VIA Rail Canada Introduces Enhancements to its Hudson Bay Service:
Monday, October 08, 2007
VIA Rail Canada has announced the introduction of a number of service enhancements to its popular Hudson Bay service for this year’s Polar Bear season, effective from October 1 – 31, 2007.
The three-day, two-night journey, which takes passengers from Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba, follows a scenic track that travels into the remote northern tundra region inhabited by polar bears – the largest concentration in the world. Enhancing this amazing sightseeing adventure is the addition of VIA’s Aurora Viewing Car during the polar bear viewing season - providing travellers with a bird’s eye view of the seldom viewed sub-artic region.
“Along with the amazing sightseeing adventure that unfolds as the train makes its way north, viewing these magnificent animals during the prime season makes the Hudson Bay service one of the most unique rail experiences to be found in the world,” says David Mulley, Managing Director of Asia Pacific Travel Marketing Services.
As there are no highways connecting Churchill to southern Manitoba, VIA’s Hudson Bay service provides optimum opportunity to experience the tundra and arctic terrain by rail. First class sleeping car passengers enjoy 360-degree views from VIA’s famed dome “Park” car, taking in the endless vistas by day and dazzling “Northern Lights” (Aurora Borealis) by night. Additionally, passengers sample delectable regional cuisine in the train’s dining car (including the popular Arctic Char) as well as enjoy exclusive access to the Park car, where complimentary coffee and tea are available throughout the day.
VIA’s Hudson Bay service departs three times per week, year-round, in each direction. Travellers can choose from sleeper and comfort class (economy) accommodations. Sleeping car passengers can choose from a variety of accommodations, from the economical lower and/or upper berth to the enclosed single, double and triple bedrooms. All sleeping car accommodations include convenient amenities such as shower access and shower kits.
Along with the fall Polar Bear season, travellers can view the colourful and rhythmical “Northern Lights” (Aurora Borealis) from September to April (peaking from January to March) or watch Beluga whales and birds in June and July.
Anchoring the Hudson Bay route are Winnipeg and Churchill:
Winnipeg, Manitoba is the province’s largest city and cultural centre. Once a centre for fur trading, visitors to Winnipeg can enjoy world-renowned ballet, a stroll around the city’s French Quarter, or a trip to the historical crossroads “The Forks,” the site of many of the city’s largest festivals where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet. Assiniboine Park is a favourite amongst Winnipeg’s residents, featuring the city’s zoo, English and French gardens and various outdoor activities.
Churchill, Manitoba is located on the banks of Hudson Bay in northern Artic region, and is known as the polar bear capital of the world. Churchill also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as ecological hikes, fishing, dogsledding and snowmobiling. Visitors to Churchill should bring their cameras and make sure to capture the endless luminosity of the tundra during the day and magnificent northern lights at night.
Travellers can connect with the Hudson Bay in Winnipeg by using VIA’s Canadian thrice-weekly service from Toronto or Vancouver. Winnipeg also has an international airport with direct or one-switch access to cities across Canada.
For further information on pricing and packaging, contact your preferred travel professional.
Via Rail seen unveiling funds for service
October 11, 2007
OTTAWA, Ont. - VIA Rail is expected to get new funding today to
refurbish old rail cars and locomotives and speed its service, the
Toronto Star reports.
Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
will hold a news conference this afternoon at Toronto's Union Station
where they're expected to announce new funding for the national
passenger rail service.
"VIA has been on a starvation diet. ... There is an urgent need for
funding for state-of-good repair alone," said David Jeanes, president of
"We're hoping to see sufficient funds announced by the government
(today) to really deal with some of these issues," he said yesterday in
"VIA's ridership is on the increase and yet their annual subsidy from
the federal government has been held at the same level for many years."
While Canada is fast becoming the only G-8 nation without a high-speed
rail line, Jeanes expects today's announcement to focus on making
"incremental" improvements to the service.
The rail line, for example, has been seeking funding to refurbish its
older passenger cars. And it also wants to rebuild its fleet of 53 older
locomotives, to extend their life as well as reduce emissions. That
would allow Cannon and Flaherty to tout their announcement as a step to
help the environment.
Jeanes said new funding could also be used to improve service on busy
routes, such as the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.
VIA also faces a bill that could reach $92 million to make passenger
cars more accessible to travellers in wheelchairs. The Supreme Court of
Canada in March upheld federal regulators who ordered VIA to make the
changes to its Renaissance rail cars to accommodate disabled passengers.
Today's announcement could include the funding to proceed with that work.
News Release No. H 187/07
For release October 11, 2007
CANADA'S NEW GOVERNMENT REVITALIZES INTER-CITY PASSENGER RAIL SERVICES IN CANADA OTTAWA —
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, along with the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced a new funding package for VIA Rail Canada Inc., a Crown corporation, to revitalize inter-city passenger rail services in Canada. The funding totals $691.9 million over the next five years.
"Today, Canada's New Government is acting to provide faster, cleaner, more frequent and reliable passenger rail service across Canada," said Minister Cannon. "The corridor between Quebec City and Windsor has the largest passenger volumes and will benefit from infrastructure improvements that will make the entire passenger rail system more efficient and accessible."
"VIA Rail has a proud legacy of serving Canadians, and our government is taking steps to make this wonderful service even better," added Minister Flaherty. "We are launching the largest capital program in VIA Rail's history. It will allow for the renewal of VIA Rail's fleet, the upgrading of the existing network and it will support a stronger economy, a cleaner environment and a safer Canada."
"I would like to thank the Government of Canada for this welcome and timely investment in VIA Rail Canada," said Donald A. Wright, VIA's chairman. "It is an important recognition of the entire team at VIA, whose hard work over the past decade has earned VIA solid marks for its excellent customer service and sound management. This investment is also recognition of the potential of the current passenger rail service to meet the growing transportation needs of Canadians in an environmentally responsible, efficient and cost-effective manner."
