Via Rail ramps up service, returning it to pre-pandemic levels

Via Rail

Via Rail is increasing service in Ontario, returning the passenger railway to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Crown corporation says it is reintroducing two round trips between Toronto and Ottawa and one round trip between London and Toronto, starting in late October.

The ramp-up comes three-and-a-half years after the pandemic brought some operations to a screeching halt, when Via Rail suspended its cross-Canada routes and temporarily laid off more than 1,000 workers.

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Chief executive Mario Peloquin says the railway aims to strike a balance between meeting passengers’ travel needs and deploying its limited resources.

Last quarter, operating losses before government funding hit $120 million, and the organization has not turned a full-year profit since 2017.

Greg Gormick, who heads On Track Consulting, says the expanded service announced Thursday will resemble Via‘s timetable prior to COVID-19, enabled by crew training and new train deliveries from Siemens.

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