VIA and CN shut down due to Indigenous Protests

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trainjunkie47
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VIA and CN shut down due to Indigenous Protests

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Via Rail cancels trains nationwide, CN shuts down Eastern Canadian network as Indigenous protests continue.
john Paul Tasker · CBC News · Posted: Feb 13, 2020 5:08 PM ET | Last Updated: 15 minutes ago

CN Rail and Via Rail are shutting down huge sections of their railway networks as Indigenous blockades continue to cripple the country's transportation systems.

Via Rail is temporarily ending all passenger services nationwide, expanding an earlier work stoppage that restricted train cancellations to the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor.

"Via Rail has no other option but to cancel its services, effective immediately and until further notice," the rail operator said in a statement on its website.

The company said it would automatically process full refunds for all cancelled trips.

"You do not need to contact Via Rail to confirm the refund, but note that due to the volume of transactions it may take up to 15 days to receive," the Crown corporation said. "We understand the impact this unfortunate situation has on our passengers and regret the significant inconvenience this is causing to their travel."

CN Rail, the country's largest railway, is "initiating a progressive and orderly shutdown of its Eastern Canadian network" because Tyendinaga Mohawk protesters near Belleville, Ont. have so far refused to dismantle their blockade.

The railway operator said the shutdown, which will affect the entire network east of Toronto, may result in temporary layoffs of CN workers.

The story continues here:https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cn-rai ... Uw0Sryd0o4

ConrailDetr​oit
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Re: VIA and CN shut down due to Indigenous Protests

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Could the reason for cancellation of all trains nationwide be due to the risk of the protests "spreading" and blocking other tracks? (Why shut down the entire VIA network, and not just where the protests are happening)

Would such a weak and passive government response to a disruption in commerce happen in America, which has a much stronger economy than Canada, and much higher dependence on the transportation infrastructure?

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trainjunkie47
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Re: VIA and CN shut down due to Indigenous Protests

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ConrailDetr​oit wrote:Could the reason for cancellation of all trains nationwide be due to the risk of the protests "spreading" and blocking other tracks? (Why shut down the entire VIA network, and not just where the protests are happening)
My guess is precisely that? There are places in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario in particular where one well placed derailment shuts down both CN and CP transcons, potentially. I don't think the Canadian Government has a handle on this, and I don't think they want to get involved unless push comes to shove.
ConrailDetr​oit wrote:Would such a weak and passive government response to a disruption in commerce happen in America, which has a much stronger economy than Canada, and much higher dependence on the transportation infrastructure?
I don't know about that? The Portland, Oregon grain export terminal was shut down for a significant amount of time several years ago, and coal lines were shut down by coal miners blockading them in 2018 in Kentucky. I do think that in both cases, the respective parties were meeting, and the government sought no reason to get involved beyond monitoring the situation. In Canada, it's a much different story. Without trying to get overly political, their system of government is far different than ours. Prime Minister Trudeau does not have a majority government to fall back on when implementing policy. He has to rely at least in part to three other minor political parties, each with their own agenda. Whether his position is right or wrong, he still has to walk on egg shells to get a consensus for him to take action.

And to the point that Canada's economy isn't as strong....of course it isn't. It's a bigger land mass with 1/9th the population of America, half of which is in a single corridor between Windsor and Montreal. They are far more reliant on their rail transport than we are here in America. The sheer density of our rail network in total track miles and alternative routs would make it difficult for a blockade to succeed, except on a few choice points of the Union Pacific or BNSF networks. Shut down certain CN or CP lines and you cut off the east from the west.

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Re: VIA and CN shut down due to Indigenous Protests

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Some of them in the west/north are running. Looks like 692 went to Churchill, and 2 is headed for Toronto.
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Re: VIA and CN shut down due to Indigenous Protests

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Just saw this article this AM on Railway Age.

More than 1,400 trains, including passenger trains, were delayed or cancelled because of the blockades, causing shutdowns of parts of CN’s network as freight is parked across the network, ready to be moved.
“As the situation is stabilizing, we have started calling back most of the temporarily laid off employees based in Eastern Canada to move our customers’ goods as we continue to focus on a safe and progressive recovery,” said JJ Ruest, President and CEO, CN. “While we are keeping a close watch on our network for any further disruptions, we are mobilizing our employees to be ready to implement a focused and methodical recovery plan for our Eastern network. The complete network recovery process will take several weeks. I wholeheartedly thank our customers, partners, stakeholders as well as all the various law enforcement agencies involved, including CN Police Services for their patience, support and understanding during this unprecedented ordeal. I also wish to recognize the very helpful support of the provincial Premiers and their respective governments and the involvement of the Federal Government.
“In Western Canada, for the last two weeks, we have been well on our way to recovering. While we are aware that there is still work ahead of us, export grain, imported containerized goods, coal, potash, energy products and other commodities are moving to markets. We are rebalancing our assets to service customer sites for loading.”
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