This new investment addresses VIA Rail's capital needs, ensuring that its current network and service levels are sustainable into the future. Of the total funding package, $516 million in capital funds will be allocated over five years for infrastructure improvements and equipment refurbishments, beginning in 2007. This investment will be targeted towards:
fleet renewal, through refurbishment of the F40 locomotives and Light, Rapid and Comfortable (LRC) passenger cars;
strategic infrastructure improvements to eliminate bottlenecks in the Quebec City —Windsor corridor; and
The equipment refurbishment will also help improve the company's environmental performance through increased fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions per passenger.
The remainder of the funding, a total of $175.9 million over five years, will be directed towards VIA Rail's operating costs. This additional funding is needed to sustain VIA's national network until the capital program is completed. VIA expects to reduce its maintenance costs after the equipment is rebuilt and to attract more passengers as it moves to provide faster, more frequent service on its trains in the Quebec City — Windsor Corridor.
"Once the F40 locomotive rebuilding program is complete, VIA will have one of the most fuel efficient fleets of diesel locomotives of any passenger rail operator in North America. The locomotives will also meet the new emissions standards set by the recent Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Canada and the Railway Association of Canada – which includes VIA Rail," concluded Minister Cannon.
Funding improvements to the national transportation system is one of Canada's New Government's priorities for investments in infrastructure. Through its unprecedented $33-billion Building Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is making partnership investments to support a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and a more secure Canada.
VIA Rail Canada Inc., a Crown corporation, was created in 1977 to operate Canada's national passenger rail service.
- Contract impacts 70% of VIA's locomotive fleet, strengthens reliability and further improves environmental performance -
Montreal - VIA Rail Canada announced today that it has entered into a 5-year contract valued at over $100 million with CAD Railway Industries Ltd. (CAD) to rebuild its fleet of F-40 locomotives. The program involves stripping locomotives down to their shells and rebuilding them using the latest technology.
This project is a key component of the recently announced Government of Canada capital investment plan to improve the sustainability and reliability of Canada's passenger rail system.
Beginning this month, car bodies will be repaired while the components of each system will be thoroughly inspected, and new systems will be installed to meet today's environmental as well as safety standards. In fact, VIA expects to see a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of up to 12% once the work has been completed, and this in addition to a GHG reduction of 13% since 1990.
This program is one of the first to be announced following a significant capital investment from the federal government. "We are extremely pleased to announce that CAD Railway Industries Ltd. is our first partner following the Government's investment," explained Paul Côté, President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada. "By rebuilding 70% of our fleet of locomotives, CAD will help us reach our goals of increasing reliability while decreasing maintenance costs. It is one of the many steps we are undertaking to modernize our fleet while ensuring all locomotives are in compliance with safety, environmental and other regulations, all as a means to providing our customers with the best travel experience."
CAD will begin the work this month. The first rebuilt locomotives should be ready by March 2009 and the project should be complete by 2012. "We are excited to work on a key part of Canada's passenger rail infrastructure for VIA Rail," explained Fausto Levy, President of CAD Railway Industries Ltd. "The value CAD brings to this project is not only measurable in reduced maintenance costs and improved reliability of the locomotive: our work will also have a local impact by creating more than 90 new jobs in the area."
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, expressed his satisfaction with the announcement: "The Government is pleased to see that the investment we have made in VIA Rail Canada is already being put to excellent use. We look forward to the rollout of the rebuilt F-40 fleet along with other improvements to Canada's passenger rail service over the next five years. The improved reliability, safety, and frequency of these locomotives will benefit all Canadians."
"North American railroads and commuter systems today are making significant capital investments in the remanufacturing of their locomotive, freight car and passenger railcar fleets to meet volume demands, fuel efficiency targets and new environmental and emission standards. We are delighted that Global Railway's subsidiary, CAD Railway Industries Ltd., has been selected by VIA as the locomotive remanufacturer for one of the largest passenger rail infrastructure investment programs in recent Canadian history," said Terry McManaman, Chairman, President and CEO, Global Railway Industries Ltd. "Once the F-40 locomotive renewal program is complete, VIA Rail will have one of the most reliable and fuel efficient fleets of diesel locomotives of any passenger rail operator in North America," said McManaman.
"CAD Railway Industries Ltd. will itself embark on an infrastructure expansion program as a result of being awarded the F-40 remanufacturing contract. This expansion will position CAD as the largest re-manufacturer of locomotives in Canada and as a major competitor in locomotive remanufacturing in North America," said Fausto Levy, President of CAD. "We expect that approximately 450 person-years of additional employment will be created at CAD's facility in Lachine, Québec, over the total term of the VIA contract".
VIA is currently completing plans for a number of other projects that will improve its equipment, stations and infrastructure across its Canada-wide network.
As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost effective passenger transportation services, both in Canada's business corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country. VIA serves more than 450 communities with a network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains. Increasingly travellers are turning to train travel as a hassle-free and cost-efficient alternative to congested roads and airports as well as a more environmentally responsible way to travel.
About CAD Railway Industries Ltd.
Based in Lachine (Montreal), Quebec, CAD Railway Industries Ltd. is an international re-manufacturer of locomotives, rail cars, power generation units and components. CAD Railway is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Railway Industries Ltd. (TSX:GBI) an integrated rail product and service provider for the locomotive, railcar and track & signal railway markets in North America. Global Railway Industries shares are listed for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbol "GBI".
1/11/2008 Intercity Rail
High-speed rail study garners funds, VIA Rail gains holiday riders
The Canadian government recently announced plans to fund up to one-third of the cost to update feasibility studies for high-speed rail service between Windsor, Ontario, and Quebec City, Quebec — a route currently used by VIA Rail Canada Inc.
The study would examine the environmental and business cases for providing the service, and assess opportunities for the private sector to participate in the line's development and implementation.
Remaining study costs will be funded jointly by the governments of Ontario and Quebec City.
