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Keeping you up to date
April 23, 2020 - 11:30am
The health and safety of our passengers and employees are, as always, our top priorities. VIA Rail continues to closely monitor the development of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus), and we remain in close contact with health agencies and the federal government. To support the ongoing efforts deployed by the public health authorities across the country to limit the COVID-19 propagation, including recommendations for social distancing and in order to further reduce health risks to our passengers and employees, we announce a reduction of our services as well as additional preventive measures.
Passengers are responsible for keeping themselves informed and respecting the public health orders applicable to them, in particular any travel restrictions, as well as restrictions on access to certain health regions still served by VIA Rail, which could be identified at any time as such by the governments of the various provinces and municipalities.
For more information on the orders applicable in different provinces, please refer to the information available on the Government of Canada website at the following address: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/symptoms/provincial-territorial-resources-covid-19.html
VIA Rail's Position on Masks for passengers
- VIA Rail recognizes that wearing a mask is an additional measure identified by the Public Health Agency of Canada to help reduce the accidental spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets from asymptomatic persons; while wearing a non-medical mask or face covering does not provide protection to the person wearing it, this is an extra measure that all travellers can take to protect those around them, even if they have no symptoms.
- VIA Rail reminds passengers that wearing a non-medical mask or face covering does not in any way diminish or replace the need to observe the other public health practices aimed to reduce exposure to the virus, especially physical distancing when possible and rigorous hand-washing.
- Considering measures already taken on board trains to ensure physical distancing between passengers and crew, VIA Rail is not requiring all passengers to wear masks or face covering at this time, except for passengers arriving from international trips who are using the train to get to their place of quarantine or isolation.
- Although not mandatory and in a view to limit the risks of propagation of COVID-19, VIA Rail nevertheless recommends to all its passengers to wear a non-medical mask or face covering that covers the nose and the mouth when travelling on its trains and when it is impossible to respect a distance of separation of 2 metres with others.
- It is the passengers’ responsibility to bring their non-medical mask or face covering. VIA Rail will not provide masks to passengers, except in some limited circumstances (i.e. for international travellers without mask or face covering or if passengers develop symptoms while en route).
FACE COVERING FOR TRAVELLERS, for details click here.
NEW MEASURES AS OF MONDAY MARCH 30, 2020
A series of health checks will be conducted by VIA Rail employees with customers before boarding our trains. This will include asking simple health question and looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding.
Passengers will be denied boarding our trains if:
- They are experiencing symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing)
- They have been denied boarding for travel in the last 14 days due to medical reasons related to COVID-19
In the event the passenger meets any of these criteria, VIA Rail will refuse boarding and travel for a period of 14 days, or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms the passenger’s symptoms are not related to COVID-19.
Travelling by train in Canada? New COVID-19 restrictions in effect, click here.
MEASURES ALREADY IN PLACE
We’re increasing how often we clean our trains and stations.
We’re distributing antiviral products, such as hand sanitizer, at key points of contact.
Our employees have been trained in additional preventive and reactive measures as recommended by Health Canada.
A dedicated committee is proactively meeting on a regular basis to monitor the level of risk associated with
If you choose to change your travel plans, we understand. We’ve extended our cancellation policy to include all travel through November 1, 2020, to allow you to cancel your reservation at any time prior to departure and receive a full refund in addition to not incurring any service charges, regardless of when you purchased your ticket. You can find more information here.
If you would like to cancel your trip for a full reimbursement, click here.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of disease are things you do yourself.
Wash your hands often.
When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
If you have symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), you are advised to postpone your travel and we ask that you not board the train. If those symptoms develop on-board, immediately report it to one of our employees.
VIA Rail remains vigilant, and our processes and procedures will continue to evolve to respond to the latest COVID-19 information. We’ll be updating this page regularly. For more details information, please read our FAQs below .
For the latest developments on the outbreak in Canada and the risk to Canadians, please consult the Government of Canada’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage on
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this difficult time, as we continue to adapt to this evolving situation.
We have strict cleanliness and hygiene practices for our trains, which entail regular and thorough cleaning of all hard surfaces in our cars including vestibules, washrooms, tray tables, armrests, doors, walls, windows, counters, etc. The regular cleaning products we use are approved by Health Canada and effectively eliminate COVID-19.
However, in order to maintain a safe environment and address passenger concerns, we have enhanced our cleaning protocols.
As of March 17, additional on-board employees will be deployed on all of our trains in order to sanitize our coach cars while in operation. This is in addition to the previously announced enhanced cleaning protocol in effect at terminal stations.
Please note that these additional measures may result in trip delays and late departures.
Be sure to check the status of your train here.
During normal operations, our stations are cleaned once a day. However, in order to maintain a safe environment and address passenger concerns, we’ve enhanced our cleaning protocols and increased our cleaning and disinfecting procedures up to twice daily. We’re also ramping up cleaning protocols for at-risk areas and paying special attention to touch points such as door handles, handrails, elevators, washrooms, switches, etc.
The regular cleaning products we use are approved by Health Canada and effectively eliminate
Our rigorous maintenance and cleaning process already complies with Health Canada standards, and we will continue to strengthen it should the situation require.
As of March 17, VIA Rail will offer modified meal service aboard its trains. In line with the health authorities social distancing guidelines, we will limit the amount of staff and passenger interaction to a minimum and this will include our meal service. All passengers will receive a complimentary snack and water. No other food or beverage service will be offered and passengers with food restrictions are being asked to plan accordingly.
As of March 23, Business class service will no longer be offered on any of our routes. In our stations, we will be closing all Business lounges and restaurants will not be operating.
The health and safety of our passengers and employees remains our top priority. If you’re not feeling well on board, please let one of our employees know. They have been trained in preventive measures and will do their best to help you feel better while mitigating the possible effects for others.