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Rail News: Passenger Rail

VIA Rail logged ridership gain, on-time performance dip in Q1

The railroad served more than 1 million passengers in the first quarter.
Photo – VIA Rail Canada's 2017 annual report


In the first quarter, VIA Rail Canada Inc. served 1,089,500 passengers, marking a 12.4 percent increase over the same period in 2017.

The railroad posted an 11 percent increase in passenger revenue, which grew to $73.5 million for the quarter.

The revenue increase was driven by the continued popularity of intercity services on the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, where VIA Rail served 1,057,300 passengers, according to VIA Rail's first-quarter report. Earlier this year, the Canadian government pledged funds to replace the entire fleet along that corridor.

The railroad's on-time performance (OTP) fell to 73 percent compared with 77 percent in 2017's first quarter. The decline was attributed to severe weather that led to mechanical delays for VIA Rail and its host railroads.

"Freight train congestion, which is beyond VIA Rail's control, and station delays also added to the lower OTP especially in Western Canada," VIA Rail officials said in the report. "In addition to customer dissatisfaction, these delays created additional costs to western service."