Canada: VIA Rail suspends the Canadian and Ocean routes because of COVID-19

A press release from VIA Rail Canada; March 13, 2020:

MONTRÉAL, March 13, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – In light of the ongoing efforts deployed by the public health authorities to limit the COVID-19 propagation and following the cruise ships season suspension announced earlier today by Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) is suspending its Canadian and Ocean operations, its long distance Eastern and Western routes, until Friday, March 27, inclusively.

“This exceptional preventive measure was made to help minimize the risk of contamination to the best of our ability. The government’s recommendations on social distancing and travel limitations is in line with our Illness Control Plan, which is focused on the health and safety of our passengers and employees,” said Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO.

“I apologize for any inconvenience this difficult decision has caused our customers and employees and thank them for their understanding and patience”, continued Cynthia Garneau. “I also want to specify that we will keep offering our regional services to remote communities until further notice, with updated schedules and conditions. As for other services, we are evaluating all possible options as the situation continues to evolve.”

Train 15 which left Halifax this Friday, March 13, will make it to Montréal, its final destination.
Train 14, scheduled to depart Montréal at 7 p.m., is cancelled.
Train 2 departure scheduled for this Friday, March 13, is also cancelled.

Via Rail continues to deploy additional strict cleanliness and hygiene protocols for its other trains in operation as long as they are in use.

This decision results in the cancellation of 22 trains and affects over 1,800 passengers.

Overview of services*

Route Service
Montréal-Toronto Full service
Toronto- London-Windsor
Toronto-Niagara Falls
Québec City-Montréal-Ottawa
The Ocean (Montréal-Halifax) Cancelled until March 27 inclusively
The Canadian (Toronto-Vancouver) Cancelled until March 27 inclusively
The Canadian (Vancouver-Toronto) Cancelled until March 27 inclusively
Prince Rupert-Prince George-Jasper Cancelled until March 31 inclusively

*This information is subject to change without notice

Flexibility for clients
Passengers who choose to change their travel plan will be accommodated. For maximum flexibility, passengers can cancel or modify their reservation at any time prior to departure during the month of March and April and receive a full refund in addition to not incurring any service charges, regardless of when they purchased their ticket. This includes all travel up to and including April 30, 2020, as well as any travel after April 30, 2020, if their outbound train is on or before April 30, 2020.

VIA Rail continues to closely monitor the development of COVID-19 and we remain in close contact with public health agencies and the federal and provincial governments.

The most recent updates are available on our website.

About VIA Rail
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail ( and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. The Corporation has been awarded five Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2007. Visit the “About VIA Rail” section at

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SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

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