Posts Tagged ‘VIA corridor service’

VIA Creates Subsidiary to Oversee Development of High-Speed Rail Corridor

December 22, 2022

VIA Rail Canada has created a subsidiary to oversee development of high-speed intercity rail service in the Toronto-Quebec City corridor.

The subsidiary is named VIA HFR and will act as a project office. the HRF denote “high rail frequency.”

Three founding members of the VIA HFR board were name including Robert Prichard, who will serve as chairman; Marie-José Nadeau, vice chair; and Robert Fonberg.

In a news release, VIA said the board will lead the search for the company’s CEO, as well as recruitment of the other directors to complete the seven-member board.

VIA Ridership Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

December 5, 2022

VIA Rail Canada said last week that its operations remain slightly below what they were before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian passenger carrier said on Nov. 30 that “operations returned to levels that are slightly below those operated before the pandemic, which is a significant increase compared to the corresponding quarter of 2021.”

VIA said capacity has risen 52 percent in terms of train-miles, and by 77.6 percent in terms of seat-miles.

During the third quarter of this year VIA handled 1,080 million passengers. That compares with 535,300 during the same period in 2021.

VIA said it recently took delivery of 32 new trainsets built by Siemens Mobility that will be used in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.

In an unrelated announcement, VIA said it has contracted with CGI to provide managed services for the passenger carrier’s new reservation system that is plans to launch in 2023.

CGI earlier worked with VIA to develop a cloud-based reservation system.

In a news release, VIA said CGI will manage business applications of the new reservation system.

Transport Canada Eyes New Entity to Operate Proposed High-Frequency Corridor Trains

November 2, 2022

Transport Canada has decided to create a new government entity to operate high frequency rail service in the corridor linking Toronto with Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City.

The move would effectively remove VIA Rail Canada from taking part in the project, which involves constructing an electrified passenger route.

Railway Age reported that the new government agency would oversee creation of the corridor and oversee its operations, which would be conducted by a yet-to-be-identified private development partner.

The report said the new agency would be a subsidiary of VIA, but operate independently and report director to Transport Canada.

The private operator would be expected to assume operation of VIA’s existing services that now use tracks owned by VIA and Canadian National.

The Railway Age report noted that if the plan is implemented, VIA would be relegated to operating low frequency regional and national services.

The author of the Railway Age report, David Thomas, asserted that eventually VIA would collapse from the financial strain of providing those services and public ownership of passenger rail would end.

The report, which was labeled as commentary, said the death of VIA would mean that private operators, such as the Rocky Mountaineer, could take over those trains.

Report Urges Restoration of VIA Train

September 30, 2022

A recent report concluded there is a “critical need” for VIA Rail Canada to provide commuter train service in the Kingston-Toronto corridor of Ontario.

The report was based on a survey of residents of the counties of Northumberland and Hastings, and the cities of Quinte West, Belleville and Kingston.

The report called for restoring VIA train 651, which was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ridership of that train could exceed pre-pandemic levels if it is restored, the report said.

Commuter ridership is expected to not only return to pre-pandemic levels but is expected to increase significantly from previous years.

“Our report confirms that 96 percent of pre-COVID users would return to this service, with 31 percent of all survey respondents identifying as new users eager to access this service. The data suggests that if VIA Train 651 returns, ridership levels will be stronger than pre-pandemic use,” said Bob Sanderson, Northumberland County Councilor and Chair of the Economic Development, Planning and Tourism Committee.

“The labor force in Eastern Ontario is stronger than pre-pandemic levels and our population is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the province. Our workforce needs this rail service as an alternative to costly vehicle use and residents want to make a responsible choice when it comes to the environment.”

When VIA FPA-4s Were in Charge

February 17, 2022

VIA FPA-4 No. 6764 leads an eastbound out of Windsor, Ontario, on March 29, 1983. The image was made in Tecumseh and that is the Detroit skyline in the background.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

VIA to Reduce Service Due to Pandemic

January 15, 2022

With cases of COVID-19 surging VIA Rail Canada has decided to temporarily reduce service in its corridors between Windsor, Ontario, and Quebec City, Quebec.

VIA said the affected routes include Montreal-Ottawa, Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa, Toronto-Kingston-Montreal, Toronto-Kingston-Ottawa, Toronto-London-Windsor and Toronto-London-Sarnia.

Business class seating has been suspended and business lounges are closed. VIA said it will gradually restore service during the spring.

In a statement, VIA said it will continue to offer “essential service” on all routes. The service reductions will take effect Jan. 19.

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.