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MONTREAL — VIA Rail is set to resume partial service between Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa as nationwide protests continue over a British Columbia pipeline project.
After receiving a notification from CN allowing for the partial resumption, VIA Rail has announced that beginning Thursday morning, Feb. 20, only trains that serve full trips between Quebec City and Ottawa will resume service.
Trains 22, 24, 26 and 28 leaving from Ottawa will be resuming service.
Trains 33, 35, 37 and 39 leaving from Quebec City will resume service.
To allow for a smooth transition, all current reservations on those segments will be protected.
All other VIA Rail services remain cancelled with the exception of Sudbury-White River (CP Rail) and Churchill-The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway), until further notice.
VIA Rail is reaching out directly to passengers with reservations that have not been cancelled to update them on the latest developments. All other passengers are encouraged to visit our website for more information.
“Our passengers rely on VIA Rail for regular and safe intercity rail service and we are eager to resume operations,” said the company in an official statement. “We remain hopeful for an end to the situation as soon as possible and encourage all relevant parties to continue their efforts towards a peaceful resolution. We thank our passengers for their continued patience and understanding.”
The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, is scheduled to address “the current situation and actions relating to the Wet’suwet’en people” this morning in Ottawa.
Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory, though it’s received approval from elected band councils.
Since the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction and keep the hereditary chiefs and their supporters away from the pipeline worksites, protests by Indigenous people and supporters have shut down the CN rail network in eastern Canada, suspended Via Rail passenger service, and temporarily blocked traffic on streets and bridges and at ports in multiple cities.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, which he says he wants to do quickly but peacefully.
Indigenous-relations ministers both federally and in B.C. are seeking to meet leaders of British Columbia First Nations in hopes of finding a solution.
With files from The Canadian Press