The Windsor-to-Quebec City corridor is VIA Rail's busiest, and the intercity passenger railroad recently posted a significant holiday ridership gain along the route.
Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 6, the agency carried 21,000 passengers, up 10.2 percent compared with ridership during the 2006/2007 holiday season. Officials attribute the increase to record snowfalls.
The most popular trains? Those running between Toronto and Ottawa, and between Montreal and Ottawa. Recent ridership increases on the Montreal-to-Ottawa trains have prompted VIA Rail to add a daily mid-day train in both directions between the cities beginning Jan. 14.
A New Year and New Ottawa-Montréal Trains
Additional daily mid-day departure gives travellers more options
MONTREAL, Jan. 14 /CNW/ - VIA Rail Canada today launched its new daily mid-day departure between Montréal and Ottawa in both directions.
The new departure will provide more convenient connections for customers travelling to/from Québec City. Travellers will be able to choose from six convenient departures for their weekday travel. The mid-day departure makes stops at Dorval and Alexandria, and includes a stop on request at Casselman.
The new mid-day departure features VIA's state-of-the-art Renaissance
equipment offering single and double seating throughout the train and a lounge car for VIA 1 customers. Electric plugs are available at every seat, including Comfort and VIA 1 class cars. Customers travelling on Renaissance equipment can also take advantage of the checked baggage service offered on all departures except - Saturday train 635 and Sunday train 634.
Until February 28, 2008, VIA Preference members can earn bonus points when including train 634/635 in their travel plans. For more information visit-
Via to upgrade 98 cars
$692 million. Phase 2 tenders part of rail operator's modernization plan
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 - The Gazette (Montreal)
Via Rail is forging ahead with Phase 2 of its $692-million federally funded modernization program by seeking tenders for the upgrade of its 98 LRC-type passenger cars used mainly in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor.
North American car specialists, including Bombardier Inc. and French-controlled Alstom Canada, can bid.
The four-year contract will be worth about $100 million, industry sources estimated. The cars are 25 years old and make up almost 25 per cent of Via's total fleet of 430 cars.
Phase One, a $101-million contract to rebuild the F-40 locomotive fleet, was awarded in December to Global Railway Industries Ltd.'s Lachine plant. Another $200 million will go to improve trackage, signalling and other infrastructure while the rest will support Via's operations until the program's benefits kick in.
The LRC cars will get new electrical, heating and air-conditioning systems and interiors. As well, they will use less energy and pollute less, CEO Paul Côté told the Canadian Club of Montreal.
"When the job's done in 2013, they'll be more reliable and meet modern comfort standards. Corridor ridership capacity will be up 32 per cent over 2007."
The $692-million program will let Via run its fleet more efficiently and provide more frequent service without adding new equipment, he said. "Rail offers the smartest and safest intercity travel alternative, as the Christmas storms proved."
Côté was reticent about the corridor's long-promised high-speed train, while welcoming another new study by the federal, Ontario and Quebec governments.
"Rail's potential has never been higher and we want to exploit it," he said.
Setting up the high-speed link as a separate public-private partnership "is one of many solutions being weighed," he added.
He also said Via is talking again with Canadian National Railway Co., owner of most of the trackage it uses. Historically, they have quarrelled bitterly over rent and freight train priorities.
Côté insists the benefits of Via's heavy investment must translate into better passenger train punctuality and more frequent service.
"It's a big challenge because CN's top priority is moving freight - that's what affects CN's stock, profit and sometimes bonuses."
He said expanding rail is a cost-effective way of improving the country's transportation system. Two rail lines can move 13 per cent more people an hour than six lanes of highway, using 40 per cent of the space, and other modes become less congested.
The five-year, $692-million investment program is over and above Ottawa's annual subsidy. In 2006, Ottawa covered Via's deficit of almost $200 million. The 2007 accounts will be tabled early in April.
The Gazette (Montreal)
VIA RAIL TO IMPROVE OTTAWA TO MONTREAL RAIL LINE:
As part of the Government of Canada's $692 million dollar investment to improve passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada announced today that it plans to invest more than $25 million on a multi-phase, multi-year program to modernize key parts of its rail infrastructure between Ottawa and Montréal. These improvements are part of VIA Rail's overall capital investment plan. In this first phase, upgrades to the Ottawa-Montréal line will include the addition of a .76-km long passing track (siding) approximately 16 kilometres east of Ottawa, near Carlsbad Springs, a project which will be carried out by PNR RailWorks Inc. The siding will be constructed with remote-controlled power switches tied into the existing Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) system and Rail Traffic Control (RTC) dispatch system. The siding will also be equipped with a back track (additional track adjacent to the siding) for the storage of maintenance equipment, when required. VIA will also be installing new continuously-welded rail and performing other associated track work over some 40 track-miles between Coteau, Québec and Moose Creek, Ontario. This work, which is expected to be completed within the next few months, will be carried out by Total Track. Some trains on the Montréal-Ottawa route may experience minor delays while this work is being completed. Additionally, structural rehabilitation of the bridge over the South Nation River in Casselman, a project which has been awarded to SEMA Railway Structures, will also be completed. Improvements to VIA's Ottawa station are also planned. VIA will be modernizing and improving the layout of the public washrooms, ticket office, baggage operations and Panorama (VIA 1) lounge. The lounge will also be enlarged to accommodate increased demand. As part of these renovations, VIA will be making both technological and environmental improvements to the station. The general contractor chosen for the project is Terlin Construction Ltd. of Ottawa. CSV Architects Inc. and Norr Ltd., also of Ottawa, will provide design and engineering support. Work on this project, worth some $500,000, will begin shortly and is expected to be completed by this fall. "These initiatives will improve comfort, speed, ride quality and reliability," said VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Côté. "They will also enhance overall safety, and increase scheduling flexibility and capacity for additional trains. Just as importantly", he noted, "a more efficient operation will also contribute to reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions." "The projects on VIA's Montréal-Ottawa route are part of the $692 million in new funding this government announced in 2007 as part of its commitment to providing Canadians with safe, reliable and sustainable passenger rail service. This funding will help VIA to continue providing an affordable and competitive option for inter-city travel - an especially important feature as we seek means to reduce harmful emissions from travel in this time of high energy costs," stated the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. For more information on VIA Rail, or to reserve a ticket, go to VIA's secure Web site at viarail.ca or call toll-free 1-888 VIA-Rail (1-888 842-7245) or 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired). As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally responsible and cost effective passenger transportation services, both in Canada's busiest corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country. Serving more than 450 communities with a network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains, demand for rail services continues to grow as more Canadians turn to train travel as a safe and convenient travel choice. (VIA Rail Canada - posted 7/31)
8/5/2008 First-Half Performance
VIA Rail raises passenger and revenue counts, lowers on-time performance in first half.
