Railways 101

Canada’s Passenger Railways: Moving People

Rail offers Canadians a comfortable, affordable and environmentally friendly way to travel. Each year, more than 84 million passengers travel on Canada’s railways, and demand for commuter service is on the rise. More than 79 million commuters rode the rails in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec in 2016—a 3 per cent increase over the previous year.

Each year, more than 84 million passengers travel on Canada’s railways, and demand for commuter service is on the rise.

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. In fact, we each drive an average of almost 16,000 kilometres every year. 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 close to 494 train departures weekly on a 12,500 km network, connecting over 400 Canadian communities. With approximately 2,700 active employees, VIA Rail carried 3.97 million passengers in 2016.

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 360,000 tourists choose to take the train every year, making our railways key to Canada’s tourism industry. Around 146,000 U.S. residents also travel to Canada by train each year—28 per cent more than a decade ago.