As blockades continue on train tracks near Belleville, ON., VIA Rail service between Montreal-Toronto and Toronto-Ottawa, which are among the country’s busiest routes, in both directions, remain cancelled.
VIA Rail says all departures on these routes are cancelled until Thursday end of the day.
Feb. 11 2020 – 7h50pm: In view of the current uncertainty due to the blockade near Belleville, ON, VIA is cancelling all departures until Thursday end of day on between MTL-TOR & TOR-OTT. Affected passengers will receive an email & full refund. More info: https://t.co/iZPvo7MQqQ
— VIA_Rail (@VIA_Rail) February 12, 2020
Protestors have been camped out on the rail crossing since late last week, resulting in both passenger and commercial trains being unable to travel along the routes in Tyendinaga Township, which is near Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto] Mohawks from Tyendinaga moved a dump truck with a snowplow attached by rail lines in Tyendinaga township as part of a protest in support of the Wet’suwet’en opponents of a natural gas pipeline crossing into Wet’suwet’en pic.twitter.com/VVHmWGDeiT
— 𝓔𝓵𝓲𝔃𝓪𝓫𝓮𝓽𝓱 𝓛𝓲𝓵𝓵𝔂 (@ChitkwesuManetu) February 7, 2020
The blockade in Tyendinaga Township is one of two that have recently popped up throughout the country in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs, who are protesting the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern British Columbia.
At this time, another blockade is set up near New Hazelton, BC, which has also halted service between Prince Rupert and Prince George in both directions.
On Tuesday, CN Rail said it will be forced to shut down significant parts of its Canadian network imminently unless the blockades on its rail lines are removed.
CN Rail said the blockades throughout the country are “impacting all Canadians’ ability to move goods and enable trade,” as there is currently no movement from any freight or passenger trains. As a result, “hundreds of trains have been cancelled since the blockades began five days ago.”
Moreover, CN Rail says the impact is also being felt beyond Canada’s borders and is harming the country’s reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner.
“It’s not just passenger trains that are impacted by these blockades, it’s all Canadian supply-chains,” said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN.
“We are currently parking trains across our network, but due to limited available space for such, CN will have no choice but to temporarily discontinue service in key corridors unless the blockades come to an end.”
Ruest said CN Rail has received court injunctions for both locations and the company is now working with local enforcement agencies to enforce the orders.
“We have also engaged with customers, industry associations as well as officials in Ottawa and across Canada to explain to them the consequences and material impact that shutting down the railroad will have on their constituents,” concluded Ruest.