Via Rail Canada announced that the most recent holiday period – from December 19 to January 8 – was one of the busiest in several years. Winter weather conditions were no challenge for VIA Rail, which carried more than 282,000 passengers to their destinations onboard 1,300 trains across Canada. The number of travellers rose by 16%, and the company posted a 20% increase in passenger revenues compared to the same period last year.
“We are thrilled to see that the growth in our traffic and revenues, which started in 2014, held steady during this key time of year! It’s a great way to start off 2017 – the year of Canada’s 150th birthday,” said the President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano. “I salute the dedication and professionalism of all of our employees, who are responsible for this great success. They offer outstanding customer service that, combined with extra departures, made train travel a more compelling option to a greater number of travellers.”
Preparations were made to ensure things ran smoothly during this busy time of year. Along with big improvements to the train schedule in the Quebec city – Windsor corridor in 2016, in anticipation of high ridership over holidays, capacity was increased on high-demand trains in the Québec City–Windsor corridor. As well, six more departures were added to the Ocean route, which serves communities in eastern Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Friday, December 23 was the busiest day of the season, with almost 18,600 trips taken.
Toronto’s Union Station, a transit point for 167,000 travellers was especially busy during the holiday period. Respectively, Montreal and Ottawa saw 85,200 and 70,600 passengers pass through their stations to be reunited with family and friends.
12,600 people travelled from coast to coast onboard trains between Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal and Halifax, enjoying the country in all its splendour. Most of these passengers travelled to Halifax, Jasper and Vancouver – which are popular tourist destinations.
Traffic on the Canadian, between Toronto and Vancouver, was up 13.6% compared to 2015. The Ocean route, which connects Montreal and Halifax, carried 7,600 passengers during the holidays. The average occupancy rate for the 24 Ocean trains running between December 18 and January 6 reached 71%. An especially large number of passengers along this route travelled between Halifax, Bathurst, Campbellton, Moncton and Montreal.