While I was delighted to see the full page VIA Rail Canada advertisement in Friday's Feb. 8 edition, I was curious that an agency that just cut service on the Canadian would want to advertise in the West. The Canadian is a delightful cruise train but has neither reasonable fares nor service that one finds with a more affordable and, thus, successful Amtrak. VIA announces the cuts to the Maritimes and the West due to budget reasons but then quietly adds 28 new trains to the Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto routes, including an additional new service from Quebec City to Montreal. Yet despite much of the funding for the federal government seemingly coming from the West, there are no daily VIA Rail trains in all of Western Canada. The third largest province does not even get service from Vancouver to Chilliwack where demand exists nor, despite four studies saying a high-speed train would at least break even, between Edmonton and Calgary. Despite having Western MPs to represent us, it appears that a federal agency is able to ignore its mandate to provide affordable and adequate service to the average taxpaying citizen in the West. Passenger trains with reasonable fares and frequent service provide a successful solution to jammed freeways.
Myron Claridge, West Vancouver