TORONTO — VIA Rail Canada is reporting a successful return to service in the third quarter of 2022, with over one million passengers travelling aboard.
In Q3, a total of 1,080 million passengers travelled on VIA Rail, compared to 535,300 in the summer of 2021. Passenger revenues also increased by $70.9 million compared to Q3 2021. However, while VIA Rail has expanded capacity on its train compared to the same period in 2021, it is still not operating at pre-pandemic levels.
“Our third quarter results show that after two years of pandemic, people were eager to travel again this summer and we are delighted that more than a million of them chose to travel by train,” said Martin R. Landry, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. “The steady increase in ridership and revenues is a positive sign, and we will focus all our efforts on continuing to put our passengers first and be a smarter way to move people as we work towards carrying this positive trend into the fall.”
The Q3 results come on the heels of VIA’s largest marketing initiative of the year, with the September launch of the new fall 2022 campaign entitled “Nothing Moves You Like VIA!”
THE NEW FLEET
VIA Rail reached more key milestones in the progress of its fleet replacement program for the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor in Q3, 2022, including the arrival of the second of 32 train sets at the Montreal Maintenance Centre and the inauguration of the new fleet’s state-of-the-art simulator at the Transportation Training Centre in Toronto.
Slated to be among the most accessible in the world, these new trains were tested for accessibility in August by VIA rail’s teams. More milestones are expected in the next few months in anticipation of the entry into service scheduled for this month.
In August, as part of its five-year sustainability plan, VIA Rail launched a Supplier Conduct and Responsible Sourcing Policy, reinforcing the basic standards of conduct that the company expects from its suppliers and allowing for the integration of sustainability criteria into certain contracts for products and services it purchases.
ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING
Also in August, VIA Rail reported to Canadians on its performance, financial results, and modernization projects for 2021 in a video recorded aboard the first train of the new Corridor fleet at the Montreal Maintenance Centre. The Annual Public Meeting generated more than 400 questions from VIA Rail passengers. The top three questions related to specific service resumption in various communities, onboard services, and VIA Rail’s modernization, sustainability, and accessibility plans.
With the safety of passengers and employees in mind, and based on the results of a third party engineering report, VIA Rail has added buffer cars to the front and back of all trains running with stainless steel (HEP) equipment. The addition of these cars has contributed to limitations of equipment availability, which has required VIA Rail to continue operating at a reduced capacity.
VIA Rail’s 2022 third quarter report is available here.