Canada's Via Rail Suspends Passenger Railway Traffic Nationwide

# 14 February 2020 05:22 (UTC +04:00)

The company said on Thursday in a statement that the measure was imposed after "an advisory from the infrastructure owner" to stop all of the operations across the nation, prompting Via Rail to immediately "cancel its services", APA reports citing Sputnik.

According to media reports, Canada’s busiest railway corridor has been blocked by activists, who protest against the construction of the mammoth infrastructure project in British Columbia - the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline. Via Rail vowed in the statement to provide full reimbursement for all canceled trips due to the ongoing blockade.

“Passengers are being informed that as of 4pm EST, there will be no more train departures. Upon infrastructure owner instructions, all VIA Rail trains currently en route will be brought to the closest major train station. We understand the impact this unfortunate situation has on our passengers and regret the significant inconvenience this is causing to their travel plans”, VIA Rail said in the statement.

The protesters took more decisive actions after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) began an operation to enforce a court order against those interfering with the pipeline construction. The RCMP was authorized to raid makeshift checkpoints of small groups of indigenous people. The move reportedly sparked outrage and attracted more Canadians to protest the giant infrastructure project.

Protesters have reportedly been blocking the railway along the Toronto-Montreal corridor, which is the only link between Western Canada and Eastern Canada. There is an additional blockade in northern British Columbia between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

Another major railway carrier, CN Rail, has also announced a shutdown of its operations due to incessant blockade of railway traffic in the eastern part of the country.