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19 Feb 2020 | 08:30 PM UTC

Canada: New rail blockade erected in St-Lambert February 19 /update 3

Protesters erect new rail blockade in St-Lambert (Québec) on February 19, causing further disruptions to train service in the region; VIA Rail extends service suspensions

security
transportation
CAN

Event

A new rail blockade was erected by protests in St-Lambert (Québec) on Wednesday, February 19, forcing commuter trains on the Exo St-Hilaire line to suspend service to Montréal. Around 100 people gathered on the tracks to protest in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who are opposing the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia (BC). According to the demonstrators, they will continue to block the line until police officers leave Wet'suwet'en territory. The Exo regional train service has been suspended on the Mont-Saint-Hilaire line until further notice, and additional buses are being deployed to maintain some commuter transportation services. Further information can be found on the Exo website here.

VIA Rail also announced on Wednesday that it will delay resuming service between Montréal and Québec City until at least Saturday, February 22, due to the new blockade. Trains were originally scheduled to resume on Thursday, February 20. All VIA Rail service except for the Sudbury-White River (CP Rail) and Churchill-The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway) lines remains suspended and passengers will not be able to book a ticket before Wednesday, February 26. Further service cancelations or delays to the resumption of trains are possible over the coming days and weeks. Additional information can be found on the VIA Rail website here.

Context

Demonstrations in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have been held in recent weeks throughout Canada. Tyendinaga Mohawk members have been blocking the railway near Belleville since February 6, to protest the arrest of demonstrators who are opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia. The protesters said they will continue to block the tracks until police officers leave We'tsuwet'en territory in British Columbia.

Advice

Individuals in Canada are advised to keep abreast of the situation, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, confirm rail reservations, consider using alternative routes or modes of transportation, and allow additional time to travel.