On May 16, 2023, the federal government announced that it was appointing Mario Péloquin to fill the position of President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada, for a five-year term beginning on June 12. The position has been vacant since the resignation of Cynthia Garneau last May, with VIA Rail’s Chief Commercial Officer, Martin R. Landry, serving as interim CEO until April 2023.
Mario Péloquin is a career railroad and transit leader who started his career with CN, becoming Chief Rail Traffic Controller before moving on to work in rail safety for Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board. His career spans the Canadian rail and bus industries, including Siemens, Nova Bus and recently coordinating the successful ONxpress bid for the GO Expansion On-Corridor Works project.
Transport Action has also collaborated with him in the past. In his role at the City of Ottawa between 2001 and 2004, he oversaw the implementation of the original O-Train, now the Trillium Line, which we championed.
Mario Péloquin also currently serves on the boards of the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium, Canadian Urban Transit Association, the Toronto Railway Club, and the Canadian Association of Railway Suppliers.
The appointment of a railway and transit leader is particularly welcome at this time, because VIA Rail has several major projects active, including deployment of the new Venture train fleet and a new reservation system, and is moving towards procurement for new long distance and regional trains. With the delivery of the fleet corridor fleet, there will be many opportunities to enhance service, including restoring frequencies that have been suspend due to equipment shortages, but Mr. Péloquin will also be taking on challenges that have long hampered passenger rail in Canada, including access to additional network paths to meet growing travel demand, and on-time dispatching by host railways to provide passengers with reliable schedules.
Transport Action continues to be concerned that there are longstanding unfilled vacancies on the VIA Rail Canada board of directors, and hopes the government will also soon move to fill those positions, adding railway experience depth to the board’s current breadth.