LIRR’s 2021 record on-time performance of 96.3% represents a 5.5 percentage point improvement over 2018’s rate of 90.4%.

Transit Briefs: LIRR, Sacramento RTD, TTC, VIA Rail

The 2021 on-time performance of MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in New York has surpassed the previous record set in 2020. Also, this summer, Sacramento (Calif.) Regional Transit District (RTD) will start Gold Line light rail improvements; Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has partnered with Magnusmode on a new rider app; and VIA Rail Canada has selected Icomera to deploy Wi-Fi and an onboard digital platform for riders on its new trainsets.

Canadian Pacific was honored with RAC’s Environment Award in the North American Class I Freight Category for its Solar Energy Farm at corporate headquarters in Calgary.

RAC Members Earn Safety, Environmental Awards

Three Railway Association of Canada (RAC) member railroads have earned the association’s safety and environmental awards for 2021.

(Photograph Courtesy of VIA Rail Canada)

VIA Rail Showcases First Siemens Test Train

In September, VIA Rail Canada took delivery of the first of 32 new Siemens trainsets, and on Nov. 30, revealed it to the public; testing starts in December. Siemens was awarded the

“As our communities and system recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, planning becomes even more important,” DART said on Oct. 19. “The 2045 Transit System Plan is intended to be a more policy-oriented plan so DART can shape and influence the future.”

Transit Briefs: DART; Denver RTD; MTA Metro-North; VIA Rail Canada

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has released a draft 2045 Transit System Plan. In addition, Denver (Colo.) Regional Transportation District is surveying riders to assess communication needs; MTA Metro-North Railroad is piloting a bike storage program in New York City; and Via Rail Canada will begin the final phase of its gradual service resumption plan in December.

For Canada, Mandatory Vaccinations for Federally Regulated Transportation Employees, Plus Travelers

Effective Oct. 30, the Canadian government is requiring employers in the federally regulated rail, air and marine transportation sectors to have established COVID-19 vaccination policies for employees, and travelers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains to be fully vaccinated.

(Photograph from VIA Rail Canada Twitter)

VIA Rail Welcomes New Siemens Trainset (Updated)

“Our new train has arrived and we couldn’t be happier!” VIA Rail Canada tweeted on Sept. 29. It is the first of 32 trainsets that Siemens is delivering to the passenger railroad under a C$989 million (US$781.5 million) contract awarded in December 2018.

VIA HFR: How Viable? How Close?

A glimpse of actual progress teased the passenger rail industry July 6 when the Canadian government unveiled previously obscure details of its long-running High Frequency Rail (HFR) program.

In 2012, Northlander passenger rail service—between Cochrane, North Bay and Toronto, in conjunction with bus service—was discontinued. Now under study is a 13-stop route serving Toronto (Union Station), Langstaff, Gormley, Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, North Bay, Temagami, Temiskaming Shores, Englehart, Matheson, and Timmins or Cochrane. Bus service between rail stops would be included.

Will Ontario’s Northlander Service Return?

The province of Ontario, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (Ontario Northland) and Metrolinx are advancing plans to reinstate Northlander passenger rail service, with the release of an Initial Business Case.

In 2020, ridership came in at 1.15 million total passenger trips, falling 77% from more than 5 million in 2019. As a result, passenger revenues dropped 80% to C$76 million from C$388 in 2019.

VIA Rail Releases 2020 Annual Report

VIA Rail Canada has published a 199-page annual report for 2020, covering its response to pandemic- and blockade-related service disruptions and how it moved forward with the implementation of its 2020-25 strategic plan.

Back on Track: VIA Rail Canadian

One of North America’s finest long-distance passenger trains, VIA Rail Canada’s iconic Canadian, will be resuming the Toronto to Winnipeg portion of its run wih one full Toronto-Vancouver round-trip per week starting May