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mdvle

Or maybe not (was VIA Rail shutting down all service / CN shutting down a lot due to protests)

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Due to ongoing protests at some portions of it's rail network that remain despite court orders CN has announced a signficiant shutdown of it's network in Eastern Canada and the stopping of all trans-continental trains.

 

This means VIA is being forced to shut down all services.

 

For now GO and Exo commuter services will continue as long as GO and Exo feel they can safely operate their trains.

 

CN - https://www.cn.ca/en/news/2020/02/cn-initiating-progressive-and-orderly-shutdown-of-its-eastern-ca/

 

From VIA's website:

 

Quote

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.

 

VIA Rail is providing full refunds for all cancelled trips, which are being processed automatically. 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.

 

[edit: Feb 18th - see for reason thread title changed https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/151644-or-maybe-not-was-via-rail-shutting-down-all-service-cn-shutting-down-a-lot-due-to-protests/&do=findComment&comment=3844844 ]

Edited by mdvle
link to reason for thread title change
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All West Coast Express trains out of Vancouver were cancelled this evening due to a protest blocking the tracks east of Port Coquitlam. Apparently the rapid transit system was "Tokyo style" as a result. The company are currently saying the inbound services will not be running tomorrow - presumably the trains are all still on the Vancouver side of the blockade.

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VIA has since clarified that 2 of its services (that don't run on CN tracks) will continue to operate.

 

  • Sudbury - White River (CP)
  • Churchill - The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway)

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Oil and natural gas pipelines.

 

Short version - the RCMP recently moved in to enforce a court injunction to remove a blockade attempting to stop work on a natural gas pipeline in BC, arresting several people.  The blockades involved the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, and as a result of the RCMP action various other First Nation (and possibly other) groups have taken the opportunity to protest.

 

The key to the CN issue is the Mowhawks in Ontario, who have set up a blockade/protest next to the CN line in Belleville which has resulted in the closure of the CN line linking Toronto to Montreal for about 7 days now.  Despite getting a court injunction so far the authorities haven't done much of anything about removing the blockade, and the various levels of Government are so far missing in action.

 

There have also been other blockades and protests around the country, including at the BC legislature.

Edited by mdvle
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There are actually two protests on the CN main line near Tyendinaga, both between Belleville and Napanee (where I now live!) The first one is near Shannonville, this was the first blockade and is the one occupied by Tyendinaga. The other is just to the east in Marysville under the Hwy 49 overpass. This one was set up by the Akwesane that live near Cornwall, Ontario.

 

There are lots of trains parked in the area waiting for the blockades to end but right now that does not look like it is going to happen any time soon.

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Seems rather like some of our eco-protests in the UK, which have hit people using public transport (and in this case apparently also more sustainable means of moving freight) and not those who are actually responsible for the things being protested against.  

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Well, the issues go back about 150 years, to when the first Canadian Transcontinental railway was built (CP), if not further...the biggest issue I see is one of loss of trust.  The natives have lost trust in the crown (federal government) doing what it is supposed to do in terms of behaving honorably.  Out here, in BC, most land was never ceeded by the natives- hence the problem with the pipeline.   This is not helped by the 30+ years that the governments (Federal and Provincial) have spent on, and mostly off, again talking with the bands.  

 

There are several analogies out there, but how I'd view it is that the pipeline company (a private company, mostly owned by the Alberta government...just to make it even easier !) got a deal with the band council who are elected.  Unfortunately, that's like asking the 18 year old, if I give you a thousand quid, will you let me put a pipeline through?  And then finding out that mom and dad are not in agreement if they want to allow the pipeline to run through the front yard...or if they should hold off for 2000 quid (perhaps), or tell the company to pound sand, because they don't want the pipeline at all based on the destruction of the flower bed it'll cause.

 

The 18 year old might have the vote of the 16 and 19 year old, but they don't have both mom and dad's agreement...

 

About 50/50 split  across Canada about who one listens to in this case- do you listen to cranky dad (grand-dad?), who says NO, or do you listen to the 3 voices saying "yes"...very hard, when there is no actual nation to nation agreement as to who represents who.  Yes, we are _that_ far from deciding the issue...we don't even really know who should be at the table, let alone what shape the table is.

