One has to wonder when The Canadian’s resiliency will be exhausted and the train will be on the chopping block.
In late 2008, I had the opportunity to examine the confidential financial data on The Canadian and I found it was then recovering about 75% of its costs year-round and actually showing an above-the-rail profit during the peak season from late April through late October. That’s better than most Canadian urban transit systems.
Then, CN forced the first schedule lengthening upon VIA and no one in Ottawa stood up to CN’s bullying on behalf of our publicly-owned rail passenger service. This first schedule lengthening badly damaged The Canadian’s cost recovery due to the extra crew hours and meal costs required, which could not be recovered by raising the already sky-high fares on the train.
The Canadian’s poor on-time performance and the publicity this has generated have now damaged the train in terms of the travel industry’s willingness to recommend it to international tourists.
Is anyone in Ottawa ever going to get involved in this and call a halt to the destruction of a nationally symbolic train that, despite all the ham-handed treatment it has received from VIA, CN and Ottawa, still manages to attract not just international travellers with big budgets, but also some hardy Canadians who still depend on it for basic transportation?
VIA again adjusts “Canadian” schedule:
On Track Strategies