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2/20/2020



Rail News: Passenger Rail

VIA Rail to lay off 1,000 due to rail line shutdown


A plan to resume VIA rail service today between Montreal and Quebec City has been scuttled due to a new protest blockade near St.-Lambert, Quebec.
Photo – VIA Rail Canada

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VIA Rail Canada Inc. yesterday announced it will temporarily lay off about 1,000 employees because of ongoing protest blockades on CN's rail lines.

The passenger-rail company also said that a plan to resume VIA rail service today between Montreal and Quebec City has been scuttled due to a new protest blockade near St.-Lambert, Quebec.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon to Canadian news media, VIA officials said they had "no choice" but to continue the suspension of service on a large part of its network while CN lines remain closed due to the blockades.

The announcement came just a day after CN had granted VIA permission to resume some service on routes between southwestern Ontario and Quebec.

VIA Rail President and Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Garneau described the situation as "unprecedented."

"In 42 years of existence, it is the first time that VIA Rail, a public intercity passenger-rail service, has to interrupt most of its services across the country,” Garneau wrote in a statement.

CN also has announced temporary layoffs — of about 450 people — after canceling more than 400 trains over the past week in response to protest blockades along its rail lines. The Class I has initiated a shutdown of operations in Eastern Canada until the blockades are removed.

Protestors have set up the blockades across the country in a show of solidarity for the Wet'suwet'en Nation, whose hereditary chiefs oppose the construction of a natural gas pipeline through northern British Columbia.




Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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