VIA Rail cuts allowable baggage

TORONTO – Traveling on VIA Rail after October 11? Pack light.

The passenger train service is implementing a new carry-on baggage policy that cuts the allowable weight in half.

“These rules aim to make the travel experience aboard the train safer and more enjoyable,” explains VIA spokesperson Mylène Bélanger. “We want to prevent employee and passenger injuries and reduce delays due to baggage handling.”

Passengers will be permitted to bring aboard a maximum of two articles weighing no more than 11.5 kg each in addition to one personal article such as a laptop bag or small backpack.

Carry-on bags are also not allowed to be larger than 54.5 cm x 39.5 cm x 23 cm. Alternatively, passengers can bring one carry-on bag weighing no more than 18 kg.

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Bags between 18 kg and 23 kg will be subject to a $20 surcharge but VIA will not allow any luggage over 23 kg.

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Up until now, VIA passengers were allowed to bring two pieces of carry-on luggage up to 23 kg each and as big as 66 cm x 46 cm x 23 cm.

Bélanger says VIA has been educating passengers about the new policy for several weeks but expects there will be a period of “getting used to it.” She says those who do not follow the new guidelines will be asked to redistribute the weight into other pieces of luggage or check it into the baggage car of their train or the next train offering checked-baggage service (Only 30 per cent of trains on the Windsor-Quebec City corridor offer checked baggage service, according to Bélanger).

VIA Rail’s new baggage policy brings it in line with those of the major Canadian airlines.

Porter allows two carry-on articles less than 9 kg and one checked bag no more than 23 kg. Additional bags cost $20 to $50 each.

Air Canada allows two carry-on bags weighing no more than 10 kg each. The policy varies depending on a number of factors including the destination and a passenger’s tier status but generally one bag less than 23 kg is allowed.

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Westjet’s carry-on baggage policy permits a maximum of two bags weighing no more than 10 kg each. Passengers can also check one bag less than 23 kg. A second bag is subject to a $20 charge and additional bags are charged $50 each.

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