Thursday, January 15, 2015

25 Years Ago Today

It's hard to believe that January 15, 1990 was 25 years ago today. That was the day that the huge cuts to VIA Rail took effect and many routes were lost or curtailed.

I wasn't a railfan then, but I was aware of the magnitude of the cuts, at least. I know many railfans made the effort to make "last rides" on many routes - they rode the RDCs to Yarmouth, NS; the Canadian through Calgary and Regina; and many other trains that no longer run.

VIA Rail has never recovered. Periodic capital injections have allowed them to refurbish or replace aging equipment, but service has never come anywhere close to the levels it provided prior to 1990/01/15.

One could make a convincing argument that service outside the Quebec City-Montreal-Toronto Corridor continues to decline. The Canadian is rarely on time any more (and only runs twice/week in the winter); the Ocean is running only three days a week (although VIA did run extra Oceans at Christmas last year, a welcome start); and Vancouver Island's Malahat and the Gaspé's Chaleur are on indefinite hiatus.

To support passenger rail, and public transit in general, please support groups like Transport Action (formerly Transport 2000) and Le Groupe Traq. Talk to your MP and your MLA. Ride the trains!

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