VIA Rail benefits from the snow - Significant increase in the number of passengers over the Holidays



    MONTREAL, Jan. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail posted a 10.2% increase in
ridership over the Holidays compared with the same period last year in the
Québec City-Windsor corridor, benefiting from the record snowfall. These
positives results in central Canada also had repercussions on the results for
the country as a whole, with overall ridership up by 9.4%.
    From December 19, 2007 until January 6, 2008, VIA accommodated close to
21,000 more passengers in the Québec City-Windsor corridor than during the
same period in 2006-2007. The most popular trains were those between Toronto
and Ottawa, and those between Montréal and Ottawa (17% increase in the number
of passengers in Comfort class). Sustained increased ridership on the
Montréal-Ottawa route in recent months has led VIA to add a new mid-day run in
both directions Monday-Friday, scheduled to start next week.
    Across the country, significant increases in ridership were also recorded
in Comfort class between Montréal and Gapsé (23% on the Chaleur) and between
Victoria and Courtenay (89% on the Malahat), for instance. Over the same
period, only the Ocean between Montréal and Halifax and the Hudson Bay between
Churchill and Winnipeg experienced a slight decrease in ridership.
    The positive performance of VIA in the Québec City-Windsor corridor is
partly explained by the train's reliability during recent storms where,
despite some delays, there were no cancellations.
    On October 11, 2007, the government of Canada announced a $691.9 million
investment in the revitalization of intercity passenger rail services in
Canada. One month ago, VIA announced that it had awarded a $100 million
contract for the rebuild of its fleet of F-40 locomotives.
    For more information on train schedules or to book a trip anywhere in the
VIA system, customers can visit VIA's secure Web site at viarail.ca.
Passengers also can book their tickets at self-ticketing kiosks in most Québec
City-Windsor Corridor stations, by calling 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245),
TTY 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired), or through their travel agent.

    As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is
to provide efficient, environmentally sustainable 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. Increasingly
travellers are turning to train travel as a hassle-free and cost-efficient
alternative to congested roads and airports as well as a more environmentally
responsible way to travel.




For further information:

For further information: VIA media contacts: Martin Roy, Corporate
Communications, (514) 871-6119; Catherine Kaloutsky, Corporate Communications,
(416) 956-7683


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