Monday,  October 2, 2023  6:39 am

VIA Rail reaches record numbers over the holidays

VIA Rail reaches record numbers over the holidays

Via Rail saw a spike in passenger numbers during the holiday season.

From Dec. 18 to Jan. 7, trains from coast to coast carried 308,000 passengers — 10 per cent more than in 2016-2017. The busiest day, Friday, Dec. 22, saw VIA Rail trains transporting 20,700 passengers to their destinations.

"Our operations have been strained in recent weeks by cold spells and extreme winter storms. Over this busy season, we have doubled our efforts to limit the impact, provide good service and bring our passengers to their destinations safely. I thank our clients for their understanding and I want to acknowledge the dedication and professionalism of our front-line employees and our maintenance centers," said Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, president and CEO of VIA Rail.

In the Québec City-Windsor corridor, over 291,500 passengers travelled on the trains serving communities in and between Montréal, Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Windsor, Sarnia and Niagara Falls.

Toronto-Ottawa was the most popular route: 35,800 travelled between these two cities over the period. Toronto's Union Station, a transit point for 180,000 travellers was especially busy during the holidays. Respectively, Montreal and Ottawa saw 92,000 and 78,000 passengers pass through their stations to be reunited with family and friends.

On the long distance trains, most of the passengers travelled to Halifax, Moncton and Vancouver. The Ocean service, which operates between Montréal and Halifax, welcomed almost 7,700 passengers. Six additional departures were offered over the holidays, giving more people the opportunity to travel by train to celebrate with their loved ones.

Also, the Régie intermunicipale de transport Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine (RÉGÎM) offered a shuttle service connecting Gaspé and the VIA Rail station in Campbellton, allowing some 200 passengers on the Ocean train to make transfers toward municipalities on the south coast of the peninsula, between Nouvelle (Québec) and Gaspé. Meanwhile, the Canadian, which connects Toronto to Vancouver, saw over 4,600 passengers onboard.