I personally find that remark quite offensive. Unlike the vast majority on this board I have done more physical work in the industry than most. I have crawled under the cars and taken the brake valves, cylinders, hoses, and other appliances off and replaced them with refreshed items. I've been all over the roof of cars patching and fixing leaks. I've also pulled marathon OBS shifts that have ran from 4 AM to 12 AM in a twin unit diner serving over 1,000 meals in a day. I've also made the bunks up, loaded the supplies, gathered the trash, and done basically every mission critical job other than operate the locomotive. And if given the training and license I'm sure I could learn that skill set. Now if you want to experience what brake work is call me in four years I have a set of 26C valves to do then and I'm happy to teach. After all I was taught how to do things the military way from my father "watch one, do one, teach one".I will never understand why so-called “rail enthusiasts” refuse to understand that Corridor services are what keeps VIA afloat rather than draining its resources. Therefore, the relative success of the Corridor services is the only thing which keeps your dreams for drastically improved rail service outside the Corridor alive...
And unlike most of the "rail enthusiasts" I have a 4.0 GPA in political science and understand how public services are supposed to operate. The problem that I see with VIA is you have 2 provinces that get frequent and great service while the other 6 provinces VIA services are lucky to get a train every other day. If you continue to neglect these other 6 provinces eventually those people and their politicians can't be counted to vote for continued funding for VIA. So yes most of their revenue comes from the corridor I won't disagree with you there and I knew that before your fancy chart.
But you have to see where I'm coming from that there is a lot of political clout in these outlying provinces that could very easily be won over to VIA's camp as opposed to where they are which is a bit ambivalent as it stands. How can we say VIA services Saskatewan, or Alberta well? What about British Columbia? Yes the population is not nearly as dense but it doesn't mean these people don't matter.
No form of transportation exists without some form of a subsidy. Busses and cars drive on public roads, airlines fly into public airports, and ferry service exists because governments fund it's continued existence. Trains are no different they were subsidized too even in the 1950s under CN and CP Management. The difference was up until the 1960s and 70s the ridership was high enough that it was basically breaking even. Railroads operated these trains because it was a public service, part of their government charter, and as a way to market their freight service and real estate arms. It was once the ridership started tanking that the losses started to become untenable in the old format.
So does a service between St. John and Halifax have to make a profit. No it doesn't because that's not the mission. The mission is to be a public service and recover as much of the loss as possible in revenue. But it's still supposed to be subsidized.
I love VIA and I understand her unique issues but you really need the rural support if you want to maintain the network in it's current form. VIA still has good ridership on the Ocean all things considered. The Canadian unfortunately has morphed into a tourist train which is only going to hurt it because it's use as a usable mode of transportation has waned. That is partially due to the crappy schedule you can't really expect ridership if your running two days a week east of Edmonton. And with that it makes the argument really hard to keep the service if politicians are looking for something to cut.
To make the Canadian a better service just cut some of the sleeper lines off the train does one trainset really need 12 sleeper lines. You could cut the number of sleepers per set which also limits the amount of diners and skylines you need and get up to daily service. CN would cause some problems but again VIA needs the support in the federal government to force the issue preferably getting the same treatment and statutory power that Amtrak has. But to get that you need to win over parliament and you will need as many as you can get which means you need those rural areas.
In the western world we look at things differently we think everything needs to make a profit when in reality the place of a government run service is to run a good service.