Via Rail ramps up service in Ontario, returning it to pre-pandemic levels | Globalnews.ca

Via Rail is increasing service in Ontario, returning the passenger railway to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Crown corporation says it is reintroducing two round trips between Toronto and Ottawa and one round trip between London and Toronto, starting in late October.

The ramp-up comes three-and-a-half years after the pandemic brought some operations to a screeching halt, when Via Rail suspended its cross-Canada routes and temporarily laid off more than 1,000 workers.

London Mayor Josh Morgan said in a post on X that he’s happy to see the London to Toronto train return.

“I know how important these trains are to Londoners, which is why we advocated for them to be reinstated. We will continue to push for additional service in our city as Londoners make use of the newly renovated station,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Chief executive Mario Péloquin says the railway aims to strike a balance between meeting passengers’ travel needs and deploying its limited resources.

Last quarter, operating losses before government funding hit $120 million, and the organization has not turned a full-year profit since 2017.

Greg Gormick, who heads On Track Consulting, says the expanded service announced Thursday will resemble Via’s timetable prior to COVID-19, enabled by crew training and new train deliveries from Siemens.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press