Via Rail cuts staff, passenger service in Sudbury

Starting this fall, VIA Rail passenger service will make fewer stops at its two Sudbury stations — and plans to get rid of the full-time staff at both locations.

Sudbury-Toronto train connects will now run two times a week, rather than three

Starting this fall, VIA Rail passenger service will make fewer stops at its two Sudbury stations.

There are also plans to eliminate the full-time staff in both locations.

The three full-time VIA Rail employees at the Capreol and Sudbury Junction stations will be laid off Sept. 27. Those stations will also be seeing reduced train service during the off season of October to April.

The train that connects Sudbury to Toronto and the rest of Canada will now run two times a week, rather than three.

Dave Kilgour, a city councillor for Capreol, said local workers are worried about the cutbacks.

Dave Kilgour, Greater Sudbury Ward 7 councillor. (CBC)

"There was also a real heavy concern about a lack of service being available for all passengers," Kilgour said. "Currently there's full-time staff there assisting handicapped people or otherwise getting on and off the train."

A spokesperson with the union representing the VIA rail workers in town said employees are concerned one of the two stations will be shutdown — something VIA Rail said it is not currently planning to do.

"The train may still go there, but there's no employees in the station. So it's kind of misleading," Danny Andru said.

"They're tweaking it to say 'yeah we're still going to all these stops.’ Sure they are, but they're not getting the same service."

Andru said he is meeting with VIA Rail next week to see what future changes the company may have in mind for the northeastern Ontario passenger trains.

Kilgour added not enough people know about the pending change.

"There has been absolutely no information out there for people to assimilate and react to," he said. "I think it's extremely important that people that do use the trains are made aware that this service is going to be taken away."