INDEPTH: VIA RAIL|
Justin Thompson, CBC News Online | October 24, 2003
Via Rail links Halifax and Vancouver with more than 100 stations in between. It was established in 1976 as the passenger division of Canadian National. Two years later, on April 1, 1978, it was broken off to become an independent Crown corporation.
On its 25th anniversary, Via continues to operate a transcontinental service, but sees most of its ridership on the corridor between Windsor, Ont., and Quebec City.
In 2002, Via carried 3.9 million passengers on 480 trains per week. The lion's share of the traffic 80 per cent was on the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. Via trains run over 14,000 kilometres of track. While most of the track belongs to former parent CN, Via owns a small amount of its own, notably in Eastern Ontario.
As a Crown corporation Via receives a yearly operating subsidy which amounted to $103.3 million in 2002. Passenger and other revenues for the same year were worth $270.7 million.
Oct. 24, 2003
Transport Minister David Collenette announces $700 million in infrastructure funding for Via. He says the money, which will go toward new equipment and track upgrades, will help lay the groundwork for a high-speed rail link between Quebec City and Windsor, Ont.
The first of 21 high-speed locomotives delivered in Toronto. The GE-built Genesis (P42) locomotives are capable of 177 kilometres per hour and are put into service in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor.
Apr. 12, 2001
A Via train derails in Stewiacke, N.S., injuring 24. Two young boys are later blamed for tampering with a switch.
Dec. 15, 2000
Via acquires 47 passenger coach cars, 20 lounge/restaurant cars and 72 sleeper cars. The cars are purchased as a package from Britain's Alstom for a reported $125 million. They were originally manufactured for a European consortium in the mid-1990s, but were never used. The acquisition is controversial because the cars do not meet Canadian specifications and have to be modified to accommodate special needs passengers. At the time, Transport Minister David Collenette called it "the largest step yet in rejuvenating passenger rail in Canada." The cars don't go into service until June 25th 2002.
Apr. 12, 2000
Transport Minister David Collenette announces more than $400 million in funding for Via over five years.
Jan. 30, 2000
More than three-dozen people are injured five of them seriously after a passenger train slams into a chain of boxcars in Miramichi N.B.
Aug. 27, 1999
A Via Rail train crashes into a chain of freight cars near Thamesville, Ont., killing the train's engineer and an engineer-in-training. Seventy-seven others are injured. An open switch is blamed for the crash.
Apr. 1, 1978
Via Rail becomes an independent Crown corporation.
President and CEO: Marc LeFrancois
Passengers carried (2002): 3.9 million
Passenger miles: 948 million
Revenues (2002): $270 million
Stations served: 100 +
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