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

Cache Creek receives grant funding for flood mitigation plan

Finished plan will help Village identify flood management priorities going forward

Clinton Community Forest disburses grants of more than $250,000

Village of Clinton and community organizations benefit from yearly profits

Ashcroft Museum plans walking tour, painting sessions, and more

One project seeks video and audio memories of Ashcroft and area

Local libraries starting to reopen, resume normal services

Patrons will once again be able to visit their local library, but there will be a few changes

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Children suffer swollen eyes, burns while playing at Lower Mainland spray park

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read