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VIA Rail

Urban Sky

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I don't know how many people of you have noticed, but today was the last day of Yves Desjardins-Siciliano as VIA Rail President & CEO:


In a convenient coincidence, VIA Rail also published its 2018 Annual Report today, which allows me to let the numbers speak for themselves (and the achievements under his tenure):

Annual Report Figures in 2014 (i.e. the year YDS took over the CEO helmet)
184930


Annual Report Figures in 2018
184929


Annual Report Figures 2014-2018
184927


VIA Rail's performance (KPIs, 2018 vs. 2014)
184925



This also allows for some longer-term comparisons since 1989 (i.e. the last year before the 1990/01/15 cuts):

Ridership and train mileage (1989-2018, relative performance before and after adjusting for population growth)
184926



Ridership and train mileage growth (1990-2018, year-over-year or vs. 4 years earlier)
184928



Regardless of what you might think of the projects he has initiated (HFR, fleet renewal), I believe the results speak for themselves and will form a massive legacy. (Also, it's been a pleasure working for him, just like I'm curious to see what accents Cynthia Garneau will set...)
 
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SaugeenJunction

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I don't know how many people of you have noticed, but today was the last day of Yves Desjardins-Siciliano as VIA Rail President & CEO:


In a convenient coincidence, VIA Rail also published its 2018 Annual Report today, which allows me to let the numbers speak for themselves (and the achievements under his tenure):

Annual Report Figures in 2014 (i.e. the year YDS took over the CEO helmet)
View attachment 184930

Annual Report Figures in 2018
View attachment 184929

Annual Report Figures 2014-2018
View attachment 184927

VIA Rail's performance (KPIs, 2018 vs. 2014)
View attachment 184925



This also allows for some longer-term comparisons since 1989 (i.e. the last year before the 1990/01/15 cuts):

Ridership and train mileage (1989-2018, relative performance before and after adjusting for population growth)
View attachment 184926


Ridership and train mileage growth (1990-2018, year-over-year or vs. 4 years earlier)
View attachment 184928


Regardless of what you might think of the projects he has initiated (HFR, fleet renewal), I believe the results speak for themselves and will form a massive legacy. (Also, it's been a pleasure working for him, just like I'm curious to see what accents Cynthia Garneau will set...)

He will be missed ?
 

lead82

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YDS did not achieve much during his tenure. He seemed to enjoy the role and had a great vision for VIA but the Liberals let him down by not committing to funding VIA HFR and instead of creating the Infra bank boondoggle. Besides the ongoing discussions with the Federal government on HFR and other initiatives, nothing much has changed. VIA ridership is up slightly but subsidies are still going up and the service is still not profitable in the Corridor. Improvements to services in SWO were never made and were doable. Too much was put into HFR and the rest of the system has been neglected.

I fear that if the Tories form the next government, VIA could see more cuts and the end of its subsidies, which would require it to cut many services down to the bone where you might as well sunset the passenger rail service in Canada. It's a sad joke as it is.
 

crs1026

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^YDS changed a number of things and all in a good way. He sold the need for new equipment, and got that procurement approved and executed. To do that, he had to sell Ottawa on the need for, and continued existence of, a passenger railway in the Ontario-Quebec corridor. He managed relationships well with the freight railways - the proof of that is the current train frequency east of Toronto. And he greatly improved VIA’s marketing, the trains are better utilised and the on board service is solid.
He was not a miracle worker, so HFR never launched, the transcons remain marginal, and capital is hard to come by. Frankly, it would have taken superhero powers to turn that around. VIA lives in a very harsh political and economic climate. But considering the environment, he leaves VIA much better than when he arrived in the CEO role. He may have cemented VIA’s long term survival at a time where the wrong CEO could have put VIA on a path to being shut down.
We owe him a lot of thanks.

- Paul
 

kEiThZ

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YDS did not achieve much during his tenure.

He did as much as he could. It's easy to think that he didn't accomplish much. But he's moved the ball a fair bit, especially when you consider what he was up against. Any disappointment for lack of development under his tenure should go to the governments in charge.

Liberals let him down by not committing to funding VIA HFR and instead of creating the Infra bank boondoggle.

They absolutely screwed him and us with the Infra bank. The bank may have been a good idea. But implementation has been disappointing. Over a year in operation. Only one project partnered on. And that's one that already had funding and was already in development. If the tories come to power, they'll be well within their rights to ask what the heck the "Bank" has been doing all this time. I go on their page and all I see are symposiums and conferences they attended and the number of projects they are "considering".

