VIA Rail Canada

VIA Rail Still Struggling

VIA Rail, Canada’s counterpart to Amtrak and a much-smaller system, is not doing well and seeking emergency government funding. It recently reported an 82% drop in ridership and an 84% decrease in revenue compared with last year, as well as a savings of 27.5% in operating expenses. Some of the savings came from reducing service, both on the railroad’s corridors in Ontario and Quebec, and on other trains. Here is a detailed rundown of the service currently offered.

Riders of California’s Capitol Corridor, Minnesota’s Metro Transit and VIA Rail Canada will see improvements to Wi-Fi, light rail transportation options, and reservations, respectively.

Supply Side: Capitol Corridor, Metro Transit, VIA Rail Canada Improving Rider Services

Northern California’s Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) expects to complete its next-generation Wi-Fi upgrade project by early December to improve the rider experience. Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro Transit awarded two communications contracts to Collins Aerospace Systems for its $2.003 billion Southwest LRT project, which will expand Green Line service. As well, VIA Rail Canada is working with IT and business consulting services firm CGI on a reservation modernization project to better serve customers.

Good “Experientials” or Bad?

Ever since he came to Amtrak from the airline industry, President and CEO Richard Anderson has “railed” against so-called “experiential” trains, an expression he often uses in disparaging the roughly 15 long-distance trains in Amtrak’s skeletal national network. Anderson clearly prefers corridors, and many members of the rider advocacy community also like them, but Anderson seems determined to expand those corridors by eliminating long-distance trains in what he and his followers perceive as a zero-sum game. While he often uses the word to describe his company’s long-haul trains, it does not seem clear what he dislikes about them, or whom he believes they serve and with what sort of experience.

Red-over-green for VIA Rail’s high-frequency corridor

After five years of internal planning, VIA Rail’s vision of a dedicated, high-frequency passenger railway from Quebec City to Toronto has secured the backing of the new Canada Infrastructure Bank. A C$55 million investment by the bank was announced June 25 for final pre-procurement planning, including the engineering of technical inter-operation with existing commuter lines in Montreal and Toronto.

America without Greyhound—and no replacement passenger trains

We are not usually concerned with buses at Railway Age, but what would happen if Greyhound buses suddenly disappeared from American roads, and Amtrak became the only provider of passenger transportation with a nationwide reach? That speculation is not as far-fetched as it would appear at first blush, as a similar scenario is being played out at this writing in much of Canada.