VIA Rail and the Government of Canada Honour Canadian Forces and Veterans
with Free Rail Travel

OTTAWA, May 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Canada's Minister of State (Transport) and Donald A. Wright, VIA Rail Canada Chairman of the Board, announced the third year of VIA Rail's Canadian Forces Family Appreciation fares to celebrate the contribution made to the country by Canada's military personnel and veterans. They were joined at the Ottawa Train Station by the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture); the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Marc Laliberté, VIA Rail Canada President and CEO.

Between July 1 and August 14, 2010, active or retired Canadian Forces personnel and veterans will be entitled to free Economy class rail travel on selected trains across the entire VIA network. In addition, Canadian Forces personnel and veterans will be eligible for a 25% discount off the best available fares for travel in both Business and Sleeper class. Each active or retired Canadian Forces member may also bring up to five immediate family members with them, at a 25% discount off the best available fare in any class of service. The Canadian Forces Family Appreciation fare can also be combined with VIA's children's' summer travel discounts.

"This is a great chance for us to celebrate the members of the Canadian Forces personnel and their families and show them how proud we are of the work they do," said Minister Merrifield. "Our Government is proud to support VIA as they extend this initiative for a third year."

"We are pleased that VIA is once again honouring members of the Canadian Forces and their families by providing them with special fares," said Minister MacKay. "We hope that many members will be able to take advantage of this opportunity."

"VIA Rail connects communities, large and small, across Canada," stated Minister Blackburn. "We are grateful that VIA is providing this unique opportunity to CF personnel and Veterans to visit these communities, to be reunited with their family and friends, or simply enjoy the beauty of our country. In doing so, we honour their service and contribution to our peace and freedom."

"We at VIA are proud of the contribution and recognize the sacrifices made by the members of the Canadian Forces," said Mr. Wright. "For a third consecutive year, we're honoured to recognize these strong men and women for all they are doing and have done for our country. We hope that they will be able to take advantage of this offer and experience everything our great country has to offer aboard the train."

Close to 17, 000 current or retired Canadian Forces personnel took advantage of VIA's initiative to honour them with a special fare in 2009.

About VIA Rail Canada

As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective passenger transportation - in both official languages. Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity, transcontinental and regional trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre route network. The demand for VIA services is growing as travelers increasingly turn to train travel as a safe, reliable and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports. In 2008, VIA safely transported 4.6 million passengers - the most since 1989 - and set an all-time record of $299 million in revenue.

    
    May 31, 2010

                                 BACKGROUNDER
                                 ------------

               Canadian Forces and Veterans to be Honoured with
                       Free VIA Rail Travel this Summer

    Conditions
    ----------
    

Active and retired Canadian Forces personnel, reservists, spouses and dependants are eligible for the special fares. Members of the Canadian Forces travel free on select trains in Economy class and can bring up to five family members travelling with them at 25 per cent off the regular applicable fare. Up to five children under 12 accompanied by an adult can travel at $10 each as part of VIA's kids summer travel discount. VIA is also offering a 25 per cent discount to military personnel and their families off the best available fare in Business and Sleeper classes, depending on availability. All bookings must be made between June 1 and June 15, 2010, and travel must take place between July 1 and August 14, 2010. Other conditions may apply.

A limited number of seats will be available on selected trains operating on routes between Quebec City and Windsor and on all trains outside of the Quebec-Windsor corridor. Bookings must be made either by calling 1 888 VIA RAIL (842-7245), TTY 1 800 268-9503 (for the hearing impaired), or in person at a VIA ticket office. No online reservations are possible for this promotion.

Other conditions may apply.

    
    About VIA
    ---------
    

As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally responsible and cost effective passenger transportation services, both in Canada's business corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country. VIA serves more than 450 communities with a network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: Ashley Doyle, VIA Rail Canada, (416) 528-9125; Robert Lynch, Office of the Minister of State (Transport), (613) 991-0700


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