VIA Rail Canada announces the return of year-round hot meals on board the
Montréal - Gaspé train starting March 24

    
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    FORMATION OF A VIA-GASPÉ REGION JOINT WORKING GROUP
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MONTREAL, March 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Following a meeting with Gaspé regional leaders in February, VIA Rail Canada has announced that it will reinstitute hot meals in the dining car of the Montréal - Gaspé train on a year-round basis. In addition, a VIA-Gaspé region joint working group was created to study ways of enhancing service on the Montréal-Gaspé line and promoting tourism in the region.

Last fall, VIA discontinued the on-board cook position from the end of October to the beginning of June, due to insufficient demand. Starting this Wednesday, March 24, instead of the snack service that has replaced the hot meals since last October, passengers will be treated to hot meals prepared by Newrest, a caterer that already supplies meals to VIA for the Ocean train (Montréal - Halifax), where customer reaction has been very positive. As for the cook position, it will be maintained from June to October and during the Christmas-New Year's holidays.

For Marc Laliberté, president and chief executive officer of VIA Rail Canada, offering catered meals and the creation of a joint working group demonstrate that the Crown corporation is listening to its passengers, and is doing everything in its power to satisfy them within the confines of its budget envelope. "Far from having a tunnel-vision stance, VIA wants to act proactively along with its partners to reach financially realistic solutions, such as the ones we are announcing today. We are aiming for a win-win partnership."

Canada's Minister of State (Transport) Rob Merrifield said, "this announcement is a great example of how a public service like VIA Rail can work collaboratively with the constituency it serves to find responsible, workable solutions that both meet the needs of Canadians and respect the financial realities of providing the service."

Regarding the cost of food services on board the Montréal - Gaspé train, Mr. Laliberté reiterated that VIA operates with taxpayer support: "In this respect, the financial bottom line is not optional, but mandatory. For this reason, over the coming weeks, we will ensure that this new offer of hot meals on board the Montréal - Gaspé train reflects the actual demand so that this service can be adjusted if need be, based on passengers' needs and VIA's financial requirements."

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, both in Canada's busiest corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country. 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 travellers increasingly turn to train travel as a safe, hassle-free and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports. For more information on VIA's services across the country, customers can visit viarail.ca.

SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Elizabeth Huart, (514) 871-6119, elizabeth_huart@viarail.ca; Malcolm Andrews, (514) 871-6604, malcolm_andrews@viarail.ca


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