VIA Rail adds additional Ottawa-Toronto trains as demand picks up steam

VIA Rail
(Photo by Michel Curi / Flickr)

VIA Rail is expanding its service between Ottawa and Toronto amid a nearly 40-per-cent increase in passenger traffic over the past four years.

Earlier this month, the rail service added a 10th daily round trip along the corridor on weekdays. An additional Toronto-to-Ottawa departure has also been added to weekend service.

This year, ridership for to Ottawa-Toronto route was 451,920 passengers as of Sept. 30, a 38.3-per-cent increase over the same period in 2014.

This is the third time in three years new departures have been added on the route. VIA Rail CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said in a release that the company sees a rise in ridership each time it increases frequency.

“With this addition, we will be able to serve more Canadians, help reduce the carbon footprint of their journeys, and improve our financial performance,” he said in a statement.

VIA also announced it would also be adding an additional departure from Toronto to Kingston, with extra stops in Trenton Junction and Guildwood.

Separately, a $20-million renovation project on Ottawa’s VIA Rail station on Tremblay Road started in September 2016 was scheduled to wrap up this fall.

Work included the construction of an elevated and heated passenger platform, roof renovations as well as new elevators and electrical equipment.

Ottawa’s VIA Rail station opened in 1966. The architecture firm behind the building, John B. Parkin and Associates, won a Governor General’s Massey Medal for its work a year later.

While the building received a heritage designation in 1996 and a landmark award by the Ontario Association of Architects in 2007, some residents still bemoan the station’s location outside the downtown core and occasionally take to social media to complain about a perceived lack of amenities.