VIA Rail

VIA Rail

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Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 services in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie
Place Ville-Marie
1 Place Ville-Marie , formerly Royal Bank Tower taken from its anchor tenant, is a with 47-storey, cruciform office tower built in the International style in 1962, arguably the most distinctive building in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was built in the 1960s as the headquarters of the Royal Bank of...

 in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

.

Via Rail operates 480 trains in eight Canadian provinces
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 (exceptions are Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

 and Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

) over a network of 14000 kilometres (8,699.2 mi) of track, almost all of which is owned and operated by CN Rail
Canadian National Railway
The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

. Via carries approximately 4.3 million passengers annually, the majority on routes along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor.

Early Canadian intercity passenger rail



After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, two developments eventually proved disastrous to previously profitable passenger rail transport offered by Canadian National Railways (CNR), the Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

 (CPR), and smaller lines. Long-distance Canadian intercity passenger trains began to be replaced with air travel, and short- and middle-distance passenger trains lost mode share to personal automobiles on highways such as the Trans-Canada Highway
Trans-Canada Highway
The Trans-Canada Highway is a federal-provincial highway system that joins the ten provinces of Canada. It is, along with the Trans-Siberian Highway and Australia's Highway 1, one of the world's longest national highways, with the main route spanning 8,030 km...

. Critics of this shift point out that all these new services were subsidized by taxpayers, from construction of highways to construction of airports, making it difficult for rail to compete; opponents of rail point out that the construction of the railways themselves was similarly subsidized. (Canadian National and Canadian Pacific themselves contributed to the growth of air travel through Air Canada
Air Canada
Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

 and CP Air, which were the two largest airlines in Canada at one time.)

By the 1960s it was obvious to both Canadian National (CN) and CPR that passenger trains were no longer economically viable under traditional market manifestations. CPR sought to rid itself of the burden of operating passenger trains, but federal government regulators and politicians balked, forcing CPR to continue running a minimal service through the 1970s. CN on the other hand, being a Crown corporation, was encouraged by the federal government and political interests to invest in passenger trains. Innovative marketing schemes such as Red, White, and Blue fares, new equipment such as scenic dome car
Dome car
A dome car is a type of railway passenger car that has a glass dome on the top of the car where passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train. It also can include features of a coach, lounge car, dining car or observation...

s and rail diesel car
Budd Rail Diesel Car
The Budd Rail Diesel Car, RDC or Buddliner is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit railcar. In the period 1949–62, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States...

s, and services such as Rapido and Turbo
Turbo (train)
The UAC TurboTrain was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1984 and in the United States between 1968 and 1976...

 trains substantially increased ridership, reversing previous declines.

By the 1970s, CN sought to rid itself of passenger trains. The decline of passenger rail became a federal election issue in 1974 when the government of Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

 promised to implement a nation-wide carrier similar to Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The bilingual name Via or Via CN originated in 1976 as a marketing term for Canadian National's passenger train services and the Via logo began to appear on CN passenger locomotives and cars, while still carrying CN logos as well. That September, Via published a single timetable with information on both CN and CP trains, marking the first time that Canadians could find all major passenger trains in one publication. In 1977, CN underwent a dramatic restructuring when it placed various non-core freight railway activities into separate subsidiaries such as ferries under CN Marine
CN Marine
CN Marine was a Canadian ferry company headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick.-History:CN Marine was created by parent Canadian National Railway in 1977 as a means to group the company's ferry operations in eastern Canada into a separate operating division...

 and passenger trains under Via Rail which was subsequently renamed Via Rail Canada.

The formation of Via Rail Canada



On April 1, 1978, Canadian National's passenger subsidiary Via Rail became a separate Crown corporation, taking with it possession of former CN passenger cars and locomotives. Following several months of negotiation, on October 29, 1978, Via took over operation of CP passenger train services, and took possession of cars and locomotives. Passenger train services which were not included in the creation of Via Rail included those offered by BC Rail, Algoma Central Railway
Algoma Central Railway
The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

, Ontario Northland Railway
Ontario Northland Railway
The Ontario Northland Railway is a Canadian railway operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a provincial Crown agency of the government of Ontario....

, Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway
Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway
The Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway is a Canadian regional railway that stretches through the wilderness of northeastern Quebec and western Labrador. It connects Labrador City, Labrador, with the port of Sept-Îles, Quebec, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River...

, various urban commuter train services operated by CN and CP, and remaining CN passenger services in Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

. At this time, Via did not own any trackage and had to pay right-of-way fees to CN and CP, sometimes being the only user of rural branch lines.

Via initially had a tremendous variety of equipment, with much of it in need of replacement, and operated routes stretching from Sydney, Nova Scotia
Sydney, Nova Scotia
Sydney is a Canadian urban community in the province of Nova Scotia. It is situated on the east coast of Cape Breton Island and is administratively part of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality....

 to Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Prince Rupert is a port city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is the land, air, and water transportation hub of British Columbia's North Coast, and home to some 12,815 people .-History:...

 and north to Churchill, Manitoba
Churchill, Manitoba
Churchill is a town on the shore of Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. It is most famous for the many polar bears that move toward the shore from inland in the autumn, leading to the nickname "Polar Bear Capital of the World" that has helped its growing tourism industry.-History:A variety of nomadic...

. Over 150 scheduled trains per week were in operation, including transcontinental services, regional trains, and corridor services.

While Via is an independent federal Crown corporation mandated to operate as a business, it is hindered by the fact that it was created by an Order in Council of the Privy Council, and not from legislation passed by Parliament
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

. If Via were enabled by legislation, the company could be permitted to seek funding on the open money markets as other Crown corporations such as CN] have done in the past. It is largely for this reason that critics say Via is vulnerable to federal budget cuts and continues to answer first to its political masters, as opposed to the business decisions needed to ensure the viability of intercity passenger rail service.

First round of cuts


Increased ridership would not be Via's saviour. In 1981, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

's government endorsed Minister of Transport
Minister of Transport (Canada)
The Minister of Transport is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for overseeing the federal government's transportation regulatory and development department, Transport Canada...

 Jean-Luc Pépin
Jean-Luc Pépin
Jean-Luc Pépin, PC, CC was a Canadian academic, politician and Cabinet minister.Pepin was a political science professor at the University of Ottawa when he was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1963 election as a Liberal Member of Parliament from Quebec.From 1965 to 1972, he...

's plan which cut Via's budget, leading to a 40% reduction in the company's operations. Gone were frequently sold-out trains such as the Super Continental
Super Continental
The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

(which reduced Via to operating only one transcontinental train, The Canadian
The Canadian
The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1955 and 1978. It is currently operated as an Inter-city rail service by Via Rail Canada with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in...

) and the popular Atlantic, among others.
Via also sought to reduce its reliance on over 30-year-old second-hand equipment and placed a significant order with Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

 for new high-speed locomotives and cars which would be used in its corridor trains. The LRC
LRC (train)
LRC is a bilingual acronym for Light, Rapid, Comfortable or Léger, Rapide, et Confortable, the name of a series of lightweight diesel-powered passenger trains that were used on short- to medium-distance inter-city service in the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec...

 (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) locomotives and cars used advanced technology such as active tilt
Tilting train
A tilting train is a train that has a mechanism enabling increased speed on regular rail tracks. As a train rounds a curve at speed, objects inside the train experience centrifugal force. This can cause packages to slide about or seated passengers to feel squashed by the outboard armrest due to...

 to increase speed, but proved troublesome and took several years to work out problems (by 1990 only a handful of LRC locomotives remained in service which were subsequently retired by the arrival of the GE Genesis
GE Genesis
GE Genesis is a series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of General Electric...

 locomotives in 2001).

Restoration of service


The election of Brian Mulroney
Brian Mulroney
Martin Brian Mulroney, was the 18th Prime Minister of Canada from September 17, 1984, to June 25, 1993 and was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1983 to 1993. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by the introduction of major economic reforms, such as the Canada-U.S...

