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Canada’s Passenger Railways: Moving People

Rail offers Canadians a comfortable, affordable and environmentally friendly way to travel. Each year, tens of millions of passengers travel on Canada’s intercity, commuter, and tourist railways. In 2019, commuter railways in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec transported a record 101.9 million passengers.

Each year, tens of millions of passengers travel on Canada’s railways.

The Better Way to Get from Point A to Point B

Canada is one of the largest countries in the world and that means Canadians spend a lot of time getting from point A to point B. Fortunately, passenger rail gives Canadians an efficient and sustainable alternative to car travel. Rail offers shorter travel times, increased comfort, and helps to decrease road congestion and vehicle accidents, all while reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.

Connecting Communities From Coast to Coast

VIA Rail operates Canada’s national passenger rail service on behalf of the Government of Canada. An independent Crown corporation established in 1977, VIA Rail provides a safe, cost-effective and environmentally responsible service from coast to coast in both official languages. The corporation operates hundreds of trains weekly on a 12,500 km network, connecting over 400 Canadian communities. With over 3,000 employees, VIA Rail carried 5 million passengers in 2019 and 1.1 million in 2020.

Passenger railways don’t just serve millions of Canadians, they also provide visitors to Canada with an unbeatable view of our beautiful country. More than 300,000 tourists choose to take the train every year (pre-COVID-19 pandemic), making our railways key to Canada’s tourism industry. Around 140,000 U.S. residents also travel to Canada by train each year.