MONTREAL, Nov. 30, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada's Board of Directors today released the Corporation's third quarter 2012 results. Between July and September 2012, VIA Rail's ridership and revenues were lower than last year for the same period, due partially to challenges faced by the travel industry. However, as a result of stringent cost management measures, the Corporation's bottom line was within approved funding levels for the quarter.
"In the third quarter, VIA Rail continued to face significant challenges with respect to both ridership and revenues, in all parts of its passenger rail network. We launched new strategies to retain customers and attract new ones, while at the same time, working harder than ever to control costs, and improve our productivity. Now, we have to look at the best ways to use our resources to deliver a better return for our operating funding. As we move forward, our long term goal is to make VIA Rail a financially and commercially viable operation, with a new approach to operating as a publicly-owned business," explained VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Laliberté.
The report also states that, by the end of the third quarter of 2012, 80% of the $923 million fund committed by the Government of Canada to upgrade tracks, modernize passenger stations, and renew passenger trains and technology had been invested.
- Major safety improvements and signal work on the Guelph Subdivision;
- Major work to increase the capacity of CN-owned tracks between Brockville and Toronto to allow VIA Rail to add more frequencies between Ottawa and Toronto, and Montréal and Toronto;
- A new third track between Grafton and Cobourg was put in service;
- Replacement of ties on VIA-owned infrastructure on the Alexandria and Smiths Falls subdivisions and on the Chatham Subdivision, and replacement of sections of track ballast and crossing rehabilitation;
- Design work for the replacement of Centralized Traffic Control systems in the Ottawa area and between Coteau - De Beaujeu;
- Delievery of 51 of VIA Rail's 53 F-40 locomotives, along with 16 of VIA's 59 Renaissance passenger cars and 10 of 97 Light, Rapid Comfortable (LRC) passenger cars, rebuilt in order to extend their life, enhance environmental performance and efficiency, and to provide better comfort and service to customers - including better accessibility for people with special mobility needs;
- The new Windsor Station and overhead walkway at Oshawa opened to the public, and work at Cobourg and Oshawa Stations advanced well;
- A new project to upgrade Winnipeg Station that will improve public areas and passenger services was started;
- Introduction of a system that links many "back-end" systems with our front-line employees, through Blackberry smartphones, including on-board real-time passenger manifests, train status information (TSI), such as estimated arrivals and departure information, and improved communication between on-board VIA staff and other VIA departments;
- Launching of an electronic ticketing and boarding passes system in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor in August;
- Launching of a pilot for a new system that allows passengers to watch news, TV shows and documentaries while they travel.
To read VIA Rail's quarterly financial results, go to: http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/our-company/quarterly-reports
About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's (www.viarail.ca) mandate is to provide safe, efficient, cost-effective passenger transportation in the country's two official languages. VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometer route network. Recipient of the RAC's Safety Award in 2012 for the 11th time in 12 years, and of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted on by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media, VIA safely transports over four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has provided VIA Rail with nearly one billion dollars in capital investment funding. Follow the evolution of current projects at viarail.ca/TransformerVIA.
SOURCE: VIA RAIL CANADA INC.
For further information:
Senior Media Relations Advisor
VIA Rail Canada
514-871-6137 | 1-877-393-8787