's government in 1984 brought a friend to Via, initially, when several of Mulroney's commitments included rescinding the Via cuts of 1981 by restoring the Super Continental
Super Continental
The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

(under pressure from his western caucus), and the Atlantic (under pressure from his eastern caucus and the then-Saint John
Saint John, New Brunswick
City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

 mayor Elsie Wayne
Elsie Wayne
Elsie Eleanore Wayne is a Canadian politician, and a former Progressive Conservative MP for Saint John.-Political career:In 1977, she was elected to the Saint John municipal council...

). Prime Minister Mulroney's government gave Via funding to refurbish some of its cars, and purchase new locomotives, this time a more reliable model from General Motors Diesel Division.

It was during this time on February 8, 1986, that Via's eastbound Super Continental collided with a CN freight train
Hinton train collision
The Hinton train collision was a railway accident that occurred on February 8, 1986. Twenty-three people were killed in a collision between a Canadian National Railway freight train and a Via Rail passenger train. It was the most lethal Canadian rail disaster since the Dugald accident of 1947...

 near Hinton, Alberta
Hinton, Alberta
Hinton is a town in west-central Alberta, Canada.It is located in Yellowhead County, northeast of Jasper and about west of Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, at the intersection of Yellowhead and Bighorn Highway, in the Athabasca River valley.-History:...

 as a result of the freight train crew missing a signal light. The resulting derailment killed 23 people and remains the worst accident in modern Canadian railway history in terms of loss of life.

Second round of cuts



By the late 1980s, inflation and other rising costs were taking their toll on federal budgets and in the Mulroney government's 1989 budget, Via again saw its budget slashed, surpassing even the 1981 cuts under Trudeau. Minister of Transport Benoît Bouchard
Benoît Bouchard
Benoît Bouchard, PC is a Canadian public official and former politician.After a career as a professor and teacher, Bouchard was elected to the Canadian House of Commons as the Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Roberval in the 1984 election...

 oversaw the reduction in service on January 15, 1990, when Via's operations were reduced by 55%.

Services such as the Super Continental
Super Continental
The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

were cut again, along with numerous disparate rural services such as in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

's Annapolis Valley
Annapolis Valley
The Annapolis Valley is a valley and region in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located in the western part of the Nova Scotia peninsula, formed by a trough between two parallel mountain ranges along the shore of the Bay of Fundy.-Geography:...

 and Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

, western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

, and in the corridor. The Canadian
The Canadian
The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1955 and 1978. It is currently operated as an Inter-city rail service by Via Rail Canada with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in...

was also moved from its 'home' rails on CP to the northerly CN route (which the Super Continental had used). The shift to the less-populated (and less scenic) route between Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 and Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 severed major western cities such as Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan
Regina is the capital city of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The city is the second-largest in the province and a cultural and commercial centre for southern Saskatchewan. It is governed by Regina City Council. Regina is the cathedral city of the Roman Catholic and Romanian Orthodox...

 and Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

 from the passenger rail network and flared western bitterness toward Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

.

The official justification for the rerouting was that the trains would serve more remote communities, but the concentration of ridings held by the Progressive Conservatives
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was a Canadian political party with a centre-right stance on economic issues and, after the 1970s, a centrist stance on social issues....

 along the CN route attracted the charge that the move was chiefly political. Harvie André
Harvie Andre
Harvie Andre, PC is a Canadian engineer and businessman and a former Canadian politician and federal Cabinet minister.Born in Edmonton, Alberta on July 27, 1940), Andre was educated at the University of Alberta and pursued part of his postgraduate studies at the California Institute of Technology...

, one of Alberta's federal cabinet ministers who represented Calgary, stated publicly that he did not care if he never saw a passenger train again in his life.

After these cuts, Via was a much smaller company and immediately took to rationalizing its fleet of cars and locomotives, resulting in a fleet of refurbished stainless steel (HEP-1 and HEP-2 rebuilds, for "head end power
Head end power
Head end power or electric train supply is a rail transport term for the electrical power distribution system on a passenger train. The power source, usually a locomotive at the front or “head” of a train or a generator car, generates all the electricity used for lighting, electrical and other...

") and LRC cars, as well as rationalizing its locomotive fleet with GM and Bombardier (LRC) units.

Third round of cuts


Via was not spared from further cutbacks in Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

's government elected in 1993. Minister of Finance Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC , also known as Paul Martin, Jr. is a Canadian politician who was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada, as well as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada....

's first budget in 1994 saw further Via cuts which saw the popular Atlantic dropped from the schedule, focusing the eastern transcontinental service on the Ocean.

This move was seen as somewhat controversial and politically motivated as the principal cities benefiting from the Atlantic's service were Sherbrooke, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 and Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick
City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

, where the only two Progressive Conservative Party
Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was a Canadian political party with a centre-right stance on economic issues and, after the 1970s, a centrist stance on social issues....

 Members of Parliament in Canada were elected in the 1993 federal election in which Chrétien's Liberal Party
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

 took power. The Ocean service which was preserved operates on trackage between Montreal and Halifax running through the lower St. Lawrence River valley and northern New Brunswick. The Minister of Transport in Chrétien's government at the time, Douglas Young, was elected from a district that included Bathurst, New Brunswick
Bathurst, New Brunswick
Bathurst is a Canadian city in Gloucester County, New Brunswick.Bathurst is situated on Bathurst Harbour, an estuary at the mouth of the Nepisiguit River at the southernmost part of Chaleur Bay....

, on the Ocean's route. A remote Via service to Quebec's Gaspé Peninsula
Gaspé Peninsula
The Gaspésie , or Gaspé Peninsula or the Gaspé, is a peninsula along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, extending into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence...

, the Chaleur
Chaleur (passenger train)
The Montreal – Gaspé train is a tri-weekly passenger train operated by Via Rail between Montreal and Gaspé, Quebec.- Schedule :The train leaves Montreal in the evening and arrives in Gaspé at about noon the following day...

was also spared from being cut at this time, despite having less ridership than the Atlantic.

Renaissance



By the late 1990s, amidst rising environmental concerns focusing on reducing dependence on automobiles and airplanes (see Kyoto Accord), and with a rail-friendly Minister of Transport David Collenette
David Collenette
David Michael Collenette, PC was a Canadian politician from 1974 to 2004, and a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. A graduate from York University's Glendon College in 1969, he subsequently received his MA from in 2004...

 in office, there were modest funding increases to Via. Corridor services were improved with new and faster trains, a weekly tourist train The Bras d'Or returned Via service to Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

 for the first time since the 1990 cuts, and a commitment was made to continue operating on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794...

, but western Canada continued to languish with the only service provided by the Canadian
The Canadian
The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1955 and 1978. It is currently operated as an Inter-city rail service by Via Rail Canada with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in...

and a few remote service trains in northern BC and Manitoba.

In a significant new funding program dubbed "Renaissance", a fleet of unused passenger cars which had been built for planned Nightstar
Nightstar (train)
The Nightstar was a proposed overnight sleeper service from various parts of Britain to continental Europe, via the Channel Tunnel. To run alongside the Eurostar and north of London day time Regional Eurostar services, the Nightstar was the last part in a round the clock passenger train...

 sleeper services between locations in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, via the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

, were purchased and adapted following the cancellation of the Nightstar project. The new "Renaissance" cars were swiftly nicknamed déplaisance ("displeasure") by French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

-speaking employees and customers, due to early problems adapting the equipment for Canadian use. Doors and toilets froze in cold Atlantic Canada temperatures, resulting in delays and service interruptions. New diesel-electric P42DC
GE Genesis
GE Genesis is a series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of General Electric...

 locomotives purchased from General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 allowed the withdrawal of older locomotives, including the remaining LRC locomotives. The LRC passenger cars were retained and continued to provide much of the Corridor service. This expansion to Via's fleet has permitted scheduling flexibility, particularly in the corridor. Additionally, many passenger stations have been remodelled into rider-friendly destinations, with several hosting co-located transit and regional bus hubs for various municipalities.

