Regular readers here know that I am a big fan of VIA Rail’s long distance service. Furthermore, I can speak with some authority having traveled on The Skeena (Jasper-Prince Rupert), The Hudson Bay (Winnipeg-Churchill), The Ocean (Halifax-Montreal) and, of course, the company’s flagship, The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver). It’s been my pleasure to have been a passenger on that wonderful train nine times.
For years now, there have been periodic rumors floated that VIA is going to stop operating their long-distance service. Those rumors took on new life when VIA shut down the long distance trains through the COVID-era, while Amtrak chose to muddle through.
That, of course, prompted new predictions that VIA had given up on its long-distance service. That speculation has been revived recently because, while Amtrak has continued to operate, VIA’s long-distance service remains shut down and there is still no official word on when it will resume.
The fact is, VIA is ready to resume their long-distance service. The problem has been getting approval from the several provincial health boards . . . or, more specifically, getting those boards to agree one one set of guidelines.
In the meantime—and this is the very good news—VIA has used these past several months to do extensive work on that wonderful vintage equipment. Not a superficial refurbishing, says my impeccable source, but “more an investment into the viability of the equipment from an operational perspective (under carriage)”. In other words, they’ve been doing serious maintenance to ensure their long-distance equipment will be serviceable for many years into the future.
I had a reservation for my 10th trip on The Canadian this past April, but it, along with all the rest of my plans, had to be cancelled. I’ll do my best to reschedule as soon as the service resumes and additional travel plans can be organized.