 

So, while there are injunctions, the result of enforcing them in any case (or not enforcing them) is ugly.  I think that both the AFN and the (particularly Federal) government is looking for a way to blink, without the other side believing they have conceded.  A whole bunch of historical issues are driving this- the moves to acknowledge that the treatment of FN persons has been less than stellar, the problems with the signed treaties, and the aftermath of Idle No More as well...there is an increasingly active group of FN "youth" who aren't prepared to stand by and see the FN's be treated the way they have been.  

 

It's not a movement to protest trains- it just happens that something like 70% of goods travel by train, and the most active of the FN's are on CN rail lines.

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Just to add that "mom and dad" in James's post are the hereditary chiefs of the FN bands and nations. 

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And the above in some ways is the easy part.

 

Now add in a minority government at the federal level, the conflicting needs of part of the population who want us all to stop using oil "right this minute" vs the other part who rely on jobs from oil, combined with governments like the tax revenue from oil, etc, etc.

 

Next, throw in some provincial level politicians who are willing to stir the pot for perceived party gain at the federal level for the next election.

 

So a big mess

Edited by mdvle
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Amtrak services to Toronto/Vancouver/Montreal have also been suspended, with the respective trains now terminating at Niagara Falls NY / Albany / Seattle (for the Portland-Vancouver service, the Seattle-Vancouver service cancelled).

 

For Toronto / Montreal no alternative services provided for the cancelled sections, however Amtrak will be providing alternative service between Seattle and Vancouver.

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Amtrak has resumed Seattle - Vancouver with court order removing the blockade in question.

 

VIA is resuming on Thursday (20th) service on Ottawa - Montreal - Quebec City.

 

Rest of corridor and the Canadian/Ocean remain shut down.

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So, turn into a bit of a farce.

 

Turns out, despite the media release last week, CN did not shut down their network at the end of last week and they have continued to move freight trains around as long as there is no blockade stopping them.

 

They even attempted to "sneak" trains up through Northern Quebec, across the Ontario Northland Railway, and then back onto CN track in Northern Ontario to get stuff past the blockade in Southern Ontario.  Unfortunately for them part of the route cross some Native territory so a 24 hour blockade has gone up.

 

In addition to the above mentioned resumption, VIA has now announced all Sarnia/Windsor - Toronto trains will resume on Thursday, as will the joint VIA/Amtrak Maple Leaf from Toronto to NYC.  As well Amtrak Montreal/NYC resumes on Thursday.

 

I guess it is kind of hard to justify refusing to run passenger trains on your tracks when anyone with eyes can see that you are still running freight trains...

 

Toronto - Ottawa/Montreal VIA trains remain cancelled due to the blockade, and for now at least based on CN refusal the Canadian and Ocean remain cancelled.

Edited by mdvle

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In today's update:

 

Montreal - Quebec City service will not be resuming due to a blockade that has been set up in Saint-Lambert Quebec.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6571533/via-rail-service-cancelled-again/

 

VIA has issued temporary layoff notices to 1000 staff (out of 3400), while CN has issued 450

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/via-rail-layoffs-1.5468617

 

President of VIA Rail has a short video message that is posted to VIA's Twitter account

https://twitter.com/VIA_Rail/status/1230294419141808128

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I noticed today that CN 271 was backed up out of Napanee station so that they could work on the bridge across the Napanee River. Of course the only train movement on CN for two weeks and I miss it.

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With the blockades cleared today CN is already starting to move trains along the Kingston Sub.

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As noted above, Ontario police enforced the injunction this morning making 10 arrests at the site that had blocked Toronto-Montreal traffic on CN.

 

VIA is resuming service on the Ocean on Friday.

 

Still no word on either the Canadian (cancelled until at least March 2nd) or the Toronto - Ottawa/Montreal services (cancelled until at least Friday).

 

The cancellations reflect the amount of time VIA feels would be necessary to restart service and thus are a rolling date until a decision is made on resumption.

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Just heard a CN freight go by, sweet sound after this long.

 

Edit: Did not last long, one train each way before protesters moved in and lit tires on fire on the tracks.

Edited by jsp3970
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Protests have now spread to other places including Toronto and the Hamilton area.

 

GO Trains on the Milton line taking a 30 minute detour after protesters set up on the CP line next to the Humber River crossing (going Toronto and following Lakeshore West line to Canpa, reversing Canpa to Obico, then resuming to Milton).

 

There was a brief protest closing Guildwood Station in Toronto.

 

Hamilton area protest had/has resulted in Hamilton Go train cancellations and VIA/Amtrak Maple Leaf ending/originating in Niagara Falls ON.

 

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