On October 24, 2003, federal Minister of Transport David Collenette announced $700 million in new funding over the next five years. This funding was far below the $3 billion needed to implement a high-speed rail proposal in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor
Quebec City-Windsor Corridor
Quebec City – Windsor Corridor is the most densely-populated and heavily-industrialized region of Canada. As its name suggests, it extends from Quebec City in the east to Windsor, Ontario in the west, spanning . With more than 18 million people, it contained 51% of the country's population and...

 nicknamed ViaFast
ViaFast
ViaFast was an abandoned passenger rail plan that would have cut Via Rail's trip times throughout the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. ViaFast did not propose true high-speed service throughout the service area, but a series of smaller upgrades to avoid known bottlenecks and provide improved...

, however the funding was intended to "provide for faster, more frequent and more reliable passenger service across Canada... [preserving] the option for higher speed rail, such as the Via Fast proposal" said Collenette. This new project was to be called "Renaissance II". Critics of "Renaissance II" noted that the majority of spending would take place in the corridor services and not add new trains or improved scheduling to Atlantic and Western Canada.

Fourth round of cuts


On December 18, 2003, Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 Paul Martin
Paul Martin
Paul Edgar Philippe Martin, PC , also known as Paul Martin, Jr. is a Canadian politician who was the 21st Prime Minister of Canada, as well as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada....

 announced a freeze in federal spending on all major capital projects, including Via's five-year $700 million capital investment 'Renaissance II' program announced just six weeks earlier by outgoing Prime Minister Chrétien's administration. Critics of Martin's cuts claimed that he was in a distinct conflict of interest as his family through Canada Steamship Lines
Canada Steamship Lines Inc.
Canada Steamship Lines is a Canadian shipping company with headquarters in Montreal, Quebec.-Beginnings:CSL had humble beginnings in Canada East in 1845, operating river boats on the St. Lawrence River in general commerce. Subsequent growth over the years was tied to expansion of the canal system...

 and various subsidiary and affiliated companies had once had a significant investment in the Voyageur Colonial Bus Lines
Voyageur Colonial Bus Lines
Voyageur Colonial Bus Lines, commonly called Voyageur Colonial or just Voyageur, is a Canadian intercity bus company that serves Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, primarily the cities of Montreal, Ottawa and Kingston...

, an intercity bus line in Quebec and eastern Ontario that is a key competitor of Via Rail.

Route cuts under the Martin government included the withdrawal of the seasonal Bras d'Or tourist train, which ran for the last time in September 2004, and the Montreal-Toronto overnight Enterprise
Enterprise (Via Rail train)
The Enterprise was a Via Rail train which operated overnight between Montreal and Toronto. Since the trip took only 5 hours, the train would stop en route, allowing the train's departure to be in the evening and its arrival in the morning. In 2002, the Enterprise was the first Via train to use the...

, which was discontinued in September 2005. The Sarnia–Chicago International was also discontinued in April 2004 by Amtrak. Via's portion of the route from Toronto-Sarnia remains in operation as Via was able to use their own equipment to operate the train.

Via's role in the 2004 sponsorship scandal



The federal Auditor General
Auditor General of Canada
The role of the Auditor General of Canada is to aid accountability by conducting independent audits of federal government operations. The Auditor General reports to the House of Commons, not to the government...

's report released publicly on February 10, 2004, showed what appeared to be a criminal misdirection of government funds intended for advertising to key Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

-based supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

. (See sponsorship scandal
Sponsorship scandal
The sponsorship scandal, "AdScam", "Sponsorship" or Sponsorgate, is a scandal that came as a result of a Canadian federal government "sponsorship program" in the province of Quebec and involving the Liberal Party of Canada, which was in power from 1993 to 2006...

.) Included in the Auditor General's report was the fact that Via Rail was used as one of several federal government departments, agencies, and Crown corporations to funnel these illicit funds. Forced to act on the Auditor General's report due to its political implications, Prime Minister Paul Martin's government suspended Via Rail President Marc LeFrançois
Marc LeFrançois
Marc LeFrançois is a Canadian business executive. He was the president of Via Rail until March 5, 2004, when he was fired in connection with the sponsorship scandal. He was a board member from 1997 to 2002, and replaced Rod Morrison as CEO of Via Rail in November 2000.-References:...

 on February 24, 2004, giving him an ultimatum of several days to defend himself against allegations in the report or face further disciplinary action.

Several days later, during LeFrançois's suspension, a former Via Rail marketing department employee, Myriam Bédard
Myriam Bédard
Myriam Bédard, MSC is a Canadian biathlete , winner of two Olympic gold medals.-Olympic career:Born in Neufchâtel, Quebec, Bédard learned marksmanship as a member of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets' 2772 cadet corps, which she joined at the age of 15, and participated in her first biathlon event at...

, claimed she was fired several years earlier when she questioned company billing practices in dealing with advertising companies. (According to CBC News, an arbitrator's report later concluded that Bédard had voluntarily left Via Rail.) She was publicly belittled by Via Rail Chief Executive Officer Jean Pelletier
Jean Pelletier
Jean Pelletier, was a Canadian politician, who served as the 37th mayor of Quebec City, Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's Office, and chairman of Via Rail...

 in national media on February 27, 2004. Pelletier retracted his statements but on March 1, 2004, Pelletier was fired. On March 5, 2004, after failing to adequately defend himself against the allegations in the Auditor General's report, LeFrançois was fired as well.

Increasing problems and reinstated funding


The reversal of funding in 2003 led to a backlog of deferred maintenance and left Via unable to replace or refurbish life-expired locomotives and rolling stock. Regardless, Via ridership increased from 3.8 million in 2005 to 4.1 million in 2006.

On October 11, 2007, Finance Minister
Finance minister
The finance minister is a cabinet position in a government.A minister of finance has many different jobs in a government. He or she helps form the government budget, stimulate the economy, and control finances...

 Jim Flaherty
Jim Flaherty
James Michael "Jim" Flaherty, PC, MP is Canada's Minister of Finance and he has also served as Ontario's Minister of Finance. From 1995 until 2005, he was the Member of Provincial Parliament for Whitby—Ajax, and a member of the Progressive Conservative Party caucus...

 announced federal government funding of $691.9 million over five years, of which $519 million is capital funding, and the remainder additional operating funding. The capital funding is earmarked to refurbish Via's fleet of 54 F40PH-2
EMD F40PH
-Amtrak NPCU Conversions:In later years, as Amtrak's F40PH fleet was being replaced by the newer GE Genesis-series locomotives, Amtrak converted a number of the retired units—generally ones with major mechanical problems limiting their value in the resale or lease marketplace—into "Non-Power...

 locomotives to meet new emissions standards and extend their service lives by 15–20 years, refurbish the interiors of the LRC coaches, reduce track capacity bottlenecks and speed restrictions in the Windsor-Quebec City Corridor, and make repairs to a number of stations across the network.

This announcement is similar in content to the previous Renaissance II package, and once again can be criticized for not including any new equipment or funding for services outside the Corridor. Shortly after this announcement was made, documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act
Access to Information Act
Access to Information Act or Information Act is a Canadian act providing the right of access to information under the control of a government institution...

 revealed that delays due to equipment failures had risen by 60% since the previous year. The company attributed this to problems with the aging F40 locomotive fleet.

On January 27, 2009, the Government of Canada announced in its 2009 Economic Action Plan that it would increase funding to Via by $407 million to support improvements to passenger rail services, including higher train frequencies and enhanced on-time performance and speed, particularly in the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor.

2009 strike


On July 21, 2009, Via Rail announced that its engineers would go on strike as of July 24 if no deal was reached by then, and began cancelling all trains in anticipation of strike. The strike officially began at midnight on July 24 after it became clear that no deal had been reached. Engineers had been without a contract since December 31, 2006. Full service was resumed on July 27, 2009.

Proposed 2010 strike


A strike by the Canadian Auto Workers
Canadian Auto Workers
The Canadian Auto Workers is one of Canada's largest and highest profile social unions. While rooted in Ontario's large auto plants of Windsor, Brampton, Oakville, St...

 union, representing around 2,200 employees, was planned to begin on 4 July 2010, but was called off after the union and Via reached a three-year contract.

