MONTREAL, Jan. 9, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Between December 20th and January 6th, VIA Rail welcomed 14% more passengers than last year on its legendary service, The Canadian. Close to 7,000 passengers traveling on 10 trains chose The Canadian to take them home for the holidays while enjoying Canada's breathtaking landscapes, VIA Rail's attentive and courteous service and its outstanding cuisine. "We often think of The Canadian as a memorable way to discover our beautiful country, said Marc Laliberté, President and CEO of VIA Rail. And it certainly makes for a great family or romantic holiday. But this year, more people than ever before, chose to travel aboard our VIA Rail trains between Toronto, Vancouver and cities in between making The Canadian a true inter-city travel option. Thanks to our employees who have remarkably served our customers and allow them to enjoy a unique experience." The most popular legs of the journey were (in order of passenger volume) Jasper- Vancouver, Edmonton- Vancouver, Toronto- Winnipeg, Saskatoon- Winnipeg, Edmonton- Winnipeg and Toronto- Vancouver. On these trains, sleeper facilities attained an average occupancy level of 74.4% (maximum of 79.1%) while coach cars reached 72.7% (maximum of 88.9%). This year, many new Canadians also chose The Canadian to explore their country of adoption during the holidays, by taking advantage of VIA Rail's collaboration with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). About VIA Rail Canada As Canada's national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada's ( www.viarail.ca) mandate is to provide safe, efficient and reliable passenger transportation, with service in the country's two official languages. VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre network. Recipient of the RAC's Safety Award in 2012 for the 11th time in 12 years, and of the 2012 Agent's Choice Award voted on by Canadian travel agents and presented by Baxter Travel Media, VIA safely transports over four million passengers annually. Since 2007, the Government of Canada has provided VIA Rail with nearly $1 billion in capital investment funding. Follow the evolution of current projects at viarail.ca/transformingvia. Follow us... Evolution Blog viaevolution.ca On Twitter @VIA_rail On Facebook SOURCE VIA RAIL CANADA INC.