Backgrounder: VIA Rail coast-to-coast passenger service under threat

Background for press release:

VIA’s Canadian, the transcontinental passenger service between Toronto and Vancouver, is at high risk. In 1990, despite a recommendation from a blue-ribbon panel to make investments to modernize VIA Rail and make it more efficient, the Mulroney government did just the opposite when it eliminated the service on the spectacular Lake Superior North Shore run through Thunder Bay, one of the most popular and profitable routes.

The Conservative government at the time retained the Canadian on the northern route on the CN line, but cut that frequency from daily to only 3 days per week, and failed to modernize that equipment. Subsequent Liberal governments continued to cut both investments and operating funds. Recently, the Conservatives cut winter service to only two days per week.

On February 25, a transport committee – appointed by the Harper government and chaired by Conservative David Emerson – recommended eliminating all funding for the Canadian. That would mean the end of trans-Canada passenger service.

Two reports lay out plans to save passenger rail in Canada:

Find the Transport Canada report here: