Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

  by SouthernRailway
I read a few articles recently about the multiple non-VIA passenger trains in Canada. From what I understand (as an American), some are run by other government-funded railroads, but others are run by non-government entities, such as First Nation investors and others.

(1) Is my understanding correct: that Canada has regularly scheduled passenger trains that aren't government-funded (and aren't just tourist trains)?
(2) If so, how do these trains stay in business? Do they run through areas where there aren't transportation alternatives, so they have enough traffic and charge fares sufficient to make money? Or are they just run by private entities for various reasons, even though they lose money?

  by Ken V
All of the non-VIA operated scheduled passenger services receive some level of funding from the Government of Canada and none makes enough money through fares alone to be self-sufficient. Most of these trains run through remote areas, as do some VIA services, that are not easily accessible by other means. The one non-VIA train that travels along a route that also has good road access, ONR's Northlander, is supported by the Province of Ontario. As a side note, the First Nations groups that run a couple of these railroads can be considered to be government entities as well.
  by bitf
Actually, all lines receive some government money

-Ontario Northland is owned by the Government of Ontario
-Algoma Central's (a division of CN) non-tourist train passenger operations are subsidized by Transport Canada.
-Tshiuetin Rail Transportation is owned by local First Nations and funded by Transport Canada
-Keewatin Railway is funded by Via Rail, which has a legal obligation to operate service between the Pas and Pukatawagan which Keewatin has taken over under agreement with Via. Which is why the passenger cars are owned and serviced by Via and this route is on Via's website and route maps, but they can't sell you a ticket for it. They will refer you to the office of the First Nations owned Keewatin.
-CN operates a short service along the former British Columbia Railway between Lillooet and nearby Seton Portage/D'Arcy (about 30 km). From what I've read it's sort of a rail school bus, if that's the case Seton Lake First Nation, which is responsible for everything except operating the train received money from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to cover Student transportation according to their 2009-2010 funding schedule. You apparently can by tickets on it and apparently it's a nice trip. They use very interesting units. (pics at http://www.canadianrailwayobservations. ... /cpr10.htm)
-This list excludes commuter rail lines (GO, AMT, WCE)