During 2008's first six months, VIA Rail Canada Inc. posted ridership and revenue gains of 9.8 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, compared with the same 2007 period.
The agency experienced the biggest passenger swing in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, where ridership rose 10.3 percent.
VIA Rail's customer satisfaction rating rose, too. According to passenger surveys conducted throughout the year's first half, 96.1 percent of passengers said the agency met or exceeded their expectations.
However, the railroad's on-time performance (OTP) wasn't quite up to par in the first half. Long delays caused by severe winter weather, freight traffic congestion, infrastructure repairs and equipment problems resulted in an OTP of 65 percent. VIA Rail has been working with freight railroads to reduce delays and improving infrastructure and rolling stock, and the OTP is heading up. In June, the performance metric stood at 85 percent.
BRIDGE REPAIR WORK FURTHER DELAYS RESUMPTION OF VIA'S NORMAL CHALEUR/OCEAN SERVICES:
VIA Rail Canada has been advised by the Matapédia and Gulf Railway that work to replace two bridges damaged by a wash-out near Pointe à la Croix, Québec (near Matapédia) and a derailment near Causapscal, Québec, is taking longer than initially expected. It is now estimated that this repair work will be completed by September 16th. Regular VIA service on the Chaleur and Ocean is not expected to resume before September 17. As a result of the two sections of track under repair along the Montréal to Gaspé route, VIA has replaced chartered busses for its Chaleur service, in both directions. Regarding VIA's Ocean service between Montréal and Halifax, VIA is arranging alternate transportation for customers holding tickets over the portions of the route where its trains are unable to operate, in both directions. Consequently, until normal services resume VIA will not be able to accept bicycles or pets on the Ocean or the Chaleur trains The Chaleur operates from Montréal to Gaspé every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and from Gaspé to Montréal every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. VIA wishes to apologize for any inconvenience caused by this disruption. Customers wishing further information may visit viarail.ca or call 1 888-VIA RAIL (842-7245) or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired). Further updates will be issued as required. (VIA Rail - posted 9/10)
9/25/2008 New Service
VIA Rail to introduce new 'Concierge' class on Canadian train
Next year, VIA Rail Canada Inc. will begin offering a new "Concierge Service" onboard its flagship Canadian train.
Available from June 1 to Oct. 21 on the Vancouver-to-Jasper route — one of the railroad's most popular overnight trains — the service will feature enhanced room service, breakfast in bed, complimentary beverages, upgraded toiletries, wine, flowers and a gift basket.
Passengers will stay in two double bedrooms converted into one large room with two wash areas and a queen-size bed. They also will have access to some of the amenities offered on the Canadian's Silver & Blue Class, including regional cuisine and wines, exclusive access to Park Car lounges and an observation dome.
VIA'S FLAGSHIP CANADIAN MOVES TO A NEW SCHEDULE:
In two short weeks, on December 2, 2008, VIA's flagship western transcontinental Canadian will depart at a new time. A new evening departure time from both Vancouver and Toronto will enable passengers to make connections in Toronto to/from eastern Canada, as well as provide customers with more daylight viewing through the Rockies. The cross-country journey will move from a three-day, three-night trip to a three-day, four-night schedule. It will also include additional time at select enroute stations where the opportunity for brief city tours is possible. "The redesign of the Canadian's schedule was undertaken with our customers in mind," said VIA's Chief Customer Officer, Steve Del Bosco. "We want to provide the best total travel experience for our customers, from the service in our stations and on board, to the overall on-time operation of the train itself. This new schedule addresses not only the needs of our customers but tour operators as well." (VIA Rail Canada - posted 11/18)
To better meet your needs, we'll soon be making minor changes to some of our train schedules.
Unless otherwise specified, most of these changes are permanent and take effect on December 1, 2008.
To find out if these changes affect you, please read over the following details. Or you can view the new schedules and compare them to previous ones.
New stop in Trenton Junction on the Toronto-Montréal route
We have also adjusted some departure times on our most popular route to get travellers to Toronto a little earlier.
Train 68 (Toronto-Montréal), which leaves Toronto at 6:35 p.m. will now make a stop in Trenton Junction at 8:20 p.m. before arriving in Montréal at 11:58 p.m.
Early bird Train 53 (Montréal-Toronto) will leave from Montréal ten minutes earlier at 6:35 a.m., and consequently arrive in Toronto at 11:27 a.m.
Every day, Train 69 (Montréal-Toronto) will depart 15 minutes earlier, pulling away from the station at 6:05 p.m. and arriving in Toronto at 11:26 p.m.
Changes to two departure times between Toronto-Sarnia
Previously departing daily at 6:55 a.m., Train 84 (Sarnia-Toronto) will now be leaving 25 minutes earlier at 6:30 a.m. and arrive at 10:40 a.m.
Sarnia-bound Train 85 will leave Toronto ten minutes later at 11:00 a.m. and arrive at destination by 3:03 p.m.
Toronto-Ottawa: Earlier departures
Train 45, which previously departed daily from Ottawa at 12:35 p.m, will now leave the station ten minutes earlier at 12:25 p.m. This Train will arrive in Union Station at 5:06 p.m.
