Via Rail to temporarily lay off 1,000 workers amid rail blockades

Via Rail says partial passenger train service will not resume this week — as was previously announced — while the company moves to temporarily lay off nearly 1,000 people.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Via says it “has no choice but to continue the cancellation of its services on a large part of its network” while CN Rail lines in other parts of the country remain closed.

As a result, Via says roughly 1,000 of its employees’ jobs will be temporarily suspended.

The news comes one day after CN Rail granted Via permission to resume service on a total of four corridors between southwestern Ontario and Quebec. The routes were due to open Feb. 20.

Sudbury-White River and Churchill-The Pas are the only exceptions at this time, the company says. More than 530 passenger trains have been cancelled since the blockades began on Feb. 6

“VIA Rail was pleased to have obtained authorization yesterday from CN Rail to resume partial service,” spokesperson Marie-Anna Murat said in a statement.

“Despite these latest developments, however, until CN Rail opens the remaining tracks for service, Via Rail has no choice but to continue the cancellations of its services on a large part of its network.”

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