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Rail News: Passenger Rail

VIA Rail logs ridership, revenue gains in first quarter


In first-quarter 2016, VIA Rail Canada Inc. provided service for 3,000 more riders than the same period last year.

VIA Rail passengers also travelled 3.5 million more miles than during the first quarter of 2015. The railroad accommodated a total 915,000 passengers in the quarter versus 912,000 in 2015.

Passenger revenue rose 10.6 percent to $60.6 million, according to VIA Rail's first-quarter report for 2016. The increase in revenue led to a nearly 11 percent drop in the railroad's need for government funding, VIA Rail officials said in a press release.

Operating expenses ticked up to $130.3 million, compared with $126.9 million in the year-ago period, while capital expenditures dropped to $22.1 million from $28.3 million in first-quarter 2015.

VIA Rail's on-time performance came in at 79.2 percent, marking an increase from 63.3 percent during first-quarter 2015. The improvement resulted from a noticeable reduction in freight traffic on shared track, as well as cooperation between the passenger railroad and its freight partners, said VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Yves Desjardins-Siciliano in a statement.

"We are continuing the pattern of growth that began in 2015, and once again we are reporting increases in revenues and ridership," added Desjardins-Sicilian, noting that first-quarter 2016 is the eighth consecutive quarter with increased revenue.