Train 44 (Toronto-Ottawa) will also be departing ten minutes earlier at 12:10 p.m. The revised arrival time in the nation’s capital is 4:31 p.m.
Finally, Train 641, a Saturday-only departure in the direction of Toronto, will now leave 15 minutes earlier at 6:45 a.m. Early birds will thus arrive at destination at 11:18 a.m.
Revised departure times on Montréal-Ottawa route
Every Monday through Friday, Train 31 (Montréal-Ottawa) will leave the station ten minutes later at 6:45 a.m., rather than 6:35 a.m. Arrival time is thus revised to 8:37 a.m.
Train 39, the last departure of the day, will now be pulling away from Central Station ten minutes later at 6:15 p.m. before arriving in Ottawa at 8:11 p.m.
Two new departure times between Toronto-Windsor
Previously departing from Windsor daily at 5:55 a.m., Train 70 will now leave ten minutes earlier at 5:45 a.m., arriving in Union station at 10:06 a.m.
Similarly, Train 72 will also be departing for Toronto ten minutes earlier at 9:55 a.m., rather than 10:05 a.m. The new arrival time is 1:55 p.m.
Major changes on the Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver) route!
Although departure days from both cities have not changed, departure times have been pushed back to evenings and one night of travel has been added to the trip.
Departing from Toronto on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Train 1 will now be leaving Union Station at 10:00 p.m., rather than the previous time of 9:00 a.m. Arrival time in Vancouver is thus four days later at 9:42 a.m.
Train 2, which departs from Vancouver on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, previously departed at 5:30 p.m. This Train will now leave at 8:30 p.m. and arrive in Toronto four days later at 9:30 a.m
VIA TO JASPER
Friday, 12 December 2008
VIA Rai, Canada’s government-owned intercity passenger train operator, has announced that its popular Snow Train to Jasper in the Rocky mountains is returning for a third season. Featuring VIA's Panorama all-dome coaches, cars, the service will operate from 6 February 2009 to 12 April. ‘’Snow board and ski enthusiasts will want to consult the on-board Marmot ambassador to arrange for the purchase of lift tickets, lessons and rental equipment. The one-stop shopping allows travellers to make the most of their time in Jasper’’ Located in magnificent Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin offers 1675 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain and 84 trails for skiers of all levels. There's no better way to relax and enjoy an incredible journey through the Canadian Rockies than with VIA Rail.’’
An Improved Rail System
Inter-city passenger rail service is an important mode of
transportation in a number of markets in Canada, including in the busy
Québec City to Windsor corridor, and for remote locations. Most
inter-city passenger rail services are provided by VIA Rail Canada. In
2007, the Government provided $517 million for a medium-term
investment plan to address the reliability and integrity of VIA Rail
Budget 2009 builds on this investment by providing an additional $407
million on a cash basis to VIA Rail Canada to undertake infrastructure
and other capital improvements. Particular emphasis will be placed on
adding sections of triple-track at key locations between Montréal and
Toronto to permit higher train frequencies and to enhance on-time
performance and trip times. For example, these investments will
support two additional express trains per day between Montréal and
Toronto and reduce trip times by up to 30 minutes, thereby making it
possible to travel between these major metropolitan centres in
approximately four hours. Trip times between Ottawa and Toronto will
also be reduced by up to 30 minutes. Funding will also be used to
modernize VIA Rail Canada's fleet of locomotives and passenger cars,
and to upgrade key stations in Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Hamilton,
Belleville and Windsor.
The Government of Canada also supports a number of remote passenger
rail services that are operated by entities other than VIA Rail
Canada. Budget 2009 invests $7.9 million for new capital projects of
two First Nations railways: the Keewatin Railway Company in Manitoba
and Tshiuetin Rail Transportation in Quebec and Labrador.
These railways provide rail services to communities that do not have
year-round access to roads. The projects will start in 2009 and
include track replacements and repairs as well as the acquisition of
new locomotives and rail cars.
Budget 2009 provides $44 million over five years to Transport Canada
for rail safety initiatives to enhance its regulatory oversight and
enforcement capacity, and conduct research and development projects to
advance new safety technologies. Budget 2009 also invests $28 million
over five years to enhance the Grade Crossing Improvement Program,
which will help save lives by improving safety at public grade
crossings across Canada.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND VIA RAIL COMPLETE RAIL UPGRADES:
Major improvements to passenger rail service in the Ottawa area will make VIA Rail Canada faster and more reliable for passengers. Canada's Transport Minister John Baird, Donald A. Wright, Chairman of the Board at VIA Rail Canada, and President and CEO Paul Côté, announced over $13 million of improvements are now complete. "The Government of Canada is taking action to provide faster, more frequent and reliable passenger rail service, which is vital in serving some 450 communities across Canada," said Minister Baird. "Today's announcement is another example of government investments that will benefit Canadians by providing jobs to build and improve VIA Rail." This investment supplements the $516 million announced for VIA Rail in 2007 for capital requirements. This second phase of the revitalization plan will help VIA Rail consolidate previous investments and continue renewing its assets while securing VIA's plans for continued growth. "I applaud the Government of Canada for its recognition of the potential of passenger rail through additional investments in VIA's network," said Mr. Wright. "It is in this spirit that we have planned for the wisest possible use of these funds." Improvements in the Ottawa region include upgrades so far on VIA's network include a $12.5 million investment in the Alexandria Subdivision, between Ottawa and Montreal as well as similar improvements currently underway on the Smiths Falls Subdivision between Toronto and Ottawa. In addition, major renovations worth some $500,000 were made to the Ottawa station, which will allow VIA to serve customers more efficiently and will address operational and safety needs. About VIA Rail (VIA Rail Canada - posted 3/17)
VIA Rail’s Departure and Arrival Times now Online at viarail.ca
Follow the Status of Québec – Windsor Corridor Trains
MONTRÉAL – VIA Rail Canada is pleased to announce that the arrival and departure times for all Québec City – Windsor Corridor trains are now available online at viarail.ca. Customers can access the real-time status of any Corridor train, giving them the most accurate and up-to-date information about the expected arrival time at their final destination. With the scheduled, estimated and actual departure/arrival times updated online, VIA’s customers will always be kept in the know.
