As a result of Wet'suwet'en solidarity protests across Canada, VIA Rail has cancelled its services nationwide. "Following an advisory from the infrastructure owner that they are unable to support our operations across their network, VIA Rail has no other option but to cancel its services, effective immediately and until further notice," a notice on the company website reads. The announcement comes after protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline paralyzed the CN rail network, which VIA uses.
Opponents to the pipeline, which would pass through traditional unceded territory of the Wet'suwet'en, argue that it infringes on the sovereignty of the First Nation.
Tensions escalated when the RCMP carried out arrests in order to enable pipeline construction last week.
"VIA Rail is providing full refunds for all cancelled trips, which are being processed automatically," the alert on its website continues.
"You do not need to contact VIA Rail to confirm the refund, but note that due to the volume of transactions it may take up to 15 days to receive."
"We understand the impact this unfortunate situation has on our passengers and regret the significant inconvenience this is causing to their travel."
CN, meanwhile, has ceased operations in Eastern Canada, writing on its website that "the Company has been forced to initiate a disciplined and progressive shutdown of its operations."
"This will include stopping and safely securing all trans-continental trains across its Canadian network and may imminently lead to temporary layoffs within the company’s Eastern Canadian operational staff."
VIA rail had previously cancelled service between Montreal and Toronto.
Protestors have also blocked an exo commuter train line to Candiac, Quebec.
Feb. 11 2020 - 7h50pm: In view of the current uncertainty due to the blockade near Belleville, ON, VIA is cancellin… https://t.co/PTxruUFefX— VIA Rail Canada (@VIA Rail Canada) 1581468878.0
Stay tuned for more information.
The complete VIA Rail alert is available here.