Travelling on Via


Travel on Via varies by region as much as class. Many of Via's policies and protocols are the product of running a national train system with varying pressures and needs of different riders, communities, and contexts. The results are wide-ranging travel experiences depending on how far you are travelling and from where to where.

Canada-wide



  • Economy Class (formerly Comfort Class) — Economy class
    Economy class
    __FORCETOC__Economy class, also called coach class , steerage, or standard class, is the lowest class of seating in air travel, rail travel, and sometimes ferry or maritime travel....

     seating in the coach cars. Passengers are not always assigned specific seats, and are usually segregated into specific train cars according to passenger destination. Seats are reasonably comfortable, but on the LRC equipment some of them face backwards, in contrast to the traditional North American practice. Some seats also provide only a partial view out the window.


Most trains that operate on the "Corridor" offer free 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 access, and have AC outlets for laptop use. Via Rail was the first North American transportation service to offer Wi-Fi to its passengers in early 2006, and was one of the first in the world to do so. Via Rail is currently studying the implementation of a new wireless on-train broadband service capable of delivering high-speed Internet access, and plans to introduce it by the fall of 2010. During the transition to the new system, current on-board Wi-Fi connectivity is being improved with the use of the latest mobile network interfaces for all Internet communications, and the replacement and repair of any faulty components. Wi-Fi is also available to travellers in all classes of service who may benefit from complimentary Wi-Fi service in many Quebec City-Windsor corridor stations and in the exclusive pre-boarding Panorama lounges*:
  • Montreal (Dorval)*,
  • Ottawa (Fallowfield), Kingston*,
  • London*,
  • Montreal*,
  • Ottawa*,
  • Quebec City*,
  • Sainte-Foy,
  • Toronto*,
  • Windsor.


Complimentary Wi-Fi access is also available in the following stations throughout Via's network:
  • Edmonton,
  • Halifax,
  • Jasper,
  • Moncton,
  • Vancouver,
  • Winnipeg.


Snacks, beverages and sandwiches are sold cash and carry.
  • Business Class (formerly Via 1 class) — This is the first-class seating available on most trains in southern Quebec and southern Ontario. Business Class offers passengers individually reserved seats, more spacious seating with all seats facing the front of the train (except for two 4-seaters per car), window blinds, inclusive hot three-course meals complete with complementary wine and liqueurs, in-seat AC
    Alternating current
    In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

     power outlets and free Wi-Fi access. Business Class passengers are also granted priority boarding and access to the Panorama Lounges at major urban stations. They are also allowed on board the train before Economy Class passengers.

  • Sleeper (formerly known as Comfort Sleeper) — As a class provided to late night passengers on lengthy routes, the sleeper class provides berth sections and single, double and triple bedrooms which feature bunkbeds, electrical outlet, chairs and a private washroom. Each sleeper car (except in the case of Renaissance cars) is equipped with a public shower.

Route-specific


Class structure as of June 2009
  • Sleeper Touring Class – Available on The Canadian and The Ocean. Sleeper Touring class is the name being used by Via Rail for what was previously "Silver and Blue" class on The Canadian, and "Easterly" class on The Ocean. The descriptions of the class in each case are consistent with the descriptions of the previous class structure (see below). These changes are only of the class name.

  • Touring Class – Available on the Jasper – Prince Rupert train. The description of "Touring" class is identical to that of the previous "Totem" class (see below), and is only a change of name.


Previous class structure
  • Silver & Blue — A deluxe inclusive travel package on board the Canadian, which features Sleeper Class accommodation, first-class meals in the dining car, and access to the Skyline car and viewing salons in the glass-domed Park car. Passengers are also given priority boarding over Comfort Class and access to the Silver & Blue Lounge in Toronto Union Station. In June 2009, Silver and Blue class was replaced with Sleeper Touring Class.

  • Easterly — All-inclusive tour package on board the Ocean with access to a tour guide (known as the "Learning Coordinator"), Sleeper accommodation, first-class meals and access to the Park car. The Easterly class was designed to offer a seamless and relaxed travelling experience. Passengers receive priority boarding and access to the Panorama Lounge in Montreal station. Easterly was replaced by Sleeper Touring Class in June 2009.

  • Totem — Access to the Park car on board the Skeena. A sub-class called Totem Deluxe provides its passengers with seating in the Panorama car. Totem and Totem Deluxe operates from May to September. Totem class was replaced by Touring Class in June 2009.

Amenities

  • Smoking is prohibited on all Via trains.
  • Washrooms are provided for each car. On sleeper cars, every private room has its own separate washroom.


Onboard service is the usual travel fare: sandwiches, sweets, etc. Beer and wine are sold; Via will remove passengers consuming their own alcohol.

There is a complimentary Wi-Fi service available in the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. The present W-Fi system is provided by 21Net since November 2008. Previously, the Wi-Fi service was provided by Parsons commencing in February 2006. Via will be upgrading the present Wi-Fi system during 2011 with technology provided by Nomad Digital.

Luggage


Via offers checked luggage on its longer-haul services; however, in the Corridor only certain trains have luggage cars. In older class cars there is sufficient space at the front of the car for luggage storage. In contrast, the Renaissance stock has enough space (underneath the seat) for only one small piece of carry-on luggage; the remainder must be checked.

Accessibility and safety concerns



Via offers pre-boarding assistance to those passengers requiring extra time to board its trains. Not all stations are equally accessible. In Montreal, the platform is even with the train floor, with a small 'bridge' over the gap between train and platform. In Toronto and most small stations, passengers must climb up from track level. However, most stations have special wheelchair lifts to assist passengers in wheelchairs.

Most trains can accommodate only one passenger travelling in a wheelchair. Furthermore, storage space for wheelchairs belonging to passengers who can transfer to a seat is very limited and can handle only a few types of wheelchairs. This frequently causes availability issues as availability is sold on a first-come-first-served basis. Via Rail's policy is to adhere to the minimum mandated by Transport Canada of one wheelchair seating area per train. As a result, passengers are frequently refused transportation.

At larger stations, such as Montreal Central or Toronto Union, access to platforms is strictly monitored and controlled, so that waiting passengers are allowed up on the platform only shortly before the train is due to leave. This tends to create a bottleneck detraining as potentially hundreds of travellers with their luggage file onto the one escalator or staircase in operation. This safety hazard may be resolved by the planned rebuilding of Union station over the next few years.

The Corridor (Windsor – Quebec City)



The Corridor trains run from Windsor, Ontario, in the west through southern Ontario to south-western Quebec to Quebec City. The area offers the greatest concentration of Via trains. Roughly 90% of Via's revenue and ridership is within this corridor.

Toronto–Montreal


Via's Toronto–Montreal service runs between five and six trains daily with an express departing both cities at 17:00 daily except Saturday. Journey times vary depending on the actual train, with the 17:00 expresses (66 and 67) taking approximately 4 hours 45 minutes, while the following journeys departing at 18:20 from Toronto (68) and 1835 from Montreal (69) take roughly 5 hours and 38 minutes. The first train of the morning in each direction, as well as the express trains, are the only ones that offer a "bar car" service (for business class passengers only).

While travel on the express train is relatively easy (it stops only at Oshawa and Dorval), the 68 and 69 trains can be tedious as they stop at most stations between these two large cities. Although the Toronto–Montreal line is double tracked throughout its length (a rarity in Canada), the high volume of freight traffic on the line in recent years has reduced the percentage of passenger trains that arrive on time. Part of the reason for this is that Canadian National abandoned its line from Pembroke to North Bay in the 1990s, with the result that freight traffic between western Canada and Montreal or points east of Montreal now uses the Toronto–Montreal line.

Via is working with CN to add a third track to portions of this route, which would increase its on-time performance and reduce travel time by up to 30 minutes eventually.

