Posts Tagged ‘blockades’

VIA Working to Finish Service Restoration

March 6, 2020

VIA Rail Canada is expected to have nearly all of its passenger trains rolling again by Sunday.

The carrier suspended most service and laid off 1,000 employees in the wake of blockades on Canadian railroads.

The blockades were led by protestors of a plan to build a natural gas pipeline across First Nation land in northern British Columbia.

The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have opposed construction of the pipeline and most of the blockades were staged in support of their opposition.

The Toronto-Montreal VIA route will resume full service on Saturday while full service on the Toronto-Ottawa route will resume on Sunday.

The Canadian between Toronto and Vancouver resumed service on Wednesday.

Prince-Rupert – Prince-George – Jasper service remains suspended and VIA said it is working with host railroad Canadian National on a resumption timeline, VIA said.

All other VIA Rail routes are back to full service.

In a news release, VIA said it began canceling service on Feb. 13 and laid off employees starting on Feb. 19. VIA said it expects to recall the majority of those laid off.

Tentative Pact Reached to End Canadian Blockades

March 3, 2020

A tentative deal has been reached to end the blockades of Canadian rail lines by protesters opposed to construction of a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia.

However, some indigenous groups said they will continue to seek to block rail lines despite the pact.

The blockades have halted freight and passenger traffic on routes of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific and at one point disrupted Amtrak service into Canada.

News reports indicate that the deal will allow construction of the pipeline to continue but will address future land-rights disputes.

The pipeline is being built across land of the Wet’suwet’en First Nations group, whose ancesteral tribal leaders objected to the constructkion.

Other indigenous groups soon joined in the protests.

Leaders of the Wet’suwet’en said they would review the deal, a process expected to take two weeks.

CN has begun recalling some of its 450 laid off workers and VIA Rail Canada expects to restore this week most service that had been suspended.

VIA had canceled 940 trains through late last week.

The expected timetable for service restoration includes Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto on, March 3; Senneterre-Jonquiere, Quebec, on Wednesday, March 4; the westbound Canadian on, March 4; and the eastbound Canadian on, March 6.


Blockades Continue to Slow Canadian Rail Traffic

February 28, 2020

Rail traffic remains in disruption mode in Canada even as the railroads have made progress in overcoming blockades put by protesters seeking to stop construction of a natural gas pipeline across First Nation land in northern British Columbia.

Police cleared protestors from a blockade near Belleville, Ontario, earlier this week, but another blockade remained in place on Mohawk land.

Even when they were not blocking tracks protestors in some area of Canada were setting fires adjacent to rail lines, which had the effect of stopping or slowing the movement of trains.

VIA Rail Canada has extended through March 1 the cancellation of service in the Toronto-Montreal, Toronto-Ottawa, and Senneterre-Jonquiere corridors.

Service to Prince Rupert in British Columbia has been canceled through at least March 4.

VIA said 859 trains have been canceled, which has affected 143,500 passengers.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the nation faces “many, many weeks” of delays as a result of the blockades.

He said recovery will be slow because there is “inertia in the system.

Some companies have virtually stopped their operations and 50 ships are waiting off the Pacific Coast to come pick up grain whose movement has been halted.