October 20, 2020
VIA RAIL ANNOUNCES A GRADUAL SERVICE RESUMPTION IN WESTERN CANADA
MONTRÉAL, October 20, 2020 – VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announces the gradual return to service in Western Canada by providing intercity transportation exclusively between Winnipeg and Vancouver as of Friday, December 11, 2020.
After a very thorough evaluation of its health and safety protocols, including physical distancing measures, enhanced air ventilation systems, and improved measures for passenger access and the protection of its employees, one weekly round-trip will thus be offered on this portion of the Canadian route.
"The health and safety of passengers and our employees remains our top priority. We are offering our customers in Western Canada an additional choice in regions where intercity transportation is more limited as a result of this pandemic," said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO.
VIA Rail deploys a strict protocol of sanitary measures on board its trains, in its stations, maintenance centres and call centres to deal with the pandemic and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Our teams continue to apply the latest health and safety guidelines and are evaluating VIA Rail’s overall service offering in the context of the pandemic. Thus, in the event of major changes related to the health crisis, VIA Rail will revise its service offering in line with the latest developments.
VIA Rail remains committed to a full recovery of its long-distance service for Western Canada, the Canadian, providing service between Toronto-Vancouver, and will continue to work closely with public health authorities as well as the federal and provincial governments to ensure this occurs as quickly as possible.
All passengers with reservations affected by this progressive resumption of service will be contacted and reimbursed automatically. To facilitate cancellations and refunds, we’ve extended our cancellation policy to include all travel through December 31, 2020, to allow passengers to cancel their upcoming reservations autonomously online at any time prior to departure and receive a full refund in addition to not incurring any service charges, regardless of when the ticket was purchased.
Alternatively, customers may contact the VIA Customer Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1-888-842-7245), TTY 1-800-268-9503 (hearing impaired). Due to the current situation related to COVID-19, the VIA Customer Centre is open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday and it may take some time to speak with an agent due to a reduction in staff.
Wearing a mask is required at all times in our stations and on board VIA Rail trains. For the health and safety of all passengers and employees, passengers who do not wear a mask during their trip will be required to disembark the train or will be refused entry upon boarding.
Wearing a mask over the nose and mouth is one more way we can protect one another and will help us safeguard the travel experience of our passengers and employees. Since ramping up service levels in the Québec City-Windsor corridor, all enhanced health safety measures introduced during the pandemic have been maintained, including enhanced cleaning, pre-boarding screening of travellers, modified onboard services.
Furthermore, we constantly remind our passengers and employees of the importance of following the recommendations of public health authorities, to avoid non-essential travel, practice physical distancing as much as possible, and to rigorously follow good hygiene practices (wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of the arm, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth without first washing their hands).
Passengers will be denied boarding our trains if they are experiencing symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or if they have been denied boarding for travel in the last 14 days due to medical reasons related to COVID-19.
The most recent updates are available on our website.
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.