Ottawa–Montreal


Via's service between the National Capital
National Capital Region (Canada)
The National Capital Region, also referred to as Canada's Capital Region, is an official federal designation for the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario, the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec, and surrounding urban and rural communities....

 and Montreal runs fairly frequently every day with early service; however, the latest departure (despite the proximity of the two cities) is 18:00. Travel time varies from between 1 h 45 min to 2 h 10 min, with stops at Alexandria and Dorval. In May 2010, most of these travel times have been sped up. Though the number of travellers is lower than the main corridor route from Toronto to Montreal, Via still uses the assigned 'car' – meaning in all likelihood there will be empty cars while others are filled with passengers.

The cars used on this service varies between HEP2, LRC, and occasional Renaissance stock. Unlike Toronto or Montreal, there is no large automated departure/arrival board–these are indicated using older posted boards.

Toronto–Vancouver


Via calls this service The Canadian after a famous Canadian Pacific train that ran between 1955 and 1978, but the name is misleading since the Via version follows the more northerly Canadian National line rather than the historic main line of Canada's first transcontinental railway. Thus the present-day version does not serve Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Calgary or Banff. It takes almost 87 hours between Toronto and Vancouver, which requires travellers to spend four nights on the train. The original Canadian took only about 68 hours to make the same 2791 miles (4,491.7 km) trip.

Montreal–Halifax


This train, known as the Ocean, has operated over essentially the same route since 1903, making it one of the oldest named trains in the world. It travels over the former Intercolonial Railway, built by the federal government as part of the terms on which New Brunswick and Nova Scotia agreed to join Canada. During both world wars the line to Halifax was vitally important to Canada's war effort. The Ocean travels 840 miles (1,351.8 km) in 21 hours, leaving both Montreal and Halifax every day except Tuesday. On the days when it is combined with the Gaspé train the rolling stock resembles that of The Canadian. On the other three days it uses British-style Renaissance rolling stock.

Summary of Via routes


Here is a table summarizing Via's routes across the country.
Route Major stations Frequency Numbers Services Connections to
Canadian
The Canadian
The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1955 and 1978. It is currently operated as an Inter-city rail service by Via Rail Canada with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in...

Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Sudbury, Hornepayne, Sioux Lookout, Winnipeg
Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

, Saskatoon
Saskatoon
Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. Residents of the city of Saskatoon are called Saskatonians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344....

, Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, Jasper
Jasper, Alberta
Jasper is a specialized municipality in western Alberta, Canada. It is the commercial centre of Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies in the Athabasca River valley....

, Kamloops, Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 
Three/week 1 and 2 Economy, baggage car, sleeper touring Washago, Sudbury (Downtown), Oba, Portage la Prairie, Jasper, Mission
Ocean Halifax, Truro
Truro, Nova Scotia
-Education:Truro has one high school, Cobequid Educational Centre. Post-secondary options include a campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, as well as the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in the neighboring town of Bible Hill.- Sports :...

, Moncton, Campbellton
Campbellton, New Brunswick
Campbellton is a Canadian city in Restigouche County, New Brunswick.Situated on the south bank of the Restigouche River opposite Pointe-à-la-Croix, Quebec, Campbellton was officially incorporated in 1889 and achieved city status in 1958.Forestry and tourism are major industries in the regional...

, Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 
Six/week 14 and 15 Economy, sleeper, sleeper touring
Montreal – Gaspé train Gaspé
Gaspé, Quebec
Gaspé is a city at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine region of eastern Quebec, Canada. As of the 2006 census, the city had a total population of 14,819....

, Percé
Percé, Quebec
Percé is a small village near the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in Québec. As a municipality, it is 432.39 square km in area. It has a long history of being an important seasonal fishing centre under the French...

, Rimouski, Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 
Three/week 16 and 17 Economy, sleeper
Montreal – Senneterre train Senneterre
Senneterre, Quebec
Senneterre is a town in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of northwestern Quebec, Canada. It is in the Vallée-de-l'Or Regional County Municipality. The town's territory includes a vast undeveloped area stretching from the Bell River to the Mauricie region...

, Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 
Three/week 603 and 606 Economy Hervey
Montreal – Jonquière train Jonquière, Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 
Three/week 600 and 602 Economy Hervey
Sudbury – White River train Sudbury (Downtown), Cartier
Cartier, Ontario
Cartier is a community in the Canadian province of Ontario, located in the Sudbury District approximately north of the northwestern city limits of Greater Sudbury along Highway 144....

, Chapleau
Chapleau, Ontario
Chapleau is a township in Sudbury District, Ontario, Canada. It is home to one of the world's largest wildlife preserves. Chapleau has a population of 2,354 according to the Canada 2006 Census....

, White River
White River, Ontario
White River is a township located in Ontario, Canada, on the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 631. It was originally set up as a rail town on the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885...

 
Three/week 185 and 186 Economy, baggage car Sudbury Jct, Franz
Winnipeg – Churchill train Winnipeg
Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

, Dauphin
Dauphin, Manitoba
Dauphin is a small city in Manitoba, Canada, with a population of 7,906 as of 2006. The nearby lake was given the name "Dauphin" by the explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye in 1741 in honour of the heir to the French throne...

, Canora
Canora, Saskatchewan
Canora is a town located at the junction of highways No. 5 and 9 in east-central Saskatchewan, north of the city of Yorkton. Centrally located on the corners of four adjacent rural municipalities, the community is home to approximately 2,400 residents and draws upon a substantial trading area...

, The Pas
The Pas, Manitoba
The Pas is a town in Manitoba, Canada, located in Division No. 21, Manitoba in the Northern Region, some 630 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital, Winnipeg, near the border of Saskatchewan. It is sometimes still called Paskoyac by locals as the first trading post was called Fort Paskoyac...

, Thompson
Thompson, Manitoba
Thompson is a city in northern Manitoba. As the "Hub of the North" it serves as the regional trade and service centre of northern Manitoba. Thompson is located north of the Canada – United States border, north of the provincial capital of Winnipeg, and is northeast of Flin Flon...

, Gillam
Gillam, Manitoba
Gillam, Manitoba, Canada, is a community between Thompson and Churchill on the Hudson Bay Railway line. Gillam is a significant community because of the nearby Nelson River Bipole converter station on the Nelson River...

, Churchill
Churchill, Manitoba
Churchill is a town on the shore of Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. It is most famous for the many polar bears that move toward the shore from inland in the autumn, leading to the nickname "Polar Bear Capital of the World" that has helped its growing tourism industry.-History:A variety of nomadic...

 
Two/week 692 and 693 Economy, sleeper Portage la Prairie, The Pas
Jasper – Prince Rupert train Jasper
Jasper, Alberta
Jasper is a specialized municipality in western Alberta, Canada. It is the commercial centre of Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies in the Athabasca River valley....

, Prince George
Prince George, British Columbia
Prince George, with a population of 71,030 , is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as "BC's Northern Capital"...

, Prince Rupert
Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Prince Rupert is a port city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is the land, air, and water transportation hub of British Columbia's North Coast, and home to some 12,815 people .-History:...

 
Three/week 5 and 6 Economy, touring
Victoria – Courtenay train (service suspended) Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...

, Nanaimo, Courtenay
Courtenay, British Columbia
Courtenay is a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is the largest city in the area commonly known as the Comox Valley, and it is the seat of the Comox Valley Regional District which replaced the Comox-Strathcona Regional District...

 
Daily 198, 199, 298, 299 Economy
Corridor Montreal–Ottawa, Montreal – Quebec City, Toronto–Kingston-Montreal, Toronto–Niagara Falls, Toronto–Kingston-Ottawa, Toronto–London-Sarnia, Toronto–London-Windsor 30/weekday
22/Saturday
24/Sunday (see main page for details)
Varies by train, most have economy and business classes London, Aldershot, Oakville, Georgetown, Brampton, Guildwood, Oshawa, Brockville

As of 2009 with the exception of the Canadian and the Ocean Via Rail no longer has names for the trains, instead calling them by the route they travel.

Weekend services are reduced on some of the daily routes, and may operate at different times, in which case they operate under different train numbers.

International connections are provided by agreement with Amtrak and include the Maple Leaf, operating between New York's Pennsylvania Station and Toronto's Union Station
Union Station (Toronto)
Union Station is the major inter-city rail station and a major commuter rail hub in Toronto, located on Front Street West and occupying the south side of the block bounded by Bay Street and York Street in the central business district. The station building is owned by the City of Toronto, while the...

 via Albany
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

 and Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

. The Adirondack
Adirondack (Amtrak)
The Adirondack is a passenger train operated daily by Amtrak between New York City and Montreal. The trip takes approximately 11 hours to cover a published distance of , traveling through the scenic Hudson Valley and the Adirondack Mountains...

is an exclusive Amtrak train operating between Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

's Gare Centrale
Gare Centrale (Montreal)
Central Station is the major inter-city rail station and a major commuter rail hub in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 18 million rail passengers use the station every year....

 (Central Station) and New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

's Penn Station. Amtrak Cascades
Amtrak Cascades
The Amtrak Cascades is a passenger train route operated by Amtrak in partnership with the states of Washington and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and the province of British Columbia in Canada...

 offers service between Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 and Seattle, Washington.

Corresponding train connections are also available by Ontario Northland Railway, Algoma Central Railway, and Keewatin Railway Company. Destinations include:
Route name Major stations Frequency Numbers Services Connect at
Northlander
Northlander
The Northlander is a Canadian passenger train operated by the Ontario Northland Railway in Ontario.It operates 6 days per week year-round in both directions and connects Cochrane with Toronto...

Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Gravenhurst
Gravenhurst, Ontario
Gravenhurst is a town in the Muskoka Region of Ontario, Canada. It is located approximately south of Bracebridge, Ontario. The mayor is Paisley Donaldson...

, Bracebridge
Bracebridge, Ontario
Bracebridge is a town and the seat of the Muskoka District Municipality of Ontario, Canada.The town was built around a waterfall on the Muskoka River in the centre of town, and is known for its other nearby waterfalls . It was first incorporated in 1875...

, Huntsville
Huntsville, Ontario
Huntsville is a town in the Muskoka Region of Ontario, Canada. It is located north of Toronto and south of North Bay....

, North Bay
North Bay, Ontario
North Bay is a city in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. It is the seat of Nipissing District, and takes its name from its position on the shore of Lake Nipissing.-History:...

, New Liskeard
Temiskaming Shores, Ontario
Temiskaming Shores is a city in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. It was created by the amalgamation of the town of New Liskeard, the town of Haileybury, and the township of Dymond in 2004. The city had a total population of 10,442 in the Canada 2006 Census. Temiskaming Shores is Ontario's...

, Cochrane
Cochrane, Ontario
Cochrane is a town in northern Ontario, Canada. It is located east of Kapuskasing, northeast of Timmins, south of Moosonee, and north of Iroquois Falls. It is about a one-hour drive from Timmins, the major city of the region. It is the seat of Cochrane District...

 
Six/week 697 and 698 Economy, dining car Washago, Cochrane
Polar Bear Express
Polar Bear Express
The Polar Bear Express is a Canadian passenger train operated by the Ontario Northland Railway in Northern Ontario. Service was introduced in 1964...

Cochrane
Cochrane, Ontario
Cochrane is a town in northern Ontario, Canada. It is located east of Kapuskasing, northeast of Timmins, south of Moosonee, and north of Iroquois Falls. It is about a one-hour drive from Timmins, the major city of the region. It is the seat of Cochrane District...

, Fraserdale
Fraserdale, Ontario
Fraserdale is a small community and rail siding in Unorganized Cochrane, North Part in Cochrane District, Northern Ontario, Canada. It is located north of Timmins along the Ontario Northland Railway...

, Coral, Moose River, Moosonee
Moosonee, Ontario
Moosonee is a town in northern Ontario, Canada, on the Moose River approximately south of James Bay. It is considered as "the Gateway to the Arctic" and has Ontario's only saltwater port...

 
Five/week 421 and 422 Economy, baggage car, dining car Cochrane
Algoma Central
Algoma Central Railway
The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

, Searchmont
Searchmont, Ontario
Searchmont is a community with a local services board in the Canadian province of Ontario. The services board covers the unincorporated townships of Deroche, Gaudette, Hodgins and Shields in the Algoma District northeast of Sault Ste. Marie...

, Hawk Junction
Hawk Junction, Ontario
Hawk Junction is a community with a local services board in the Canadian province of Ontario, located just north of Highway 101, about east of Wawa....

, Dubreuilville, Hearst
Hearst, Ontario
Hearst is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is located in Northern Ontario, approximately west of Kapuskasing, approximately north of Toronto and east of Thunder Bay on Highway 11...

 
Three/week 631 and 632 Economy, baggage car, touring Franz, Oba
Keewatin Railway The Pas
The Pas, Manitoba
The Pas is a town in Manitoba, Canada, located in Division No. 21, Manitoba in the Northern Region, some 630 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital, Winnipeg, near the border of Saskatchewan. It is sometimes still called Paskoyac by locals as the first trading post was called Fort Paskoyac...

, Cranberry Portage
Cranberry Portage, Manitoba
Cranberry Portage, located in the Rural Municipality of Kelsey, Manitoba, was an important part of the pre-European contact trade routes of the Cree and Assiniboine peoples...

, Pukatawagan
Pukatawagan, Manitoba
Pukatawagan is a town about 210 kilometres north of The Pas; it can be reached by train from Lynn Lake by a branch of the Hudson Bay Railway, a passenger service provided by Via Rail. A winter road after the lakes have frozen. The Airport, located east of town, is used by Missinippi...

 
Two/week 290 and 291 Economy, baggage car The Pas

Rolling stock


This list includes those vehicles currently in use by Via and those that have been retired.

Locomotives


Builder Model Current Fleet Years of service Notes
General Motors Electro-Motive Division  F59PH  3 2009+ In late December 2009, Via leased 4 F59PH locomotives from RBRX leasing. These locomotives, numbered 18521, 18522, 18524, and 18529, were originally built for and operated by Toronto's GO Transit (numbered as 521, 522, 524, and 529), before being replaced by new Motive Power Industries MP40PH-3C locomotives. Since late December 2009, these units have been operating on Via Rail's service between Montreal and Jonquière and Senneterre, in Quebec. As of Oct 1, 2010, Via has 3 of the units (RBRX 18520, 18521, and 18522) still on lease.
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

 
F40PH-2
EMD F40PH
-Amtrak NPCU Conversions:In later years, as Amtrak's F40PH fleet was being replaced by the newer GE Genesis-series locomotives, Amtrak converted a number of the retired units—generally ones with major mechanical problems limiting their value in the resale or lease marketplace—into "Non-Power...

 
54 1987–present Had 58. Rebuild underway. The Rebuilt engines will have the same paint scheme as the P42DC
GE Genesis
GE Genesis is a series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of General Electric...

 and will feature a 3rd headlight, extended cab, and a separate diesel engine to drive the HEP. 6400 was the prototype but 6402 will be the example for the rest of the fleet to follow. As of January 1, 2010, units 6400 (wrecked prototype), 6402, 6417, 6437, 6443, 6452, 6454, and 6457 have been rebuilt.
Originally delivered as nos. 6400-6458; 6447 wrecked in 1997 Biggar, SK derailment;
6423 was wrecked in 1999 in Chatham, ON collision; 6450 was wrecked at Miramichi, NB in 2000; 6400 was wrecked at St-Charles, QC in 2010; 6422 and 6430 have also been wrecked; all 6 locomotives were written off from the roster.
It is yet unknown if 6400 will be rebuilt following the rebuilding of the rest of the fleet, or if the damage it sustained is sufficient for it to be scrapped.
General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 / GE Transportation Systems
GE Transportation Systems
GE Transportation, formerly known as GE Rail, is a division of General Electric. The organization manufactures equipment for the railroad, marine, mining, drilling and energy generation industries. It is based in Erie, Pennsylvania. Locomotives are assembled at the Erie plant, while engine...

 
P42DC
GE Genesis
GE Genesis is a series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of General Electric...

 
21 2001–present Delivered as Nos. 900-920. Operates exclusively on LRC, HEP1/HEP2, Renaissance consists in Quebec-Windsor Corridor. Currently the entire fleet is being fitted with a 3rd headlight (nicknamed "Third Eye"). Via also allocated funding in September 2009 to overhaul all 21 P42s, with upgrades including structural repairs and winterization of the locomotives.
- #902 was delivered in a slightly different paint scheme, with a second blue stripe above the yellow stripe on the side of the locomotive. On August 17, 2009, 902 caught fire while leading train 46 into Ottawa, ON. It has been repaired, and reentered service in early January 2010. It no longer has the unique paint scheme.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

 
Rail Diesel Car RDC-1 3 Had 24. Two are still in service on Vancouver Island as the Victoria – Courtenay train/ Ex.-CP and CN
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

 
Rail Diesel Car RDC-2 2 Had 12. Two are still in service on the Sudbury – White River train/ Ex.-CP and CN
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

 
Rail Diesel Car RDC-4 1 Had 7. One is still in service on the Sudbury – White River train/ Ex.-CP and CN
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

 
FP9ARM
VIA FP9ARM
The Via Rail FP9ARM was a re-manufactured version of a GMD FP9A Diesel passenger locomotive.- History :In the early 1980s, Via was suffering from reliability problems with its motive power...

 
1 Rebuilt by CN for Via in the early 1980s. Had 15. Ex-CNR with only 1 unit number 6300 is left on the roster. Used as the shop switcher at Via's Vancouver Maintenance Centre.
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

 
SW1000
EMD SW1000
An EMD SW1000 is a diesel switcher locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division between June 1966 and October 1972. Power was provided by an EMD 645E 8-cylinder engine which generated...

 
2 Both are in service at Via Rail's Montreal Maintenance Centre (MMC)
United Aircraft
United Aircraft and Transport Corporation
The United Aircraft and Transport Corporation was formed in 1929, when William Boeing of the Boeing firms teamed up with Frederick Rentschler of Pratt & Whitney to form a large, amalgamated firm, uniting business interests in all aspects of aviation—a combination of aircraft engine and airframe...

 
TurboTrain  Had 3. Five seven car trainsets were introduced by CN in 1968, withdrawn for modifications in 1970, relaunched with three nine car trainsets in 1971, transferred to Via in 1976,ran until 1982 when replaced by the LRC sets. Holds the Canadian rail speed record of 140 mph/ Ex. CN (retired)
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

 
LRC
LRC (train)
LRC is a bilingual acronym for Light, Rapid, Comfortable or Léger, Rapide, et Confortable, the name of a series of lightweight diesel-powered passenger trains that were used on short- to medium-distance inter-city service in the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec...

-2 (Light, Rapid, Comfortable)
1981–2002 All have been retired; some still in storage and for sale at Via's shops in Toronto, Montreal. #6917 has been purchased by the Toronto Railway Historical Society (TRHA) for preservation.
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

 
LRC-3 1981–2002 All have been retired; some still in storage and for sale at Via's shops in Toronto, Montreal. #6921 is preserved at ExpoRail (the Canadian railway museum) in Montreal.
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 
FPA-4  1976–1993 Ex. CN (retired)
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 
FPB-4  1976–1993 Ex. CN (retired)
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 
FPA-2  1976–1983 Ex. CN (retired)
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 
FPB-2  1976–1983 Ex. CN (retired)
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 
FPA-2u Ex. CN (retired)
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 
FPB-2u Ex. CN (retired)
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

 
FP9
EMD FP9
The EMD FP9 was a , B-B dual-service passenger and freight-hauling diesel locomotive produced between February 1954 and December 1959 by General Motors Electro-Motive Division, and General Motors Diesel. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant, except for Canadian orders, which...

 
Ex. CN and CP (retired)
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

 
F9B
EMD F9
The EMD F9 was a Diesel-electric locomotive produced between February 1953 and May 1960 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors and General Motors Diesel . It succeeded the F7 model in GM-EMD's F-unit sequence. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant. The F9 was also...

 
Ex. CN (retired)
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

 
FP7A
EMD FP7
The EMD FP7 was a , B-B dual-service passenger and freight-hauling diesel locomotive produced between June 1949 and December 1953 by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division and General Motors Diesel. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant, excepting locomotives destined for...

 
Ex. CP (retired)
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

 
RS-10  ex-CP Rail (retired)
General Motors Electro-Motive Division  E8A
EMD E8
The EMD E8 was a , A1A-A1A passenger train locomotive manufactured by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division of La Grange, Illinois. The cab version, or E8A, was manufactured from August, 1949 to December, 1953, and 449 were produced – 446 for U.S., and 3 for Canada...

 
ex-CP Rail
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

 
Rail Diesel Car RDC-3 Had 10. All retired./ Ex.-CP and CN
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

 
Rail Diesel Car RDC-9 Had 6. All retired./ Ex. CN

Passenger cars



  • Coach car — Seating for use by Economy Class passengers. All seats face in the direction the train is travelling, with the exception of family and group seating at each end of the car. Any row of seats can be rotated to create a 4-seat area. AC power outlets are found in LRC coaches in the row of seats directly adjacent to the washroom area. LRC cars seat 68 while Renaissance cars seat 49.
  • Club car — Seating for use by Business Class passengers. All seats face forward with the exception of two on the left forward bulkhead and two in the rear, forming 4-seat communal areas. The rear area features a large fold-top table. All seating is equipped with AC power outlets. Windows also have curtains.
  • Transcontinental Coach car — Coach cars of the Canadian with fully reclining chairs and extending leg rests.
  • Sleeper car — Consists of open berth sections and single (known as "roomettes" by seasoned passengers), double and triple bedrooms (triples- or drawing rooms as they are also known — are available in the "Chateau" Series cars and parks cars only.) Bedrooms feature bunk beds, seating, and private toilets. The car is equipped with public shower facilities.
  • Park car — What Via Rail calls its "flagship car", it has two-levels and is situated in the very rear of the train. It includes a bar, lounge, three double bedrooms and one triple bedroom (also known as a drawing room), and the panoramic glass dome on its upper level.
  • Dining car — Serves meals by reservation. A Renaissance dining car holds 48 places in eight tables for four and eight tables for two. An ex-CPR Budd dining car seats 48 in a dozen four-seat tables.
  • Service car — A lounge area for Business Class passengers travelling in Renaissance cars. A take-out counter provides snack and drink service for customers. On the Ocean, service cars are placed next to the dining car so that meals can be prepared in the galley on the service car, to be served in the dining car.
  • Skyline car — Features a coffee shop, lounge, and panoramic dome seating.
  • Panorama car — A fully glass-enclosed seating car of the Jasper – Prince Rupert train.
  • Baggage car — Non-passenger car designed for carrying checked baggage.

