Via Rail carries 4.4 million passengers in 2017, largest growth in a decade

MONTREAL — Via Rail had its best performance in a decade during Canada’s sesquicentennial year, increasing its ridership by more than 10 per cent to 4.4 million passengers, the passenger railway said Monday.

The Crown corporation said revenues grew 12.8 per cent in 2017 over the prior year to reach $365.7 million.

The results were driven by an 11 per cent increase to 4.1 million passengers transported on the core Quebec City to Windsor, Ont., corridor.

Capacity on the route was up 5.3 per cent to meet higher demand, resulting in a 14 per cent growth in revenues.

Demand increased with the addition of year-round service, new stops and additional departures to the Ocean train over the holiday season.

The Canadian, travelling between Toronto and Vancouver, carried almost 105,000 passengers — 12.6 per cent more than the prior year as revenues increased 16.8 per cent.

The Ocean, which links Montreal and Halifax, was up just 1.5 per cent to 78,763 passengers, while revenues grew 5.2 per cent.

Via Rail president and chief executive officer Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said 2017 was a record-breaking year.

“We expect no less of 2018 as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation of Via Rail as a Crown Corporation dedicated to passenger rail service,” he said in a statement.

The railway spent $40 million on 60 capital projects last year at its maintenance centres.

It posted an operating loss of $265.3 million, down from $267.5 million in 2016.

Government funding was $353.7 million, including $265.3 million for operations and $88.4 million for capital.

Its net profit increased 55 per cent to $12.9 million, up from $8.3 million a year earlier, according to its annual report.

Via is in the process of buying 32 new trains that will run along the Quebec City to Windsor corridor starting in 2022.

Via Rail has declined to put an estimate on the required funding to replace its fleet but published reports have pegged the amount at up to $1.5 billion.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Lee seeks UCP nomination in Red Deer

Eyes Red Deer-North constituency

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Red Deer city council considers new business licence bylaw

All businesses operating in the City of Red Deer will require a… Continue reading

Saskatchewan farmer’s death triggers emotional harvest of love and respect

MILESTONE, Sask. — Volunteers have rallied to harvest the large wheat crop… Continue reading

Councillors want to represent Red Deer at AUMA

City council approves endorsement

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

TORONTO — A consortium led by Air Canada has reached a deal… Continue reading

Scheer going to India to ‘repair’ relationship after ‘disastrous’ Trudeau trip

OTTAWA — Six months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy prowess… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month