“No other option”: VIA Rail cancels most services until further notice

TORONTO — VIA Rail has cancelled most of its services until further notice due to ongoing disruption on the rail lines.

Blockades set up by anti-pipeline protesters have forced Canadian National Railway Co. to shut down its entire network in Eastern Canada, and VIA Rail to cancel much of its passenger service across the country. VIA Rail is still running trains in parts of Manitoba and Ontario.

“Following an advisory from the infrastructure owner that they are unable to support our operations across their network, VIA Rail has no other option but to cancel most of its services until further notice,” says a statement from the company.

VIA Rail is providing full refunds for all cancelled trips, which are being processed automatically. “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 a minimum of 15 days to receive.”

In order to expedite refunds, passengers can also cancel upcoming trips online themselves without service charges under the following conditions only:

. One-way trip: the scheduled departure time has not yet passed and is no later than Feb 20.

. Roundtrip or multi-segment trip: as long as first trip segment’s scheduled departure time has not yet passed and is no later than Feb 20, all segments will be refunded, even if additional segments fall after Feb 20.

. Partial cancellations are not possible online.

The statement adds: “In order to allow be able to help as many customers as possible, we respectfully request that you contact our VIA Customer Center only in cases of immediate urgency, at 1-888-VIA-RAIL (1-888 842-7245), TTY 800-268-9503 (deaf or hard of hearing).

“We understand the impact this unfortunate situation has on our passengers and regret the significant inconvenience this is causing to their travel.”

Protesters across Canada say they’re acting in solidarity with those opposed to the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would cross the traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northern B.C.

With file from The Canadian Press

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