Posts Tagged ‘VIA corridor service’

VIA to Restore Some Corridor Services

August 24, 2020

Train service frequencies will increase on Sept. 1 on most of its corridor routes between Quebec City and Windsor, Ontario.

Three trains are being added on the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa route while one round trip in being added in each direction on the Toronto-Montreal, Toronto-Ottawa, and Toronto-Windsor routes.

“This represents our biggest addition of frequencies in the Corridor since the start of the pandemic, said VIA CEO Cynthia Garneau said in a statement.

Still suspended until at least Nov. 1 are the long-distance Ocean and Canadian.

Other remote-access services continue to operate one round trip a week.

VIA to Restore Some Service on June 3

May 22, 2020

VIA Rail Canada will restore on June 3 some service in Québec and Ontario that has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resuming service will be Trains 62 and 669 (Toronto-Kingston-Montréal) and Trains 52, 48, 59 (Toronto-Kingston-Ottawa).

The passenger carrier also said it expects to restore service in July on the Prince Rupert-Prince George-Jasper route.

In a news release, VIA said this service has been suspended due to “infrastructure and maintenance improvements” being performed by host railroad Canadian National.

VIA Makes More Service Cuts

March 31, 2020

VIA Rail Canada said that beginning March 31 it will further cut service on most routes.

The new schedule calls for only one train per day on all routes in the Quebec City-Windsor, Ontario, corridor.

All trains will stop at every station on all routes.

Montreal-Jonquiere, Quebec; Montreal-Senneterre, Que; and Sudbury-White River, Ontario, routes will operate with one round trip per week.

The Winnipeg-Churchill, Manitoba, train is no longer offering Sleeper Plus service.

Other operations, including the Canadian and Ocean, have been suspended through May 1.

VIA said carry-on baggage assistance offered by employees is temporarily suspended on all trains across the network.

However, it said it will continue to offer the same level of assistance to passengers with disabilities and/or limited mobility.

Checked baggage service has been temporarily suspended on all routes except Sudbury-White River and Winnipeg-Churchill.

In the United States, Amtrak and CTrail Hartford Line trains have begun operating on an even more reduced schedule with a combined 11 round trips (six CTrail, five Amtrak) on weekdays and revised weekend schedules on Amtrak’s Hartford line between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts.

VIA Suspends Trains, Reduces Service Levels

March 17, 2020

VIA Rail Canada has also announced that it has suspended its Canadian, Ocean and long distance eastern and western routes until March 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian intercity rail passenger carrier has also reduced service in its corridor linking Windsor, Ontario, and Quebec City by 50 percent.

Onboard meal service has been modified to conform to social distancing guidelines.

Aditional workers are being added to conduct sanitization procedures, which may result in trip delays and late departures.

VIA to Stop Taking Cash on Some Trains

October 16, 2019

VIA Rail Canada will stop accept cash and only take regular and prepaid credit cards and VIA Rail gift cards will be accepted to pay for food and beverage purchased aboard its Halifax-Montreal Ocean and all Toronto-Quebec corridor trains effective Oct. 29.

The carrier also plans to end cash purchases on trains serving remote regions between Montreal and Senneterre, Quebec, Jonquiere, Quebec, and the Sudbury-White River, Ontario, triweekly Rail Diesel Cars.

For the time being cash will still be accepted aboard the Toronto-Vancouver Canadian, and the Winnipeg-Churchill and Jasper-Prince George-Prince Rupert trains.

“In response to a long-standing customer request, VIA is introducing an electronic payment terminal (that will) optimize frontline operations while streamlining our back-end food management systems,” VIA spokeswoman Marie-Anna Murat told Trains magazine.

“Eliminating cash will make VIA’s onboard transactions more efficient, allowing our employees to spend more time serving passengers; this change reflects the transportation industry trend towards cashless transactions.”

Murat said VIA employees will be flexible in the weeks following the launch.

Funding Set for Study of New VIA Rail Corridor

June 29, 2019

The proposed new corridor for VIA Rail Canada service between Toronto and Quebec City.

Funding has fallen into place to conduct a study of the creation of a dedicated rail corridor for VIA Rail Canada trains between Toronto and Quebec City.

C$55 million in funding for the study is being backed by the Canada Infrastructure Bank while another C$16 million will come from Transport Canada.

A joint project team of the bank and VIA will develop a plan to pitch to private-sector investors, notably, the country’s public pension funds.

The cost of a passenger-only corridor have ranged between C$4 billion, for a diesel-powered service to C$6 billion for an electrified line.

The passenger line would also use a patchwork of operational and abandoned rights-of-way.

The route would run from Quebec City to Montreal over former Canadian Pacific tracks now operated by Genesee & Wyoming’s Quebec Gatineau Railway.

From Montreal, the line would run north from Montreal Central Station to Ottawa, perhaps connecting with VIA Rail’s existing line from Coteau-du-Lac to Ottawa. Alternatively, it could simply follow Quebec Gatineau’s existing line all the way to Ottawa.

VIA currently used a Canadian National line between Montreal and Toronto that is shares with CN freight trains.

About 72 percent of VIA’s ridership is in the Quebec City-Toronto corridor in 2018. It accounts for 66 percent of the railroad’s revenue.

The idea of a new passenger route was advanced in 2015 by former VIA President Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.

He said at the time that this would enable VIA to increase frequencies and have better reliability.

The announcement of the funding agreement did not come with a date for when the study will be completed.

VIA Still Seeking Quebec-Windsor Increased Service

June 2, 2019

VIA Rail Canada is studying creating passenger-only route in the Quebec-Windsor, Ontario, but its new CEO has not committed to seeing the project through.

Cynthia Garneau said at the annual VIA public meeting that the carrier has created a committee to review the prospect of making parts of the corridor passenger only.

Garneau said VIA hopes to enter into what she termed “a new phase” before the end of the year.

One element of that “new phase” could be additional trains on existing Canadian National tracks now used by VIA in the corridor.

“This project is complex and ambitious and we continue to work with Transport Canada to capture its scope, to mitigate the risks,” she said. “The feedback we’ve been getting is encouraging. It will be using existing infrastructure, as you know, and existing rights-of-way all the way from Quebec City to Toronto.”

VIA’s former CEO, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, has called for higher service frequency in the corridor.

During the meeting, VIA executives said that revenue was up 7.4 percent and ridership up 8 percent last year.

VIA expects to continue emphasizing its corridor service because it accounts for 95 percent of the carrier’s ridership.

Plans are underway to assign new single-level cars and locomotives to corridor service.

During a question and answer session, VIA management said it expects to resume tri-weekly service by the Canadian between Toronto and Vancouver, British Columbia, by next spring after CN finishes increasing the capacity of the route used by the train.

Currently, VIA is operating one Canadian roundtrip only between Vancouver and Edmonton, Alberta.

VIA also plans to eventually resume going all the way to the end of track on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, but officials gave no date for that.

They noted that the government of Quebec is rebuilding the tracks on the route.

No plans are in the works for VIA to institute service in Western Canada to cities left behind by discontinue of bus service by Greyhound. VIA officials said the carrier does not “have the resources allocated to entertain any more services.”

Likewise, VIA management said that additional service in Southwest Ontario “is solely dependent on working with the infrastructure providers and intermodal partners to evaluate access.

Although the region shows great potential, VIA doesn’t expect to add service in the short term.