VIA Report Says Canadian Not Sustainable

VIA Rail Canada said recently it doesn’t expect to operate a third Toronto-Vancouver roundtrip of the Canadian.

The intercity rail operator said that although it expects to continue operating its flagship long-distance train, its current business model is “no longer sustainable.”

Those conclusions were shared in a summary for the passenger carrier’s 2020-24 corporate plan, which is posted on the VIA website.

The document said the finances of the Canadian’s model have been hindered “predominantly due to host railroad actions.”

That has created a service incapable of serving short-distance travelers and the tourism market.

The Canadian has suffered from poor on-time performance with some delays stretching up to 43 hours. In 2019 the Canadian’s on-time performance was 55.9%.

In recent years the scheduled running time of Nos. 1 and 2 has been lengthened by 10 hours. Revenue growth has stalled while operating costs have risen.

VIA said it will explore options to revitalize the Canadian and other services in Western Canada but did not say what that might involve.

The Canadian last operated three times a week in 2019. It has been suspended for much of this year due to the CVOID-19 pandemic.

VIA also said a tri-weekly Canadian needs five train sets but it lacks enough equipment to create a fifth set because some equipment has been diverted to the Ocean, which operates between Montreal and Halifax.

Modernization of VIA’s heritage fleet has been scaled back due to “unexpected issues.”

Some of the heritage fleet is more than 70 years old and needs to be replaced.

VIA also said it continues to work toward creating its own dedicated right-of-way for portions of its Toronto-Montreal-Quebec City corridor.

It also plans to address the need to ensure access to Toronto Union Station and Montreal Central Station, where 46 percent of its passengers begin or end their trips.

That will require access agreements with host railroads that “feature best practices regarding punctuality and capacity management.”

The report said that in 2019, only 67.3percent of VIA’s corridor trains were on time.

VIA said its base funding level need to increase from $146.8 million to $300 million, with “extended funding” of $550 million, or $110 million per year, to address a current funding gap and allow for long-term planning throughout the five-year period of the plan.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: