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VIA Rail releases 2012 annual report

VIA Rail Canada Inc. reported yesterday that 2012 ridership dropped 5 percent to 3.9 million passengers and total revenue fell 2 percent to $277.6 million (in Canadian dollars) compared with 2011.

However, average revenue per passenger increased 2.2 percent to $65.52 compared with the previous year, according to the agency's 2012 annual report, which was released yesterday after it had been tabled in the House of Commons.

VIA Rail made major improvements in 2012 that helped the agency "further strengthen the foundations of our company for the coming years," said President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Laliberté in a press release.

"The frequency adjustments announced in June 2012 and our intermodal strategy are starting to bear fruit," he said.

By implementing cost management measures, VIA Rail reduced government funding required to cover its operating costs by more than $8 million compared with 2011 (before pension plan contributions), bringing the annual reduction in operating funding to more than $38 million since 2010, railroad officials said.

The annual report also states that an equipment and infrastructure improvement program was 90 percent completed by 2012's end, including the rebuilding of F40 locomotives and major track upgrades along the Québec City-Windsor corridor. The program was launched in 2007 with the Canadian government's $1 billion investment.

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