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Rail News: Passenger Rail

VIA Rail posts ridership, revenue gains in third quarter


VIA Rail Canada Inc.’s total passenger miles during third-quarter 2011 rose 1.9 percent to 258 million and revenue increased 5.2 percent to $83.7 million compared with the previous year’s quarter.

Through 2011’s first nine months, total passenger miles climbed 1.5 percent to 648 million and revenue jumped 5.3 percent to $214.5 million, VIA Rail officials said in a prepared statement.

In particular, the Canadian, considered VIA’s flagship train, surpassed third-quarter 2010’s ridership numbers, while the Ocean, VIA’s eastern long-distance service, and the Windsor-Quebec City corridor also showed “strong summer results,” they said.

Operating expenses during the quarter, before amortization of deferred capital funding and corporate tax expense, increased 4.6 percent “mainly due to timing differences” compared with a year ago, VIA Rail officials said. On a cumulative basis, operating expenses rose 1.9 percent. During the first nine months, VIA improved its operating loss, before government funding and corporate taxes, by more than $2 million, officials said.

“Since 1990, our ridership has grown steadily, and revenues have almost doubled,” said VIA President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Laliberté. “VIA’s cost recovery has improved by 79 percent, from 29 cents to 52 cents of revenue per dollar of operating expenses.”

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