People at VIA Rail

We are happy to introduce you to people at VIA Rail who help make your travel experience an amazing one.

Nancy Tapp

General Worker, Maintenance Service

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I’ve worked at VIA for two years but I had maintenance contracts with VIA at my previous company.


What do you do at VIA Rail? What are the challenges of your job?

I am a general worker, currently in a position in the maintenance department.


What do you like about your job?

I had my own maintenance company for 24 years before starting at VIA. I like what I do and know that I do it well. I enjoy that my work has an impact on the passengers.


What’s your favourite route or destination?

I’d like to see Halifax on the Ocean.

Mark Hopkins

Officer, Operations Control

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I’ve worked at VIA for 33 years, always in the Operations Centre.


What do you do at VIA Rail? What are the challenges of your job?

I am the crew controller. I manage the team of locomotive engineers onboard the trains. I ensure that all the trains leave on time with two engineers across Canada.


What do you like about your job?

Even though everyone at Operations Control Centre has a different job, the fact remains that if an incident occurs everyone helps each other and becomes one team to manage the situation. Everyone’s contributions make a difference.


What’s your favourite route or destination?

I have travelled the country to Vancouver on the Canadian ten times! It’s a relaxing experience and the scenery is magnificent. The people that you meet onboard come from all over the world. The bonds and experiences it creates are special.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

We spend so much time together that our colleagues become a second family. We know each other’s children and have watched them grow up. We share the important moments in our lives. I have spent many Christmases with my colleagues, which is typical with our type of work and unusual schedules.

Michel Mailloux

Agent at the VIA Customer Centre

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I’ve worked at VIA for 33 years. I started in the CN era, before VIA took over passenger transport.


What do you do at VIA Rail? What are the challenges of your job?

I am an agent at the VIA Customer Centre, and have been since 1991. When I started, I worked in the courier department at CN, then I spend several years as a senior station agent.


What do you like about your job?

I like being able to identify the needs of the customer and give them the best service possible. Their travel experience starts as soon as the call starts. I like ending a call and feeling like I’ve made everyone happy and that the customer got even more than they were looking for. That’s why I don’t hesitate to spend the necessary time on the phone with them.


What’s your favourite route or destination?

I have taken the Canadian twice. The people you meet onboard come from all over the world, and the length of the trip lets you share the experience with them.

Jacques Provost

Lead Electrician

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I’ve worked at VIA for 38 years.


What do you do at VIA Rail? What are the challenges of your job?

I am a Lead Electrician, but in 38 years I’ve done everything! I’ve done electricity for buildings, on the locomotives, in the electronics lab, in the car department.


What do you like about your job?

I like the diversity. One day I might be called to do what we call a train riding, and the next day I might meet a locomotive en route for a repair. You have to use your head to find an engine problem. I feel satisfied when I know that I’ve found the problem and I know that it’s fixed and won’t happen again.


What’s your favourite route or destination?

I like the train to Halifax, which I often take on vacation with my family.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

VIA is a family affair. My daughters also work for VIA in Ottawa!

Chantal Samson

General Worker

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I’ve worked at VIA for three months. It’s a new career for me.


What brought you to VIA Rail?

I worked as a bus driver for a long time, for passenger busses. I wanted to learn something else. Engines fascinate me, and I get to ask a lot of questions. I am very curious.


What do you like about your job?

I have always liked working with the public. The platforms are always so alive! I like that we work a lot as a team.


What’s your favourite route or destination?

I haven’t had the chance to travel very far on the train yet, but I expect I’ll take the Canadian to see the Rockies in the next two years. I can’t wait to live the passenger experience and see the impact everyone’s work has onboard, and see if there is anything in my work I can change.

Pierre Bigaouette

Electrician

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I have worked for VIA for 18 years and have been in the rail industry for 35.


What do you do at VIA Rail and what are the challenges of your job?

I am an Electrician - Lead Hand at Montreal Station, but I also worked a lot in facility management and rolling stock modification.


What do you like about your job?

Ensuring that everything is working well to make the most enjoyable and safest trip possible for our passengers and onboard employees, despite the tight time constraints between when the train enters and leaves the station.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

When we first received the Renaissance equipment, me and some other employees tested and took the train to Halifax for the first time. We lived and slept onboard for several days!

Samy-Mounir Amiri

Officer - Operations Planning

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I have worked at VIA for 14 years.


What do you do at VIA Rail and what are the challenges of your job?

I am an Officer - Operations Planning (“VIA Top” to the regulars.) I make the link between operations, the engineers, maintenance, and the service coordinator. My work is like a Kinder Surprise: you never know what to expect. Making the trains leave on time, no matter what, is a point of pride


What do you like about your job?

