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.
VIA Rail Canada
VIA Rail’s proposed High Frequency Rail (HFR) network of dedicated passenger right-of-way linking Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto has moved from plan to project with the appointment of a British railway expert as team director.
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.
Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau, a former NASA astronaut, has named an executive from Canada’s aerospace industry as President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada.
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.
VIA Rail Canada announced that it has awarded Siemens Canada a C$989 million ($741 million) contract to supply 32 intercity trainsets for the Quebec City–Toronto–Windsor corridor.
You think Amtrak has problems with long-distance train punctuality? VIA Rail Canada recently has been experiencing debilitating delays with the Canadian, its premier, first-class Toronto-Vancouver train, renowned for luxurious accommodations, excellent on-board service, and—oh yes—dining cars. But I’m not going to broach that subject just now.
Continuing a four-year trend, VIA Rail Canada posted strong ridership and revenues in 2017, carrying 4.4 million passengers, an increase of 10.5% over 2016 (the largest year-over-year growth in the past decade), with revenues of C$365.7 million, a 12.8% increase over 2016.
Canada’s VIA Rail has followed up on news that Ottawa will help fund replacement of locomotives and rolling stock on its most heavily-traveled route.
A 100-year-old tunnel through Mont-Royal has become a choke point for parallel projects to build new intercity and regional commuter railways radiating from Montreal’s Central Station.