The Canadian train will resume service across its entire route from Vancouver to Toronto on May 17th 2021 and Toronto to Vancouver starting on May 23rd, operating once weekly in each direction, to provide much-needed public transport for essential journeys between communities along the line.
Rigorous health and safety protocols, including physical distancing measures, enhanced air ventilation system, and limiting the range of on board services have made it possible for VIA Rail to resume the service. However, VIA Rail is also fully aware of the current surge in Covid-19 cases, and would of course revise its plans and service offerings in line with the latest developments in the event of major changes related to the pandemic.
The travel options will continue to be economy coaches, with limited seating, and sleeper cabins. No open section berths are being sold, are there will be no access to domes or activity cars. Breakfast and dinner in the dining car will be by reservation, and lunch will be brought to the cabin for sleeper class passengers. Showers are available, with thorough cleaning between each passenger. The company continues reminding passengers of the importance of following public health recommendations, avoiding non-essential travel, practicing physical distancing as much as possible, and rigorously following good hygiene practices.
Full details of the on board service offering and public health precautions can be found on the Canadian page of VIA Rail’s website.
This service resumption, building upon the resumption of weekly services between Vancouver and Winnipeg on December 11th 2020, continues to be a service designed to serve Canadians who need to travel, and VIA Rail is not promoting the service to leisure travellers at this time.
“Over the past year, we have continuously sought to find a balance between offering to the best of our abilities essential travel options while following the guidelines and recommendations from public health authorities, as well as federal and provincial governments. With health and safety at the heart of our actions, the resumption of one full weekly round-trip service on the Canadian allows us to continue to provide an essential service to Canadians needing to travel on this route.”Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO, VIA Rail Canada.
Transport Action Canada welcomes the resumption of this essential service to communities across Northern Ontario, but also asks anybody who is yearning to take a leisure trip across Canada to wait, we hope just a little longer, until the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control.
The policy of flexible cancellations for all VIA Rail fares has been extended until to September 15th 2021, allowing passengers to cancel their upcoming reservations online at any time prior to departure, and receive a full refund without incurring any service charges. VIA Rail has also extended status for VIA Preference Privilège and Premier members, regardless of travel activity, for a further year until April 30, 2022.