Now that the Via Rail strike has ended, the company is offering a major discount of 60% off rail tickets to win back commuters across Canada. The Canadian rail company started cancelling routes across the country last week and were beginning to send out lay-off notices to locomotive engineers. Now that Via Rail and their engineers have agreed to binding arbitration, the lay-offs have been cancelled and trains are running again. Via Rail operates 500 trains every week on routes across Canada during the summer. Via Rail’s 60% sale ends Friday, July 31, 2009 at 11:59pm. - GB

Via Rail Canada stepped up damage control and yesterday extended its 60 per cent discount offer after customers jammed phone lines and crashed the agency’s website in a rush to buy tickets.

The deadline, originally yesterday, was moved to Friday at 11:59 p.m. “due to the overwhelming response from customers,” Via Rail spokeswoman Ashley Doyle said yesterday.

The extension couldn’t have come a moment sooner, as a queue at Union Station grew to more than 100 people at one point.

Via announced the discount Sunday in the wake of a brief strike that saw 350 locomotive engineers walk off the job Friday, halting trains and stranding travellers across the country in the middle of the peak summer season.