MLA Donna Barnett and Mayor Walt Cobb were shocked to learn last week that Canadian National Railway is suspending its line from Williams Lake to Squamish. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

MLA Donna Barnett and Mayor Walt Cobb were shocked to learn last week that Canadian National Railway is suspending its line from Williams Lake to Squamish. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

CN suspending service between Williams Lake and Squamish, effective April 3

Rail traffic north of Williams Lake will be routed to Vancouver through Prince George and Kamloops

Effective April 8, 2020, Canadian National Railway will suspend train service between Williams Lake and Squamish, B.C.

The move comes due to the decline in customer demand that makes it no longer feasible for CN to maintain the current service profile, CN senior manager of communications Jonathan Abecassis confirmed in an e-mail Friday.

“The remaining customers on this corridor have been advised in advance that they will now see their traffic routed via the Prince George ­— Kamloops — Vancouver corridor.”

Abecassis noted this is not a decision CN Rail is taking lightly.

“We are sympathetic to the disruption of this change on the lives of our employees, particularly in the current environment, and they may have an opportunity to remain with CN in other locations.”

Based on collective bargaining agreements and depending on seniority, employees may elect to work at other CN locations in B.C. and where there is a shortage of personnel, he added.

“CN recognizes and understands that these are unprecedented times and wants to reaffirm that we are focused on the health and safety of our employees, the essential movement of critical supplies for all Canadians, and a safe and reliable service for our customers.”

Read more: New rail safety measures implemented in Canada

Cariboo Chilcotin Liberal MLA Donna Barnett said she was shocked to learn that CN Rail is putting the brakes on the line.

“I was made aware of this a day ago,” she told the Tribune Wednesday, April 1. “I’ve been making phone calls and found out today they are not going to have the line from Williams Lake to Squamish.”

Barnett said whether it’s temporary or permanent she is not certain.

“But to me personally, and I could be wrong, I’ve been wrong before, it sounds permanent. They’ve lost many customers over the last while and so whether it’s feasible or not, I know that it’s probably one of the most expensive parts of the line to manage between Squamish and 100 Mile. It’s the most beautiful ride in the world and the topography is tough, yet gorgeous.”

It would be nice to know the facts, Barnett said and it is also a shock that no one knew about it beforehand.

“It must have been in the works for a little while. It will be hard on businesses in Williams Lake.”

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, who only learned about the curtailment Tuesday, said it is not good news.

“I find it crazy that they are saying there was a lack of business because even when I was mayor 20 years ago we were crying for more cars then.”

Cobb said looking out his window overlooking the town, he could see rail cars with lumber on them.

“This very upsetting,” he added.

Barnett said other communities along the line will also be impacted as well.

“There will be jobs lost,” she said.

The line was once part of BC Rail, which the government under former premier Gordon Campbell sold most of to CN Rail for about $1 billion in 2003, after a bidding process involving Canadian Pacific and a consortium of U.S. railways Burlington Northern Santa Fe and OmniTrax.

The deal, which technically includes a 900-year lease of the railway property, came in spite of a 2001 election promise by Campbell that the railway would not be sold. It became engulfed in controversy as two ministerial aides from the Campbell government were eventually convicted of breach of trust for accepting benefits and leaking bid information to Denver-based OmniTrax.

For Taseko Mines Ltd., the change will see concentrate from its Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake go by rail to Prince George, Kamloops and Vancouver to be shipped overseas.

Taseko vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison said the cost is not beingi increased for the service and during the 2017 wildfires, the same rail route was used.

“We are effected but unaffected. Under the terms of the contract they have to move goods for us.”

With files about the BC Rail sale from Tom Fletcher, Black Press.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CN Rail

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

Just Posted

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

Most Read