Via Rail Canada train in Jasper

Via Rail Canada Updates Service Options Through May

March 29, 2020 Update: All passengers must be clear of any sickness to be able to travel on-board Via Rail trains. Find details below.
April 6, 2020 Update: VIA Rail extends the suspension of the operations of the Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver) and Price Rupert-Jasper service until June 1, 2020.
April 16, 2020 Update: VIA Rail extends the suspension of the Ocean (Montréal-Halifax) until further notice.
May 6, 2020 Update: The operation of the Canadian and the Ocean are suspended through November 1, 2020. Price Rupert-Jasper service expected to return July 5, 2020.

In light of a significant reduction in passenger volumes as well as the most recent recommendations of the public health authorities across the country reinforcing the importance of social distancing, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announces service changes effective Monday, March 23, which will be in place until further notice. This will allow VIA Rail to better deploy its resources and equipment in order to further protect the health and safety of its passengers and employees.

“These new measures we are announcing today are difficult, but the current situation is exceptional and calls for an exceptional response. Protecting the health and safety of our passengers and employees continues to be our focus so we are adjusting our operations to ensure we minimize the propagation of COVID-19 when traveling with VIA Rail. As a public service, we do what we can to maintain some of our services in the best possible conditions for as long as possible to help facilitate travel along the Corridor and on regional routes,” declared Cynthia Garneau, president, and chief executive officer of VIA Rail.

Services Starting March 23, 2020
Service reductions and/or schedule alterations are subject to change due to the nature of the need for public transportation options.

Québec City-Montréal-Ottawa22*/28* and 33/39*
Montréal-Ottawa-Fallowfield33/39* and 22*/28
Toronto-Kingston-Montréal64/68* and 63*/669*
Toronto-Kingston- Ottawa643*/59 and 52*/48
Toronto- London-Windsor72*/78 and 71/75
Toronto-London-Sarnia1 departure per day maintained in both directions (trains 87-84)
Senneterre-JonquièreOne round trip per week
Sudbury-White RiverOne round trip per week
Winnipeg-ChurchillAll trains are operating
The Ocean (Montréal-Halifax)
The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver)
Prince Rupert-Prince George-Jasper
 Suspended until May 1st 

Some stops have been added on some trains. This information is subject to change without notice.

On-Board Services

  • Baggage service will no longer be available.
  • The Business class will no longer be available in the Québec City-Windsor corridor.
  • Sleeper Plus class will no longer be available on the Winnipeg-Churchill route.
  • Seat selection will be flexible to allow passengers to travel in a more comfortable manner to follow the social distancing guidelines. Instructions will be provided once on board. 

In Station

  • VIA Rail’s Business lounges will be closed.
  • Restaurants in VIA Rail owned stations will be closed and customers will only have access to vending machines where available. 

Flexibility for Passengers

For maximum flexibility, we have extended our cancellation policy to include all travel through May 31, 2020. Passengers can cancel or modify their reservation at any time prior to departure and receive a full refund in addition to not incurring any service charges, regardless of when they purchased their ticket. This includes all travel up to and including May 31, 2020, as well as any travel after May 31, 2020, if their outbound train is on or before May 31, 2020.

Passengers showing symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, breathing difficulties) are asked not to travel aboard VIA Rail. If those symptoms develop on board, they are asked to immediately report it to one of our employees.

VIA Rail continues to closely monitor the development of COVID-19 and we remain in close contact with public health agencies and the federal and provincial governments. 

The most recent updates are available at Via Rail Canada.

March 29, 2020 Update:

In light of the announcement made by the federal government to implement requirements similar to those already in place for Canada’s aviation sector for intercity rail travel in Canada starting March 30, 2020, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) will immediately put the necessary processes in place. 

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, VIA Rail, has been diligently supporting the recommendations and guidelines issued by the Health authorities as well as the federal government. The new measures we are implementing will reinforce our efforts to protect the health and safety of our passengers and employees as we continue to provide the public service in the best possible conditions under those difficult circumstances”, declared Cynthia Garneau, president, and Chief executive officer of VIA Rail Canada.

VIA Rail is communicating with passengers that have existing tickets as well as with passengers making new reservations to ensure that they are advised that a series of health checks will be conducted by VIA Rail employees with customers before boarding our trains. This will include asking simple health questions and looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding.

Passengers will be denied boarding Via Rail trains if:

  • They are experiencing symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing).
  • They have been denied boarding for travel in the last 14 days due to medical reasons related to COVID-19

In the event the passenger meets one of those criteria, VIA Rail will refuse boarding and travel for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the traveler’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19. VIA Rail will also recommend that the passenger follows guidance from local health authorities.

Image: Les routes sans fin(s) on Unsplash

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