June 23, 2020


From January 1 to December 31, 2019


All Train Routes

Over 5 million passengers | Total Ridership up 5.5% over 2018


4.7 million passengers | 5.5% increase over 2018


MONTRÉAL, June 23, 2020 – With a record breaking five million passengers travelling by train in 2019, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announced today that it recorded its highest annual ridership in the last three decades. This represents a 5.5 % increase in passengers compared to 2018.  

Reimagining the Canadian journey

 “We are gratified and inspired by the confidence so many Canadians placed in VIA Rail last year and are determined to be part of their travel plans as we emerge from the pandemic.” said VIA Rail Chairperson of the Board, Françoise Bertrand. “These positive results reflect our commitment to being the smarter way to travel in Canada. As we continue to move forward with the modernization of Canada’s passenger rail service, we always keep in mind what is at the heart of our actions: to move people safely and sustainably. We thank the Government of Canada for their ongoing support for VIA Rail’s transformation and remain committed to modernizing our services and infrastructure in the years ahead.”  

Looking ahead

“While we take pride in what we accomplished together last year, we are also very much aware of the challenges we have been facing in recent months,” said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO. “The blockades and the developing coronavirus situation have had a significant impact not only on our passengers’ travel plans but also on many VIA Rail employees. I would like to take a moment to thank our team for their efforts and resilience during this challenging start of 2020.” concluded Cynthia Garneau.


Fleet Replacement Program and High frequency Rail Proposal

“I have been at the head of VIA Rail for a year, and what a humbling and rewarding experience it has been,” stated Cynthia Garneau. “Our impressive results both in ridership and revenues demonstrate that we continue to meet our passengers needs and expectations. However, we are always striving to do even better. As a result, we remain focused on the development of our transformative projects, such as the Corridor Fleet Replacement Program and High Frequency Rail (HFR) proposal. Our immediate challenge, however, is to convince Canadians that we are the safe way to travel as our response to the COVID-19 virus evolves.” 

HFR is VIA Rail’s proposal to transform passenger rail service in Canada. It would allow new trains to operate on a dedicated track between major centers (Québec City-Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto).

VIA Rail is fully engaged with the Joint Project Office (JPO) established between VIA Rail Canada and the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB).


Linking more than 400 communities from coast to coast to coast

VIA Rail plays an important role in Canada’s socio-economic development, linking more than 400 communities from coast to coast to coast, providing essential transportation services to rural communities and employing thousands of Canadians throughout the country. As part of its commercial activities, VIA Rail contributes to community development by partnering with communities and supporting projects, events, fundraising campaigns and activities. 

Providing accessible transportation for all Canadians

VIA Rail is committed to being one of the most accessible modes of transport in Canada and is proud of the collaborative partnerships it has built with organizations that represent people with functional limitations or disabilities. Our accessibility projects begin with gaining a deeper knowledge of the challenges, concerns, and needs of our passengers, their families, and their companion travelers.

VIA Rail’s annual report is available at: https://media.viarail.ca/sites/default/files/publications/2019%20VIA%20RAIL%20AR_ENGLISH.pdf


About VIA Rail

As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail (viarail.ca) and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the “About VIA Rail” section at https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail.