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Inquiry Sought Into VIA Rail Holiday Travel Chaos

By Allan Dearing Jan 27, 2023 | 7:26 AM

The head of Transport Action Atlantic appeared before the House of Commons transport committee on Thursday examining the travel chaos over the recent Christmas season.

Tim Hayman told the committee that he wants a full investigation into VIA Rail’s abysmal performance.

“To determine where government, VIA Rail management and the host railways have failed and to recommend immediate action to address this national embarrassment.”

A severe storm brought down trees and other debris onto the rail line between Rivière-du-Loup and Campbellton (a line known as the Mont-Joli subdivision).

CN Rail owns the lines and is responsible for clearing them although staff had apparently gone home for the holidays.

This blockage prevented Hayman and other passengers on The Ocean between Montreal and Halifax (in both eastbound and westbound directions) from reaching their destinations in time for Christmas.

Both trains were eventually forced to return to their places of origin.

“We hope that actions under consideration will include better contingency planning at VIA Rail, a re-examination of the train service agreement between VIA and CN, as well as adequate government funding to VIA Rail to address equipment and staff shortages that may have contributed to this situation.”

Hayman also called for adopting protection standards for rail passengers similar to what is in place for air passengers.


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