Builder Model Qty Notes
Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

"Renaissance" baggage car 12 Built 1995–96, Service 2002. Units 7000–7011. Originally built to be sleeping cars.
Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

"Renaissance" club car 14 Built 1995–96, Service 2002. Units 7100–7113. Originally built for Nightstar
Nightstar (train)
The Nightstar was a proposed overnight sleeper service from various parts of Britain to continental Europe, via the Channel Tunnel. To run alongside the Eurostar and north of London day time Regional Eurostar services, the Nightstar was the last part in a round the clock passenger train...

 but never used.
Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

"Renaissance" coach car 33 Built 1995–96, Service 2002. Units 7200–7232. Originally built for Nightstar
Nightstar (train)
The Nightstar was a proposed overnight sleeper service from various parts of Britain to continental Europe, via the Channel Tunnel. To run alongside the Eurostar and north of London day time Regional Eurostar services, the Nightstar was the last part in a round the clock passenger train...

 but never used.
Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

"Renaissance" service car 20 Built 1995–96, Service 2002. Units 7300–7316 and 7354–7359. Units 7354–7359 are empty shells not yet put into service.
Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

"Renaissance" dining car 3 Built 1995–96, Service 2002. Units 7400–7402. Originally built to be single-bedroom sleepers.
Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

"Renaissance" sleeping car 57 Built 1995–96, Service 2002. Units 7500–7589. 29 cars inactive and stored in Thunder Bay.
Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

"Renaissance" baggage transition car 3 Built 1995–96, Service 2002. Units 7600–7602. Corridor through car for passengers and coupler for Park car.
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

LRC
LRC (train)
LRC is a bilingual acronym for Light, Rapid, Comfortable or Léger, Rapide, et Confortable, the name of a series of lightweight diesel-powered passenger trains that were used on short- to medium-distance inter-city service in the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec...

 coach car
72 Built 1981–84. Purchased new. Units 3300–3399.
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

LRC
LRC (train)
LRC is a bilingual acronym for Light, Rapid, Comfortable or Léger, Rapide, et Confortable, the name of a series of lightweight diesel-powered passenger trains that were used on short- to medium-distance inter-city service in the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec...

 club car
26 Built 1984. Purchased new. Units 3451–3475 and 3600–3601.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Coach car 43 Built 1946–55. Acquired 1978, mostly from CP. Units 8100–8147.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Château sleeping car (HEP) 29 Built 1954. Acquired 1978 from CP. Units 8201–8229.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Manor sleeping car (HEP) 40 Built 1954–55. Acquired 1978 from CP. Units 8301–8342.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Dining car (HEP) 13 Built 1955. Acquired 1978 from CP. Units 8401–8418.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Skyline dome car (HEP) 16 Built 1954–55. Acquired 1978 from CP. Units 8500–8517.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Baggage car 19 Built 1954–55, 1963. Acquired 1978, mostly from CP. Units 8600–8623.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Park car (HEP) 14 Built 1954. Acquired 1978 from CP. Units 8702–8718.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Coach car (HEP) 10 Built 1947–49. Acquired 1989–2000 from Amtrak. Units 4000–4009.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Coach car 23 Built 1947–53. Acquired 1989–2000, mostly from Amtrak. Completely stripped and rebuilt. Units 4100–4125.
Canadian Car and Foundry
Canadian Car and Foundry
Canadian Car and Foundry also variously known as "Canadian Car & Foundry," or more familiarly as "Can Car," manufactured buses, railroad rolling stock and later aircraft for the Canadian market...

Baggage coach car 2 Built 1954. Acquired 1978. Units 5648–5649. In service with Keewatin Railway Company.
Colorado Railcar
Colorado Railcar
Colorado Railcar was a manufacturer of railroad rolling stock, railcars and diesel multiple unit commuter vehicles. Both products come in single- and double-level versions. It shut down in 2008, with its assets being purchased by US Railcar.-History:...

Panoramic coach car 3 Built 2000. Acquired 2002. Units 1720–1722.
Canadian Car and Foundry
Canadian Car and Foundry
Canadian Car and Foundry also variously known as "Canadian Car & Foundry," or more familiarly as "Can Car," manufactured buses, railroad rolling stock and later aircraft for the Canadian market...

Lounge car 1 Built 1954. Acquired early 2002. Unit 1750.
Budd Company
Budd Company
The Budd Company is a metal fabricator and major supplier of body components to the automobile industry, and was formerly a manufacturer of stainless steel passenger rail cars during the 20th century....

Observation club car 1 Built 1939. Acquired 2002 from BC Rail. Unit 1751. Inactive and stored in Montreal.
National Steel Car Baggage car 1 Built 1951. Acquired 1978. Unit 9631. The last one remaining is used on the Winnipeg – Churchill train.
Pullman Standard
Pullman Company
The Pullman Palace Car Company, founded by George Pullman, manufactured railroad cars in the mid-to-late 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century, during the boom of railroads in the United States. Pullman developed the sleeping car which carried his name into the 1980s...

Coach car Retired
Pullman Standard
Pullman Company
The Pullman Palace Car Company, founded by George Pullman, manufactured railroad cars in the mid-to-late 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century, during the boom of railroads in the United States. Pullman developed the sleeping car which carried his name into the 1980s...

6-6-4 sleeper car Retired
Pullman Standard
Pullman Company
The Pullman Palace Car Company, founded by George Pullman, manufactured railroad cars in the mid-to-late 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century, during the boom of railroads in the United States. Pullman developed the sleeping car which carried his name into the 1980s...

4-8-4 sleeper car Retired

Demonstration units

Product list and details
 Make/Model  b> Description   Fleet size  b> Year acquired   Year retired  b> Notes 
Colorado Railcar
Colorado Railcar
Colorado Railcar was a manufacturer of railroad rolling stock, railcars and diesel multiple unit commuter vehicles. Both products come in single- and double-level versions. It shut down in 2008, with its assets being purchased by US Railcar.-History:...

 Aero
DMU lead car proposal only
Colorado Railcar
Colorado Railcar
Colorado Railcar was a manufacturer of railroad rolling stock, railcars and diesel multiple unit commuter vehicles. Both products come in single- and double-level versions. It shut down in 2008, with its assets being purchased by US Railcar.-History:...

 Single-level ADA
DMU coach
Pullman Standard Superliner
Superliner (railcar)
The Superliner is a double decker passenger car used by Amtrak on long haul trains that do not use the Northeast Corridor. The initial cars were built by Pullman-Standard in the late 1970s and a second order was built in the mid 1990s by Bombardier Transportation...

1 set 1985 demonstration on Supercontinental in Western Canada; borrowed from Amtrak
Adtranz
Adtranz
ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation , commonly known under its brand Adtranz, was a multi-national rail transport equipment manufacturer with facilities concentrated in Europe and the USA....

IC3 Flexliner
IC3
The IC3 is a Danish-built high-comfort medium/long distance diesel multiple-unit train. The sets were built by ABB Scandia . This train model has been operating in Denmark and Sweden since 1989...

1 set 1995 borrowed from Israeli railways

See also





Predecessor passenger services:
  • Canadian National Railway
    Canadian National Railway
    The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad"....

     — former Crown corporation, privatized in 1995
  • Canadian Pacific Railway
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...



Other publicly owned regional passenger carriers in Canada:
  • Ontario Northland Railway
    Ontario Northland Railway
    The Ontario Northland Railway is a Canadian railway operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a provincial Crown agency of the government of Ontario....

  • GO Transit
    GO Transit
    GO Transit is an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area conurbation, with operations extending to several communities beyond the GTHA proper in the Greater Golden Horseshoe...

  • Agence métropolitaine de transport
    Agence métropolitaine de transport
    The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

  • West Coast Express
    West Coast Express
    West Coast Express is the interregional commuter railway in British Columbia, Canada. Opened in 1995, it links Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, and Port Moody with Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver, where it interchanges with SkyTrain rapid transit, SeaBus and...



Privately owned Canadian passenger services:
  • Rocky Mountaineer
    Rocky Mountaineer
    Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian tour company offering Western Canadian vacation packages that operates trains on four rail routes through British Columbia and Alberta.-Background:...

    : Daylight operations through scenic areas specifically for tourist travel
  • Royal Canadian Pacific
    Royal Canadian Pacific
    The Royal Canadian Pacific is a luxury excursion passenger train operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway , inaugurated on June 7, 2000, after the CPR received the royal designation for the service from Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada....

    : Luxury tourist service operated by Canadian Pacific
  • Algoma Central Railway
    Algoma Central Railway
    The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

    : Passenger and tourist services in Ontario between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst. Owned by CN.


Other companies that offer inter-city rail:
  • Amtrak
    Amtrak
    The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

     (USA and Canada)
  • Ferromex
    Ferromex
    Ferromex is a private rail consortium that operates the largest railroad in Mexico.-Description:...

    (Mexico)

Further reading


External links