VIA advises travellers to use other modes of transportation in coming days

The rail crossing at Whyman Road near Shannonville where demonstrations in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en have remained ongoing since Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Photo by Cris Vilela.

As day six of the demonstration in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en territory continues just outside of Shannonville, VIA Rail has cancelled another day of train activity in the area.

“Due to the blockade near Belleville (Ontario), VIA Rail wants to inform its

passengers that all departures today, February 11 are cancelled between

Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Ottawa, Toronto-Kingston,” said Maria-Anna Murat, Senior Director of Communications for VIA Rail Canada.

VIA said that, moving forward, they will be issuing daily notifications at 8 a.m. regarding afternoon trains leaving after 2 p.m., and at 6 p.m. for trains leaving the next day before 2 p.m.

“As of 8 a.m. today, February 11, 157 trains were cancelled since the beginning of the blockade. The total number of passengers impacted at that point is at least 24,500,” Murat said.

“Although we remain hopeful that a resolution will be reached, in view of the current uncertainty, reservations can be cancelled for a full refund with no service charges up to two days prior to the departure date in stations during opening hours or by calling our VIA Customer Center at 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1-888 842-7245), TTY 800-268-9503 (deaf or hard of hearing). This refund applies to all services affected by the blockades as well as related connections.”

VIA also said that passengers are being provided with details concerning their trip via email “as the situation evolves,” Passengers can also visit the VIA Rail website to view the updated schedules.

“We know that this unfortunate situation has an impact on our passengers travelling plans and we apologize for the inconvenience it is causing,” Murat continued. “We encourage them, if they need to travel in the next few days, to use an alternative mode of transportation since we do not have the capability of providing one.”

VIA Rail operates on infrastructure belonging to CN. Kingstonist has reached out to CN to find out any plans they may have to address this situation. As of time of press, we have not received any response. (Editorial note: an update has been issued by CN and is available here.)

Demonstrators gathered at the rail crossing at Wyman Road on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en territory in B.C. as the RCMP moved in on the anti-pipeline camp there and several arrests took place. The demonstration has been ongoing since.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, approximately 100 Kingstonians gathered at McBurney Park (Skeleton Park) for a rally in solidarity with the demonstrators and Wet’suwet’en, before taking two buses to the local train station and blocking traffic for a couple of hours.

Kingstonist will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.

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