MONTRÉAL, May 13, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada (viarail.ca) has released its 2013 Annual Report to the public after it was tabled in the House of Commons.
Paul G. Smith, Chairman of VIA Rail's Board of Directors, remarked that "2013 was a productive year at VIA Rail Canada, during which our employees and partners completed important projects that will bring great things for our customers. Over the past four years, we have seen some major changes at our corporation. From our trains and stations to the technology we use, VIA Rail has been transforming and modernizing from top to bottom. It was in 2013 that many of these projects came to fruition, both internally and for our customers, making it a year of adjustments."
PERFORMANCE | REVENUES | RIDERSHIP
Constant compared to the previous year, total ridership stood at 3.9 million passengers in 2013. Revenues reached $270.4 million, down 2.3% compared to 2012.
On the Québec City – Windsor corridor trains, the total number of miles travelled by all passengers – the passenger-miles – rose by close to 6% compared to 2012. In the segments between Ottawa, Toronto, Montréal and Québec City, where 28 new departures per week were added at the end of 2012, passenger-miles increased by 7.4% during the year. The Montréal – Québec City line saw a growth of 14% of its ridership and revenues increased by 6% compared to 2012. Between Ottawa and Toronto, ridership and revenues increased 6% and 4% respectively.
For the long-distance routes, adjustments to the frequency in scheduling that took effect in 2012 improved the performance for the Ocean. The average occupancy rate for the service between Montréal and Halifax reached 71.7%, compared to 68.2% for the same period in 2012. This service saw a decrease in passenger-miles of 33.7% in 2013, despite the fact that there were 50% fewer trains over the time period. On the Canadian service, between Toronto and Vancouver, passenger-miles dropped by 12.2% compared to 2012, a year when there used to be 14% more frequencies offered on this service. The average occupancy rate of this service was 62.8%, compared to 66% in 2012.
In 2013, the intermodal strategy initiated by VIA Rail has resulted in an increase in use of intermodal transport between VIA Rail and its partners by 25% compared to 2012. On average, 199 customers per day purchased a ticket from VIA Rail's website that included using the services of more than one transportation company. More than 20 intermodal partnerships have been created since 2010, in order to provide interconnectivity with other passenger carriers across the country.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The safety and security of VIA Rail's operations for its passengers, employees and the public are of utmost importance. Throughout the year the corporation worked to improve the safety and security of our operations and to inform the Canadian public about railroad safety. 2013 initiatives included:
- Collaboration on various activities organized by Operation Lifesaver;
- Participation at the 23rd International Railway Safety Conference;
- Revision of VIA Rail's Safety Rules following the tragic events at Lac-Mégantic;
- Continuation of the Critical Care Program;
- Closure of many private crossings as part of a continuous program of projects related to safety and security;
- Development of a work plan related to Enterprise Risk Management.
MAJOR CAPITAL PROGRAM COMPLETION
Major projects were pursued or completed in 2013 including the following:
- Development of conceptual design work and detailed designs for our Head End Power (HEP-1) cars used on the Canadian, between Toronto and Vancouver. Renovation of the first Park car;
- Continuation of the LRC (Light, Rapid, Comfortable) car upgrades program;
- Renovation of Rail Diesel Cars (RDC).
- Renovation of several station interiors and Business Lounges in the Québec City – Windsor corridor;
- Completion of construction of a new overhead footbridge and island platform at the station in Cobourg;
- Launching of renovations at Winnipeg Union Station.
- Continuation of work on the Guelph Subdivision to improve the safety, reliability and flexibility of operations through the introduction of Centralized Traffic Control, upgraded or new crossing warning systems and security fencing;
- Beginning of work to upgrade the Centralized Traffic Control signaling system at the Ottawa terminal.
- Launching of the On Train Entertainment system providing passengers on VIA Rail trains free access to Canadian programming on trains within the Québec City – Windsor corridor;
- Usage of the Train Status Information (TSI+) system which delivers an automated way of conducting train trip analysis to rapidly measure our on-time performance on any route segment in the Québec city – Windsor corridor;
- Introduction of a Wi-Fi system on the Ocean;
- Installation of a remote telemetry system to 57 of its 73 locomotives, allowing for the precise capture of train fuel consumption in real time and thus reducing costs and environmental footprint;
- Revamping of VIA Rail's website, now more accessible;
- Implementation of internal upgrades to VIA Rail software to improve efficiency, reduce costs and integrate future updates more easily.
VIA Rail's annual report is available at: viarail.ca/2013annualreport.
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide safe, efficient and economical travel, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500 km network. Recipient of the Railway Association of Canada's Safety Award in 2012 for the 11th time in 12 years, and of Baxter Travel Media's 2013 Agent's Choice Award (voted on by Canadian travel agents), VIA Rail safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested more than a billion dollars in VIA Rail. Follow the progress of our transformation at viarail.ca/transformingvia.
SOURCE: VIA Rail Canada Inc.