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Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

July 8, 2020

Via Rail is temporarily laying off about 1,000 unionized employees as the company copes with interrupted routes and reduced travel demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Unfortunately, as we don't anticipate ridership to be back to pre-COVID-19 levels in the foreseeable future, we had to make difficult decisions to deal with the situation as we gain a better understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on our operations," Cynthia Garneau, Via's president and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday.

The layoffs take effect on July 24. Affected employees will receive a temporary written layoff notice that respects their collective agreement's terms, the Montreal-based company said. It will maintain access to different programs for the employees.

The company is working to advance its service resumption plan and has seen some recent positive developments, though many routes remain interrupted.

Winnipeg to Churchill is the sole route in service, according to Via Rail's website, which was last updated June 26.

Several routes have partially resumed, while Toronto to Niagara Falls, Toronto to Vancouver, and Montreal to Halifax remain interrupted with all trains cancelled. Some of those routes are slated to resume service Nov. 1.

Via Rail said it plans to bring back employees "as soon as the customer demand allows it."

 
More maintenance activity on the Havelock Sub.

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Via to temporarily layoff about 1,000 workers as pandemic impacts its business

July 8, 2020

Via Rail is temporarily laying off about 1,000 unionized employees as the company copes with interrupted routes and reduced travel demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

[...]
Just in case if you were worrying for me in the same way as many of my friends who heard this news were: I am not unionized and work in the timetabling department, where we've just implemented our seventh timetable change this year today (to compare: we usually have only 4 timetable changes in a normal year, of which 2 are just adjusting the timings for all stations in Saskatchewan, as these clever people don't participate in the annual idiocy called "Daylight Saving Time"), which means we are experiencing a rather busy year. However, with only 25% of the regularly scheduled train-mileage being operated at the moment, you can imagine that it is very difficult to keep the entire workforce of your locomotive engineers, mechanics or on-train, station and call center staff active and the best way to do so is by adding additional trains, like we've did with trains 28 and 35 (as a second daily round-trip between Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa) today...


The video certainly raises some valid points, even though I had to laugh when he called Canadian Pacific the (prior to VIA's inception) largest passenger railroad in Canada, without mentioning Canadian National (you know, the actual largest passenger railroad in pre-VIA Canada and owner of more than 80% of the rail network VIA operates on) even once in the entire video. However, he did thankfully point out that the new fleet and HFR addresses the most pressing issues with Canada's passenger rail network (i.e. frequency, punctuality and reliability) where it matters most (i.e. in the Corridor)...


More maintenance activity on the Havelock Sub.

View attachment 257300
Just before some people get too excited here: this has nothing to do with HFR yet... ;)
 
Not only that, its probably all going to get ripped out and re-done when HFR construction begins as they will want it to be Class 6 rail.

CP continues to do maintenance that is necessary to maintain freight operation. But I'm sure they are very judicious about what is necessary and what is only nice-to-do.

No different than how one might maintain a car that will come off lease in six months.....

- Paul
 

Link from above filtered through Google Translate:


Essentially, Minister Champagne is on a bit of rant that Mayors along the route and both provincial governments need to make the case to Ottawa that the project is important.
 
^ Wonder if we'll hear the same from any Ontario Minister or MP. You'd think with the amount of commuting they do to Ottawa they'd really get the benefits of HFR. Plus, I wonder if some of them are thinking is better to travel by train than plane in the covid-19 world.
 
^ Wonder if we'll hear the same from any Ontario Minister or MP. You'd think with the amount of commuting they do to Ottawa they'd really get the benefits of HFR. Plus, I wonder if some of them are thinking is better to travel by train than plane in the covid-19 world.

You should see how many of them travel by air. They don't give a damn about HFR. And HFR becoming a reality would hurt their Air Canada Elite status.
 

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