I fear that if the Tories form the next government, VIA could see more cuts and the end of its subsidies, which would require it to cut many services down to the bone where you might as well sunset the passenger rail service in Canada. It's a sad joke as it is.

With the exception of the handful of inter-provincial services, the majority of services and the most heavily subsidized are intra-provincial. Honestly, the provinces can and should be picking up the tab for a lot of VIA's subsidies. VIA should be operating more like Amtrak in the US, in this regard.

There's probably no hope for HFR under the Tories, unless there's some private sector partner that is genuinely interested in pursuing it. But hopefully the fleet renewal will still happen and keep VIA going until the Liberals are back in power.
 

cplchanb

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securing fleet renewal is probably his greatest achievement - and HFR may yet still come. Having a modern fleet will do wonders for ridership, reliability, and attractiveness of the service. You can't run a proper railroad with 50 year old train as VIA has been doing for years.
I wonder if itll ever be possible for via to build an industry around rail car construction like JR does with its rolling stock. It seems that they come up with something new every few years and the older sets just get reshuffled to secondary lines and those get recycled for the next gen stock. The problem for us is that we tend to try to squeeze out every last drop from our equipment beyond the normal lifespan while we could have a much easier time continuously refreshing with new stock and stimulate the rail industry in Canada as a byproduct
 

kEiThZ

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I wonder if itll ever be possible for via to build an industry around rail car construction like JR does with its rolling stock.

Uggh. You really gotta stop with the constant comparisons to Japan and China. Canada is not Asia.

And you can't build an industry around a single national rail operator that has about 500 pieces of rolling stock that are rebuilt every two decades and replaced every three to four decades.
 

Hieberrr

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I did a bunch of day trips in Spain recently (from Sevilla, Granada, and Barcelona) and I have to say that Renfe and the Spanish systems work wonders. Security checks were done prior to boarding in Barcelona with luggage scanners, security personnel and more. But the entire process took 5-10 mins max.

I have to read the rest of this thread, but I'm just amazed that Canada can't build something similar. Given the right pricing structure (e.g., not price gouging like VIA), I'm sure it can work.
 

kEiThZ

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I did a bunch of day trips in Spain recently (from Sevilla, Granada, and Barcelona) and I have to say that Renfe and the Spanish systems work wonders. Security checks were done prior to boarding in Barcelona with luggage scanners, security personnel and more. But the entire process took 5-10 mins max.

Honeymooned in Spain. Was a fantastic system and service. Stations were nice with retail in certain locations. Nice lounges. Business and economy class on Renfe were both awesome too.

I have to read the rest of this thread, but I'm just amazed that Canada can't build something similar. Given the right pricing structure (e.g., not price gouging like VIA), I'm sure it can work.

Uggh. The public is really ignorant. VIA's prices are not the fault of VIA. And it's really sad that people don't understand this. Blame government's that won't properly fund VIA to build its own tracks, so they aren't dependent on CN and CP. Do that and prices would be lower.
 

cplchanb

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Uggh. You really gotta stop with the constant comparisons to Japan and China. Canada is not Asia.

And you can't build an industry around a single national rail operator that has about 500 pieces of rolling stock that are rebuilt every two decades and replaced every three to four decades.
Why is our bar so low? Even vs Europe as we tend to compare? Regarding industry I dont mean just Via necc, but TTC, GO and other mass transit with rail as well. In the pursuit to nickel and dime the life out of the trains we probably spend more money upkeeping them then to buy new stock more frequently
 

kEiThZ

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Why is our bar so low? Even vs Europe as we tend to compare?

Because the average citizen isn't interested in paying higher taxes to fund public transportation. And part of that is geography. If Canada was as crowded as Europe or Asia with traffic congestion at those levels, the funding of public transportation would be supported more broadly.

? Regarding industry I dont mean just Via necc, but TTC, GO and other mass transit with rail as well.

Except that we do have an industrial player in the rail sector who builds rolling stock in Ontario, for some of these agencies. Have you heard of Bombardier?

In the pursuit to nickel and dime the life out of the trains we probably spend more money upkeeping them then to buy new stock more frequently

I trust the professionals at TTC, GO, VIA, AMT, etc. know what they are doing when it comes to managing the economic life of rolling stock within the constraints of the budgets they are given. If you think you know better, feel free to send them your resume.
 
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