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Rail News: Passenger Rail

VIA Rail advances modernization efforts


Yesterday, VIA Rail Canada Inc. officials announced “significant improvements” to operations as part of ongoing modernization efforts.

The improvements include “tracks, stations and trains, better interconnectivity with other carriers, enhanced customer experience and e-services,” VIA Rail officials said in a prepared statement.

“This next phase of VIA’s modernization includes adjusting frequencies on specific routes to better reflect customer demand, while maintaining service on all current routes,” they said. “This is necessary to allow VIA to focus resources on improving service and attracting more customers on routes where demand is strong and growing.”

The service adjustments will unfold from July through October, said VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Laliberté, adding that the changes will respond to market changes and include services that match demand.

“By the end of the year, we will complete work to expand track capacity between Montreal and Toronto, where demand for more rail service is high,” he said. “We will begin operating a completely refurbished fleet of modern, high-efficiency locomotives coast-to-coast.”

In addition, the agency will open new and renovated stations, and offer e-services “so that passengers can better connect in the transportation network and work while on board our trains,” said Laliberté.

VIA Rail also will adjust train frequency where demand varies by season in order to remain efficient.

As part of aligning services to meet customer demand, the agency will partner with other passenger service providers, including those that are publicly funded.

VIA Rail has been working to improve operations and financial performance during the past two years. The unionized workforce is expected to be reduced by about 200 full-time positions, or a decrease of 9 percent, agency officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/28/2012