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Free VIA from ‘limited access’ CN tracks with its own $3B corridor from Toronto to Montreal: report

Jason Fekete, Ottawa Citizen | February 26, 2016 - OTTAWA – A sweeping review of Canada’s transportation system recommends major changes to Via Rail operations in Canada, including using federal dollars and legislative powers to separate freight and passenger rail networks to allow for a dedicated Montreal-to-Toronto corridor, and consider eliminating subsidies for Toronto-Vancouver service.


  1. I would very much welcome a dedicated line between Montreal and Toronto. Hopefully it would then be extended on to Windsor, Ottawa and Quebec City. However, I'm very concerned that the report recommends cutting subsidies to the Toronto - Vancouver service. The Canadian needs to be reinstated to it's original C.P route through Thunder Bay, Calgary and Banff. The C.N line through Jasper also still needs to be served. Both services also need to run seven days a week, instead of the current three of four. I've come over to Canada from England for a holiday on a number of occasions now. I simply can't believe that a city as large as Calgary isn't served by a regular passenger train. I also don't understand how a popular tourist destination such as Banff isn't as well.

    In my opinion, the best way to solve the problem of passenger trains having to give way to freight would be for the Canadian Government to buy back the track from C.N and C.P, at least in areas where passenger services are run. By doing this both those companies will still be able to run their freight trains, but passenger services would then be able to be given first priority. We have this kind of set up in Britain, on the whole it works very well.

  2. Yet another rehash of tired old attacks from anti-rail lobbyists & politicians trying to undermine VIA, an essential year-round transportation link to towns & cities across Canada that provides a valuable service to the millions of people who use it every year at a fraction of the government spending given to roads, and with the ability to serve far more city pairs than air ever could.

    Fortunately the report recommends retaining the Ocean & Corridor services as well as a much needed regulatory framework protecting VIA funding.

    Still, I would recommend those who support passenger rail to urge the Federal Government to throw out the ridiculous recommendation to eliminate the Federal operating grant for the “Canadian” & instead provide the necessary investment to maintain a reliable & efficient national passenger rail system.

    Contact info:

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister

    The Honourable Marc Garneau, Transport Minister

    NDP Transportation Critic Wayne Gates

    Conservative Transportation Critic Kelly Block

    Public Feedback for this Transport Canada report can be emailed to:


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