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.
VIA Rail Canada
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.
VIA Rail Canada set ridership records over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. From Oct. 5 to 10, 2017, 193,900 passengers used VIA’s four main services—Cross-Canada, Quebec-Windsor, the Montréal-Halifax Ocean and the Toronto-Vancouver Canadian—for an average 20.8% increase over the same period in 2016, excluding the Ocean, which rose 5%.