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

T-wolves take Kamloops tier 2 tournament crown

With playoffs and a potential berth at provincials on the horizon, the… Continue reading

Stage set for first 150 Mile Elementary Family Ice Fishing Derby

“The forecast is looking beautiful,” Wessels said. “It’s supposed to be a high of 1C and a low of -6C.”

Skaters show solid form in Salmon Arm as Super Series Finals approaches

From March 6-8, roughly 15 skaters with the WLSC will compete at the provincial Super Series Finals

Stamps eliminated from CIHL playoffs in series sweep by ‘Roos

The Williams Lake Stampeders’ playoffs came to end Saturday in a 9-1 route at the hands of the Quesnel Kangaroos.

FOREST INK: Using salts to capture and store solar thermal energy

There are a number of ways to store solar energy.

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read