Via Rail increasing security after receiving threat

Via Rail confirms it is bringing in RCMP and sniffer dogs for an elevated police presence at some train stations in response to what it called an "unsubstantiated" threat.

Sniffer dogs and RCMP being deployed at some stations

Via Rail said Wednesday it was beefing up security at some train stations with an increased RCMP presence and sniffer dogs. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Via Rail confirmed Wednesday it is beefing up security in response to what it called an "unsubstantiated" threat.

CBC News has learned the rail passenger service is bringing in the RCMP and its own sniffer dogs for an elevated security presence at some stations starting Wednesday, including at Toronto's Union Station.

"For some time now, passenger transportation companies globally have been the target of unsubstantiated threats against their facilities," Via said in a statement. "A threat of this nature was received at Via Rail recently and the police were informed."

Via spokeswoman Marie-Anna Murat said in an email to CBC News that although this threat appears to be a hoax, Via still needs to be careful. 

Via said it has also reminded employees to be "vigilant."

CBC's Steve Rukavina reported Wednesday morning that there was no visible police presence at Montreal's Central Station and that passenger trains were running on schedule.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Julie Gagnon, in an email to CBC News, said the Mounties are working with local rail safety authorities and law enforcement, including the Montreal police, who she said are "leading this investigation."

Gagnon declined to comment further.

Passengers unconcerned

Passengers at Union Station told CBC News they weren't concerned.

"I've worried about before because they don't check bags," said Darian Dermo of Guelph, Ont.

"I would prefer if they checked bags — maybe a metal detector or something," she said. "But I've taken the train five or six times in the past year and I feel safe. It's a good trip."
Darian Dermo, of Guelph, Ont., said she feels safe on the train but would 'prefer if they checked bags.'

Ian Thornhill, visiting from the U.K., said, "I think the train would be safer than a plane nearly at this stage. This'll be faster and cheaper and safer, I think."

A spokeswoman for Ontario transportation agency Metrolinx said there had been no increase in security at Union Station on Wednesday because there was no "founded" threat.

"That being said, we are always extremely vigilant," Anne Marie Aikins said in an interview with CBC News. "Our staff are always on the lookout for anything suspicious. They're the eyes and ears of our system, as are our customers."

Current security measures, she said, are "sufficient."

"It's kept us safe, and we take all kinds of efforts to secure the system itself — our trains, our stations, our platforms — but we're always looking for ways to increase those efforts."

However, airport-style screening would be impractical given the millions of people who move through the system each day.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.