Forget about guesswork – travel planning just got easier! With real-time travel updates, customers can easily organize their travel plans from start to finish. Plus, family and friends waiting to meet VIA passengers at stations en route will now have more accurate information about when a train is scheduled to arrive.
In addition to the continually updated arrival time for the train’s final destination, VIA’s easy to follow online timetable also provides customers with the scheduled and estimated departure/arrival times for each station stop en route, making it possible for customers to follow the status of any Corridor train from its departure right through to its final destination.
VIA anticipates offering this same service for its trains in Atlantic and Western Canada as a future enhancement. VIA is also in the process of developing a mobile version of this service, which will be accessible by smartphones.
Customers wishing to book tickets or check the status of a train can visit VIA’s website at viarail.ca. Train tickets are also available at VIA stations across Canada, including self-service ticketing kiosks located at major stations in central Canada. Passengers can also book their tickets by calling 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245), TTY 1800 268-9503 (hearing impaired), or contact their travel agent.
To better meet your needs, we’ll soon be making minor changes to some of our train schedules. Unless otherwise specified, most of these changes are permanent and take effect on May 1, 2009.
To find out if these changes affect you, please read the following details, or view the new schedules and compare them to previous ones.
Train 52 (Toronto-Montréal) now runs Monday through Saturday, departing from Toronto 10 minutes later at 7:05 a.m. before arriving in Montréal at 12:33 p.m. Previously, Train 52 only operated Monday through Friday.
Train 652 (Toronto-Montréal), which departed from Toronto on Saturdays at 7:25 a.m., has been replaced with Train 52 (see above).
Departing Monday through Saturday, Train 53 (Montréal-Toronto) will now pull out of the station five minutes earlier at 6:30 a.m. and thus arrive at Toronto’s Union Station at 11:29 a.m.
The last departure of the day, Train 650 (Toronto-Kingston) will now leave from Toronto 30 minutes later at 10:30 p.m. and arrive in Kingston at 12:58 a.m.
Train 40 (Toronto-Ottawa) now runs Monday through Saturday, departing from Toronto 10 minutes later at 7:05 a.m. before arriving in the nation’s capital at 12:00 p.m. Previously, Train 40 only operated Monday through Friday.
Train 640 (Toronto-Ottawa), which departed from Toronto on Saturdays at 7:25 a.m., has been replaced with Train 40 (see above).
Previously departing daily at 3:30 p.m., Train 46 (Toronto-Ottawa) will now be leaving five minutes later at 3:35 p.m. and thus arrive in Ottawa at 8:11 p.m.
In the opposite direction, Train 45 (Ottawa-Toronto) will now be leaving five minutes earlier at 12:20 p.m. and arrive in Union Station at the revised time of 5:08 p.m.
Also, Train 643 (Ottawa-Toronto), which departs Ottawa at 8:50 a.m., will now be making a stop in Oshawa at 1:00 p.m. before arriving at 1:35 p.m.
Finally, please note that the following trains will no longer allow new travellers to board at Oshawa station; as of May 1, 2009, these Ottawa-Toronto departures will only stop at Oshawa to let travellers disembark:
Departing Ottawa Stop in Oshawa Arriving in Toronto
Train 47 5:00 p.m. 9:01 p.m. 9:34 p.m.
Train 49 6:15 p.m. 10:21 p.m. 11:02 p.m.
Train 34 (Ottawa-Montréal), which previously departed at 3:15 p.m. Sunday through Friday, will now leave the station 20 minutes earlier at 2:55 p.m. This train will arrive in Central Station at 4:52 p.m.
Also, the daily departure of Train 634 (Ottawa-Montréal) has been pushed back 20 minutes to 1:05 p.m. The revised arrival time in Montréal is 3:02 p.m.
Every Saturday and Sunday, Train 638 (Ottawa-Montréal) will depart the nation’s capital five minutes earlier at 5:55 p.m. and thus arrive in Montréal at 7:52 p.m.
Previously, Train 31 (Montréal-Ottawa) departed Monday through Friday at 6:45 a.m. As of May 1, 2009, this train will now leave five minutes earlier at 6:40 a.m. and arrive in Ottawa at 8:36 a.m.
An afternoon train departing Sunday through Friday, Train 35 (Montréal-Ottawa) will now leave 15 minutes earlier at 3:00 p.m. The revised arrival time is 5:01 p.m.
Finally, Train 635 (Montréal-Ottawa) will now leave for Ottawa 20 minutes later at 1:10 p.m. and arrive at 3:16 p.m.
Train 22 (Montréal-Québec City) now operates daily, departing from Montréal five minutes later at 1:00 p.m. before arriving in Québec’s capital at 4:23 p.m. Previously, Train 22 only ran Sunday through Friday.
Train 622 (Montréal-Québec City), which departed from Montréal on Saturdays at 1:30 p.m., has been replaced with Train 22 (see above).
Departing from Québec City daily, Train 25 (Québec City-Montréal) will now be pulling away from the station 15 minutes earlier at 12:45 p.m. before arriving at 4:07 p.m.
Also, Train 27 (Québec City-Montréal) will depart for Montréal five minutes later at 5:40 p.m. The newly revised arrival time for this daily train is 9:20 p.m.
Trains in south-western Ontario
Now running Monday through Saturday, Train 740 (Aldershot-Toronto) departs Aldershot at 6:00 a.m. and arrives at Union Station at 6:36 a.m.
Train 752 (Aldershot-Toronto), which departed from Aldershot Saturdays at 6:25 a.m., has been replaced with Train 740 (see above).
Operating daily, Train 78 (Windsor-Toronto) is now departing for Union Station five minutes earlier at 5:55 p.m. Passengers will thus arrive at 10:19 p.m.
Departing Monday through Friday, Train 86 (Sarnia-Toronto) will now be leaving five minutes earlier at 5:20 a.m. The new arrival time is 8:27 a.m.
Similarly, Train 82 (London-Toronto) will also be departing for Toronto five minutes earlier at 6:20 a.m. The revised arrival time for this early weekday train is 8:25 a.m.
Train 90 (Niagara Falls-Toronto) will now be leaving one of Canada’s most popular destinations 10 minutes earlier at 6:30 a.m. Early risers will get to Toronto at 8:35 a.m.
New trains added between June 25 and September 21, 2009!
Travel days Departure from Toronto Arrival at Niagara Falls
Train 93 Thursday through Monday 11:00 a.m. 1:01 p.m.
Travel days Departure from Niagara Falls Arrival at Toronto
Train 94 Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays 2:15 p.m. 4:10 p.m.
Train 694 Saturdays, Sundays 11:30 a.m. 1:25 p.m.
Please note that the name of the Trenton Junction station has now been changed to Trenton Junction (Quinte West).
VIA RAIL HOSTS HALIFAX STATION OPEN HOUSE:
For a second consecutive year, VIA Rail Canada is pleased to welcome school groups, families, and rail fans alike to an open house event in its Halifax Station. The theme of the event is rail safety. VIA's Halifax Station will be open to the public on May 5 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. VIA employees will offer tours of the station and VIA's train equipment. The station will also play host to a full gamut of local emergency services and other organizations with an interest in safety. Visitors will have an opportunity to visit a train, chat with safety experts and rail enthusiasts, view model train displays (H.O. & Z. gauge lay-outs), listen to presentations by Operation Lifesaver, learn about the history of the Nova Scotia Railway and much more. Entries in the Rail Safety poster contest by area school children will also be on display. (VIA Rail Canada - posted 4/28)
Contractor to restore 98 VIA Rail coaches
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Published: Monday, May 04, 2009
MONCTON, N.B. - VIA Rail Canada has hired Industrial Rail Services Inc. to overhaul 119 of its coaches, worth more than C$100 million. The funds will come from Canada's economic stimulus bill, which passed early this year [see "Passenger," TRAINS, June 2009.]
The overhauls represent nearly one-quarter of VIA's total fleet. Overhauled under the plan will be the railroad's "Light, Rapid, and Comfortable," or LRC, fleet, in service in the Toronto-Montreal corridor. According to VIA, the rehabilitation will renew the cars for another 20 years of service, and will reduce the energy required to pull them.
Twenty-one Renaissance cars will also be modified under the contract to meet requirements for accessibility to the disabled.
VIA RAIL CANADA RELEASES 2008 ANNUAL REPORT - RIDERSHIP UP AND REVENUES U
According to VIA's Annual Report for 2008, the company carried 4.6 million passengers last year, ten percent more than in the previous year, and increased passenger revenues by more than $14 million. VIA's performance in 2008 reflects a clear trend for Canadian passenger rail over the past five years. Annual ridership has increased by almost 800,000 passengers since 2004, and annual revenues are up by more than $40 million over the same period. VIA President and CEO Paul Côté attributed the growth to VIA's customer-focused business strategy. "Train travel is the most dependable, environmentally sustainable, all-weather mode of transportation available," Mr. Côté said. "We offer good value, stress-free transportation with a high level of comfort, and we focus everything we do on delivering the kind of customer service that sets us apart in the marketplace." VIA's customer focus helped the corporation earn widespread recognition in 2008, including the Agents' Choice award from travel agents, two awards from the Railway Association of Canada, recognition from the Society of International Railway Travelers, and awards for innovation in product design and marketing. The annual report also notes a significant jump in VIA's standing in both national and regional corporate reputation surveys. The report also details steps the corporation is taking to maintain and improve its equipment and infrastructure, to ensure that passenger rail continues to deliver reliable service in the future. Under the five-year, $516 million capital investment program announced by the Government of Canada in the fall of 2007, as well as the $407 million in stimulus funding announced by the government in its 2009 budget, VIA has undertaken major projects to rebuild its aging fleet of locomotives and passenger cars, modernize passenger stations and information technology, and upgrade VIA-owned track and infrastructure. Negotiations have also progressed with the freight railways to upgrade shared infrastructure and eliminate traffic bottlenecks, which will improve on-time performance and allow VIA to offer faster, more frequent service in the busy Quebec City-Windsor corridor. Commenting on VIA's future outlook, Mr. Côté said that all transportation companies are facing serious challenges in the current marketplace. "While 2009 will not be a growth year like 2008 was, passenger rail is nonetheless in a strong position to meet these challenges," he added. "It is the right service for the times, a competitive, attractive service offering good value to customers, with advantages that cannot be duplicated by other modes of transportation. We are confident that our focus on excellent customer service, along with products and pricing strategies geared to the market, will continue to attract new customers to the train." As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada provides efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost effective transportation services to more than 450 communities, with a network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional remote trains operating across the country. A copy of the report can be found online at http://www.viarail.ca. (VIA Rail Canada - posted 5/06)
IRSI awarded VIA Rail refurbishment contracts
12 May 2009
CANADA: Industrial Rail Services Inc has been awarded contracts for the overhaul of VIA Rail Canada's 98 LRC coaches and accessibility improvements to 12 Renaissance cars. The work will be undertaken at IRSI's plant in Moncton, New Brunswick, supported through the government's Economic Action Plan to create skilled jobs and stimulate the economy.
A C$98·9m contract covers upgrading the Light Rapid & Comfortable fleet introduced on Québec - Windsor services from 1981.
Although designed for 20-year life, they remain structurally sound and the overhaul will provide a further 20 years of service. VIA Rail said no suitable replacement inter-city vehicle is available for purchase, and a new design 'would take up to four years, require extensive testing and debugging, and cost about C$4-5m per car.'
