March 13, 2013

VIA Rail Canada launches onboard entertainment

VIA Rail Canada partnered with CBC/Radio-Canada, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the Historica-Dominion Institute to announce the On-board Entertainment initiative, an interactive digital platform providing passengers on VIA Rail trains free access to Canadian programming.

Starting in Spring 2013, the new interactive digital platform will provide passengers on VIA Rail trains within the Québec City to Windsor corridor access to CBC/Radio-Canada TV shows, documentaries and animation from the NFB, and "Heritage Minutes" vignettes and Memory Project veteran interviews produced by The Historica-Dominion Institute.

By offering VIA Rail customers the chance to watch movies, television shows and news programs presented in the country's two official languages, the on-board entertainment system will promote high quality Canadian productions.

VIA Rail's On-Board Entertainment portal is the only system of its kind on a train in North America, according to the agency. It will present movies and other programming from the NFB and CBC/Radio-Canada collections, in addition to regular daily newscasts from CBC/Radio-Canada. Over time, this interactive digital platform will host other Canadian content from participating organizations.

VIA's intermodal strategy saw the number of connections between VIA Rail and its various partners increase by 119% compared to 2011. On average, 160 customers per day purchased a ticket from VIA Rail's Website with the intention of using the services of more than one transportation company.

The On-board Entertainment initiative required a total investment of $543,000 by VIA Rail. This program is part of VIA Rail's modernization plan, launched in 2007, and was made possible by the nearly $1 billion in capital funding announced by the Government of Canada since 2007 to rebuild aging equipment, refurbish stations, upgrade infrastructure, improve accessibility and support critical information technology projects.

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