Mongeau: CN not to blame for VIA’s problems

May 21, 2016

By Claude Mongeau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian National Railway, Special to Postmedia Network,

The portrayal of CN Rail as a major obstacle to Via Rail’s business success in a series of recent articles in The Free Press is not supported by the facts.Website Insert Perfect Answer copy

First, CN does not impose “exorbitant fees” on Via for the use of its tracks. CN provides the passenger rail carrier with track access to its network at fee rates that are the lowest in the rail passenger sector in Canada. Those fees barely cover the incremental maintenance cost necessary to accommodate higher passenger train speeds in the Quebec-Montreal-Toronto-Windsor-Sarnia corridor (known as the Via Corridor).

Similarly misleading is the assertion in the article If Via gets you across nation on time, buy a lottery ticket (May 18) that Via’s lower on-time performance on the transcontinental Vancouver-to-Toronto train is another example of CN’s failings as a host carrier. This train, called the Canadian, travels in part on CN’s heavily-used single-track freight network across Northern Ontario and the four western provinces.

A more relevant approach would focus on Via’s on-time performance in the Via Corridor on CN’s network in central Canada. In that denser passenger train service area, where much double-track infrastructure exists to provide greater capacity, Via’s trains have arrived on-time 80 per cent of the time so far this year (as measured against demanding schedules and tight tolerances).

Click here to read the complete editorial rebuttal.


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