VIA Rail

“Like many companies in the transportation industry, VIA Rail continued to face the impacts of the various waves of the pandemic,” Chief Financial Officer Marie-Claude Cardin reported. “Nonetheless, as we have always done over the past two years, we found ways to strike a balance between our important public service mandate while proactively managing the financial impacts on our operations.” (VIA Rail)

VIA Rail Releases 2021 Annual Report

“Despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic, we have successfully pursued our strategic plan, including the unveiling of our new fleet and the advancement of the High Frequency Rail project,” VIA Rail Canada Board Chair Françoise Bertrand said upon release of the railroad’s 2021 Annual Report.

Metrolinx, the city of Toronto, and the province of Ontario have launched the procurement process for the first of five new SmartTrack GO stations across the city. (Metrolinx photo)

Transit Briefs: Metrolinx, TEXRail, TransLink, VIA Rail, WMATA

Metrolinx is advancing construction of the first of five new SmartTrack GO stations in Toronto. Also, Trinity Metro’s TEXRail promoted its second female engineer; TransLink unveiled the first 10 years of “Transport 2050” priorities for metro Vancouver; VIA Rail Canada released a five-year sustainability plan; and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) installed its first solar canopy as part of a four-station project expected to provide nearly 10 megawatts of renewable energy to the local grid.

Pictured: Alstom’s Innovia automated people movers carrying riders at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Transit Briefs: DFW, TransLink, Metrolink, Metrolinx, UTA, VIA Rail, WMATA

Alstom has landed a 10-year people-mover contract with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). Also, Metrolink locomotives powering regional/commuter rail service in Southern California are now using renewable fuel; Metrolinx is upgrading the Mimico GO Station in Toronto; Vancouver’s TransLink is launching in-tunnel video advertising; Utah Transit Authority on April 18 is taking out of service its FrontRunner Comet cars; VIA Rail Canada is resuming most services by the end of June; and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has teamed with MITRE to improve its safety management system.

Two Years After COVID: Amtrak Lags, VIA Rail Hopes

Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada took major hits in the two years since COVID-19 pushed much of the world into lockdown mode. Today, Amtrak’s service recovery has stalled, while VIA Rail is looking forward to something of a comeback under difficult circumstances later this spring; a comeback that has already begun in part.

In September 2021, VIA Rail Canada took delivery of the first of 32 new Siemens trainsets, and on Nov. 30, revealed it to the public; testing started in December. (Photograph Courtesy of VIA Rail Canada)

Canada Commits to Passenger Rail Revival With HFR Certainty

Canada’s public passenger railway VIA Rail has been pulled back from pandemic-induced oblivion by a federal government now framing the scheme for a dedicated, electrified right-of-way linking Quebec City and Toronto as a certainty for the first time since the project was first revealed in 2015.

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For VIA Rail, an Existential Crisis

Battered by COVID-19 lockdowns, fatigued rolling stock, fierce competition for station slots and the ubiquitous adoption of alternatives to physical travel, Canada’s publicly owned intercity passenger system is mired in an existential crisis over which it has little or no control. That is the depressing message in VIA Rail’s 2021-2025 Corporate Plan, dated Nov. 5 2021 but never officially announced by way of news release. It resides in an obscure page of the company’s website.

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.