I enjoy dealing with the different departments, and the people I work with every day.


What’s your favourite route or destination?

I like Jonquière for the scenery and the people who live there. You find a lot of kindness and warmth.

Sandra Legacy

Service Manager - Corridor, Commercial - Central Canada

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I have worked at VIA for 15 years.


What do you like about working on the train?

The train is a nice, relaxing way to travel and enjoy great scenery. I love my job! My favorite part is being able to witness to love and happiness when people are finally reunited with their loved ones. Watching a child running into their parents’ arms or the embrace of two people in love, it's the best!


Do you have a favourite route or view from the train?

I prefer heading east towards Ottawa and Montreal.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

I have lots of train stories, but I will keep them to myself :-)

Jenna Roy

Senior Service Attendant, Eastern Canda

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I have been working for VIA Rail for 11 years in On board services out of Halifax.


What do you like about working on the train?

I enjoy the landscape, my colleagues, and of course, the passengers we meet on the train.


Do you have a favourite route or view from the train?

My two favourite spots on The Ocean’s route are the Baie-Des-Chaleurs on train 14/15 and the Bedford Basin on train 14.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

Working on The Ocean is a unique environment in that we live with each other for days at a time. I just returned to work from maternity leave. Returning to work after having a baby isn't easy but knowing that I'm coming back to my train family makes me happy. Even the passengers ask me about my baby! There's a whole lot of love out there in the world, we can't forget that :)

Carole L'Espérance

Senior Service Attendant

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I have worked at VIA for 12 years.


What do you like about working on the train?

Meeting the different people onboard the trains.


Do you have a favourite route or view from the train?

I love travelling to Quebec City because of the landscapes and the bridges. When you come in to Montreal from Quebec City you get a beautiful view of the city from the Victoria Bridge.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

A group of 6 girls were taking the train on their way to a bachelorette party and they invited me along to participate in the activities. They were showing me pictures of their boyfriends earlier in the trip, and by the time we arrived in Montreal they wanted me to tag along for the celebrations. In just the space of a train ride I became part of their group!

Barsenet Demissie

Senior Service Attendant

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I have worked at VIA Rail on board for 10 years and am looking forward to many more exciting adventures on the VIA trains.


What do you like about working on the train?

I grew up loving trains. I used to take the train to see my Grandma once a year.What I like about the train is how laid back and stress free it is. I love the scenery (the lakes, mountains, trees, green fields, and beautiful small towns you pass by) you get to see from the comfort of your seat. I love the people from all walks of life that you meet on board and get to chat with. From the crew on board, to the food and drinks, to the time to read your favorite book or watch a movie, the list is endless: I love it all.


Do you have a favourite route or view from the train?

I love train 60 because it's an early train leaving Toronto. I always try to watch the sunrise over Lake Ontario when I am on that train. I also love to watch the sunset over Cobourg Beach on train 66. It's one of my favorite views from the train. Watching the children run to greet their parents as they get off the train or other passengers run towards their loved ones for hugs and kisses is priceless.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

A woman and her son got on the train in Business Class. They were very friendly and I had the chance to chat with them after service. I told the little boy that I had a small child at home who was about his age. He asked me a lot of questions, like how old I was—he thought I was 10 (the biggest number he knew). He sang me his favorite nursery rhyme and I gave him chocolates and the cardboard trains to play with. When we arrived at his stop, the boy asked his Mom, "Can we take her home?"

Sylvain Chouinard

Station Attendant

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I've been working at VIA since July 1988, 28 years ago!


What do you like about working in a VIA Rail train station?

The customers, no two days are ever the same. Over the years I’ve had many different jobs at the station.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

There are so many!

Dhamayanthy Kirupairajah

Ticket counter agent

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I've been working at VIA for 8 years.


What do you like about working in a VIA station?

The freedom to work in a flexible environment. Talking with people, make the little extra step to make them feel special.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

There's something special everyday!

Sylvie Bourbonnière

On-Train service attendant

How long have you worked for VIA Rail?

I have been working at VIA for a little over eight years.


What do you like about working on the train?

As the French song goes: "We always take a train to somewhere!" Travelling helps you discover new places and meet new people: every day is a new journey!


Do you have a favourite route or view from the train?

I am usually very busy serving passengers, but I always take a few moments to watch the sunset, admire Lake Ontario or look at the wildlife along the tracks.


Is there a particular story you would like to share?

When you work in customer service, you have a lot of stories, that’s for sure. I don’t have one in particular to share here, but I’ve met more famous and inspiring people on the train than I ever would have in my day-to-day life: ex and future Prime Ministers, astronauts, athletes, singers and many others!