People arrive at the train track blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario, on Tuesday Feb. 11, 2020, in support of Wet’suwet’en’s blockade of a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Freight and passenger railways under stress as pipeline blockades continue

More than 150 freight trains have been idled since the blockades were set up in B.C. and Ontario

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Wednesday on the protests over a B.C. pipeline project that have disrupted rail traffic across the country.

The comments in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, where Trudeau is wrapping up a visit to Africa, followed the cancellation of passenger rail service on key routes even as protesters prepared for police to move in on their camps.

Protesters have erected blockades across several rail lines in solidarity with those opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northwestern B.C.

The blockades followed the RCMP enforcing a court injunction last week against Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who have been blocking construction of the pipeline, a key part of the $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied-natural-gas export project.

Meanwhile, Mohawk community members at a railway blockade south of Montreal say they’ll remain there as long as the RCMP is present on Wet’suwet’en territory.

About a dozen people were at the blockade in Kahnawake that has been blocking commuter train service along a line from Candiac, Que., since Monday.

The protest, which features Mohawk flags, signs of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en and a pile of snow built up on the tracks, has forced passengers on the line to use shuttle buses instead.

The economic impact of the demonstrations has already crystallized: Canadian National Railway Co. warned Tuesday that it would have to close “significant” parts of its network unless blockades on its rail lines were removed.

VIDEO: B.C. legislature pipeline protest camp disrupts throne speech ceremonies

More than 150 freight trains have been idled since the blockades were set up last Thursday in B.C. and Ontario.

Passenger rail services have also been affected in Ontario, Quebec and B.C., with Via Rail cancelling service on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes until at least the end of the day this Thursday because of a blockade near Belleville, Ont.

Chief executive JJ Ruest said the CN network gives the company limited parking space for its trains, which means traffic is backed up from Halifax to Windsor, Ont., and in parts of B.C. approaching Prince Rupert.

Via Rail said 157 passenger trains have been cancelled, affecting 24,500 travellers.

In addition to the service cancellations in Ontario, Via says a blockade near New Hazelton, B.C., also means normal rail service is being interrupted between Prince Rupert and Prince George.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink blockades a ‘dress rehearsal’ for future project fights, says Kenney

READ MORE: CN Rail to shut tracks to Prince Rupert port if pipeline blockade continues

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fifth annual TRUE Penticton tourism expo to showcase local activities and attractions

Over 50 businesses and event organizers will be at the Lakeside Resort on April 4.

South Okanagan mayors put their BCHL jerseys on the line

Mayors of Penticton and West Kelowna make a “friendly” wager on the BCHL series outcome.

Pause for Pints for Paws on March 22

The local branch of the BC SPCA is hosting it’s annual fundraiser at the Barking Parrot

Man missing in the South Okanagan located

Victor Genero has been located according to RCMP. He was last seen in Penticton on Feb. 24.

Vees have a short-handed romp over visiting West Kelowna Warriors

The Penticton Vees scored three short-handed goals to take a 1-0 series lead over West Kelowna

Developer of RV resort west of Revelstoke ordered to stop selling lots

The Superintendent of Real Estate has serious concerns that buyers may not receive their purchase

Police dog located accused murderer in dumpster near West Kelowna crime scene

Tejwant Danjou’s application to have his impromptu guilty plea removed was accepted by the court

Police dog located accused murderer in dumpster near West Kelowna crime scene

Tejwant Danjou’s application to have his impromptu guilty plea removed was accepted by the court

North Okanagan prays for women of Zimbabwe

World Day of Prayer celebrated in 2,000 Canadian communities, one of 170 countries

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Trans Canada east of Revelstoke to be closed overnight

The highway will reopen at 10 a.m. Feb. 29

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Most Read