The overhaul will cut the cars' energy use by 20%, with the installation of LED lighting, nickel cadmium batteries, replacement of obsolete electrical equipment and the fitting of 'smart' heating and air-conditioning incorporating water-based cleaning.
The seats will be reupholstered, with leather in the 26 business class cars. Accessible toilets will be fitted to 26 cars, along with flip-up arm rests for easier access and tactile seat numbers for the visually impaired. The cars will be returned to service from May 2010 to December 2013.
A further C$5·8m contract covers work on 21 of the 106 Renaissance coaches used on Québec - Toronto and Montréal - Halifax services.
Nine economy class cars will have seven seats removed to create an accessible toilet, and nine baggage cars will get larger mid-car doors for more efficient luggage handling. Three sleeping cars for overnight Ocean services will have two cabins combined and re-oriented to eliminate a 90° turn currently required to gain access. The modified coaches will be returned to VIA Rail between December 2009 and December 2011.
Perhaps stating what many in the passenger railroad business would consider obvious, Canada’s Department of Finance has labelled VIA Rail as "not self-sustaining," grouping VIA Rail with eight other entities that could be sold as part of the government's asset review.
Ottawa last November said it would conduct a review of Crown assets, and government documents publicized since then suggest the government would consider privatizing VIA Rail and at least eight corporations requiring federal financial assistance. The move is part of a government effort to rein in Canada’s deficit, expected to surpass C$50 billion (US$46 billion) this year. Asset sales are projected to raise as much as C$4 billion (US$3.7 billion).
Under the Financial Administration Act, Parliament would have to approve the privatization of any Crown corporation, and such passage is not assured, observers said.
A Finance Department spokeswoman said the asset review won't necessarily lead to sales in all cases.
OTTAWA — The head of Canada’s national passenger rail service says that the Crown corporation is ready to make a fast start on high speed rail service and is prepared to be a key player in any new project introduced by the federal government.
Via Rail Canada President and CEO Paul Côté said that ridership and operations have improved consistently over the past two decades, creating a base for a more advanced system. In the meantime, he said, new capital investments of almost $1 billion announced in 2007 are opening the door to faster service.
“The current investment of $900 million that the government has allowed us to do will help to continue to build that foundation, because that is the key, when the high speed systems comes into play, if the government goes ahead,” said Côté who appeared last week at parliamentary hearings about high speed rail. “The ridership of the franchise needs to be built to achieve that.”
Côté told the House of Commons Transport committee that the corporation has increased its ridership by 33 per cent and its revenues by 110 per cent since 1990 because of improvements to service and infrastructure.
“I can assure you that the people at Via Rail have the competence, the expertise and the motivation (to become a partner in a high speed rail project),” said Côté. “If we are allowed to do this and if the context permits, Via Rail will be able to show its expertise, quality and experience developed over all the years.”
Côté also said he welcomes U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of billions in new spending under a plan that is exploring nearly a dozen high-speed corridors in the U.S., including regions that would reach Montreal, Vancouver, Windsor and possibly Buffalo, near Toronto. He acknowledged, however, that Obama’s approach is different approach from that of federal and provincial governments in Canada.
The provincial governments in Quebec and Ontario, along with the federal government, are updating a 1995 study on high speed rail that estimated a line between Quebec City and Windsor could be built over 10 years at a cost of about $18 billion. A private consortium of firms is leading the study in consultation with representatives from the three governments and is expected to make recommendations in 2010.
“I know that there is some impatience that some people would like it to be faster,” Côté said. “But that’s the way the governments decided to go. So we will offer our assistance to make it happen and at the end we will have a very well documented storyline for high speed rail.”
Via Rail had developed a $3 to $4 billion plan several years ago to introduce an improved service with trains going at up to 200 km/h in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. The plan could have been implemented following an announcement of new infrastructure spending in the fall of 2003 by former prime minister Jean Chretien’s Liberal government. But former prime minister Paul Martin cancelled the spending, closing the door on a project which already had support from other partners such as CN and CP Rail.
Under its current plan, Via Rail will continue to use trains that can go up to 160 km/h on the Quebec City-Windsor corridor but which often face delays since they share tracks with freight trains that have priority.
An Alberta-based research institute said that a high-speed train between Calgary and Edmonton also could have a profound impact in that region.
“I think the important thing about the high-speed rail, and the interesting thing about it, is that it would fundamentally change that corridor,” said Teresa Watts, an associate from the Van Horne Institute, at the parliamentary hearings last week. “It would change it from a corridor with two centres that at one time were competing into a complement of one million people, effectively shrinking distance because of that link, to a unit of three million people. I think that it has to be linked to a broader vision of economic development. It’s not simply a transportation solution, but it is a provincial shaper of that corridor, which has been such a juggernaut of growth over the last decade.”
The Alberta government commissioned a feasibility study on the project that was due nearly two years ago, but it has not made it public.
Published: Tuesday, July 07, 2009
MONTREAL - VIA Rail Canada has renamed several of its trains, and re-branded its service classes, in an effort to clarify what each is. Train names slated for retirement are the Chaleur, Hudson Bay, and Skeena.
The trains being renamed will now simply be known by their origins and destinations. For example, the Chaleur, which runs from Montreal to Gaspe, Que., is now called "the Montreal-Gaspe train." The Hudson Bay, which runs from Winnipeg to Churchill, Man., is now called "the Winnipeg-Churchill train." Likewise, the Jasper, Alta.-Prince Rupert, B.C., Skeena, is now "the Jasper-Prince Rupert train."
In the service class department, VIA's changes mainly apply to trains in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor. The railroad now refers to economy class instead of comfort class, and business class for its premium-class trains with complimentary meals and wide seats.
The flagship Canadian and Ocean trains will retain their names, but premier sleeping accommodations names will change to sleeper touring class. That's a change from silver blue class on the Canadian and easterly class on the Ocean.
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