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Via cancels all Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Ottawa departures until end of Friday

Via Rail has extended its suspension of service on two major train lines until the end of Friday because of the ongoing anti-pipeline protest near Belleville, Ont.

Service has been disrupted on the Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Ottawa lines since late last week.

In a statement, Via said “We know that this situation has an impact on our passengers’ travel plans and we apologize for the inconvenience. We encourage passengers travelling in the affected areas over the next 2 days, to use alternative modes of transportation.”

Via said Wednesday it has cancelled 256 trains, affecting at least 42,100 passengers, since the protest began.

The Mohawks of Tyendinaga are demonstrating in support of the Wet’suwet’en in B.C. where the RCMP recently enforced a court order clearing camps built to block construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The Mohawks have said they won’t leave until the RCMP have left Wet’suwet’en territory. On Tuesday, the Ontario Provincial Police said they were preparing to end the protest.

The demonstrators are not obstructing the tracks but are set up nearby — too close, according to Via, for trains to pass safely. The tracks are just outside the reserve boundary of Tyendinaga within its claimed territory.

The RCMP have finished dismantling the Wet’suwet’en camps in B.C., but remain in the territory to ensure compliance with the court order.

Rail service is also interrupted between Prince Rupert and Prince George, B.C. in both directions until further notice.

Via says it will provide automatic refunds to passengers who bought tickets for the affected routes, but warns it could take up to 10 days for customers to see the funds due to the large numbers of transactions.

Via service is continuing as usual  in Southwestern Ontario and between Montreal and Ottawa and Montreal and Quebec City.

CBC

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