VIA Rail Canada

VIA Rail Canada is an independent intercity passenger rail services provider that has its headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. The company serves more than 450 communities with a network of inter-city, transcontinental and regional trains. It operates a total of 480 trains in eight of the provinces of Canada. The only exceptions to its operations are Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. With over 12,500 kilometers of rail network, VIA Rail Canada is able to transport an average of four million passengers each year. The majority of the routes run along the Quebec City–Windsor Corridor line.

Like other railway systems, VIA Rail Canada offers different types of service. The Economy class has accommodation located in the coach cars. Passengers are not designated specific seats but are assigned to different train cars according to their destinations. Some of the seats can face backwards. The business class in VIA Rail Canada is the first class accommodation that offers individually reserved seats and more space for passengers. Finally, the Sleeper is a class used by passengers who are on long voyages. The Sleeper class has berth sections and bedrooms with bunk beds and private washrooms.

The company began its operations as the Canadian National’s Passenger Subsidiary VIA Rail. In 1978, it became a distinct Crown Corporation. At present, it is known as the national passenger rail service of Canada, and one of its major goals is to provide environmentally sound services. In fact, environmental issues have become a central part of the company’s planning and accountability policy. VIA Rail has set specific and sensible targets to enhance its environmental performance for one year, as laid out in its business plan.

Passenger rail is regarded a socially responsible means of transportation as it reduces the emission of greenhouse gas. In the case of VIA Rail Canada, its fuel consumption has been cut down by 25 percent per passenger-kilometer since 1990. As a result, the greenhouse gas emissions are lessened by 13 percent. This feat is accomplished by implementing various innovations to modernize the transcontinental equipment and more recently, the purchase of 21 new greener locomotives.

VIA Rail Canada reduced the environmental impact of the train maintenance processes. Its biggest maintenance center, which is located in Montreal, received an environmental practice ISO certification in 2004. Since 2008, all maintenance teams have reduced the amount of chemicals used in the maintenance processes by almost 50 percent.

Aside from these, VIA Rail Canada has management systems that encourage recycling. Its procurement manual emphasizes the use of environmentally friendly products in all of its business activities. A specific example of this is the use of recycled paper for onboard products such as toilet paper and train schedules. Even the coffee served in the trains is fair trade coffee, which is in support of eco-friendly and sustainable agriculture.

Commuters can be sure to rely on train travel as a convenient and cost-efficient means of transportation. Not only does it help avoid traffic jams, but it is also a more environmentally responsible way to travel.