heart problems have to go to Montreal, Quebec or Rimouski for treatment. The train provides them with a safe and comfortable mode of transportation, especially in winter.
2- Tourism: Gaspésie is one of Québec’s main tourist attractions. Many visitors like to come to Gaspésie by train to visit friends or their family. Many Gaspesians also need the train to go to see family or friends elsewhere in Canada. The Admiral tourist train allows when it runs to better appreciate the beauty of the landscape between Gaspé and Percé by the railway. These cruisers contribute to generate economic activity in Gaspésie and elsewhere in Québec. In addition, railway enthusiasts from all over the world come to see this route of great beauty, and some of them make it an annual ritual.
3- Mobility and Education: Gaspesian youth often have to travel outside the region to pursue their education. The train is the best way for them to go to their educational institution, or to come back to see their family. In addition, many teachers and school officials travel by train to attend meetings or conventions outside the region.
4- Mobility and employment: The train is an essential tool for the economy of the region. People from all business sectors who have to go elsewhere for business find the train a comfortable and affordable way to get around. The mobility of people is a vital factor in regional development. Moreover, when the passenger train runs between Matapédia and Gaspé, it creates jobs in the train stations, on the train and in the maintenance of the railway. These jobs have been suspended since 2013.
In addition, since 2012, Gaspésie has seen 6,000 people choose to settle in the region. These newcomers, including young Gaspesians returning after their studies, are important for the future of the region. Considering that many of them are from elsewhere and that they will need to visit their family, they will have to travel. The passenger train offers them an ecological and safe way to travel.
5- The environment: Climate change and global warming are two of the main problems affecting our society. The train is an effective way of removing vehicles from our roads and lowering our greenhouse gas emissions. When the number of passengers is greater, simply add passenger cars to the train, instead of adding dozens or hundreds of additional cars.
6- Ridership: Gaspesians have always used their passenger train. Traffic statistics prove it. Between 2004 and 2013, the Montréal-Gaspé train transported more passengers than the other two regional trains from Québec combined. In 2011, 27,991 passengers took the Montréal-Gaspé train, while the Montréal-Jonquière and Montréal-Senneterre trains, combined, carried 25,870.
7- The economy of the Gaspé Peninsula: The train is important for the economic development of Gaspésie. The train can offer competitive prices as compared to the truck; a train car carries 2.5 times more than a truck and can deliver products over long distances, traveling within Canada, the United States and Mexico day and night. The competitiveness of companies in a world of market globalization is a key factor in obtaining contracts. Companies like LM Wind Power, McInnis Cement, Temrex and Rail GD together employ nearly 800 people. These are the four pillars of rail transportation in Gaspésie. Other shippers also need the train to be competitive with shippers elsewhere.
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