Trains News Wire Digest for Wednesday, Feb. 12

Canadian blockades continue, with VIA extending cancellations; no action yet on CN injunctions; and more
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The first section of your rail news for Wednesday morning:

— VIA Rail Canada has cancelled service through Thursday between Montreal and Toronto, and Toronto and Ottawa, because of the ongoing blockade of Canadian National Railway tracks at Belleville, Ontario. Service continues between Ottawa and Montreal, Montreal and Quebec City, and west of Toronto in southwestern Ontario. The blockade began disrupting service Feb. 6.

— While Canadian National warned that it would shut down much of its operation in Canada because of the blockades [see “CN says blockades will force it to shut down much of Canadian network,” Trains News Wire, Feb. 11., 2020], the blockades at Belleville and New Hazelton, British Columbia, remained in place as of early this morning, the National Post reports. CN said Tuesday that it had obtained injunctions to clear its routes; transport minister Marc Garneau said the blockades were illegal but it is up to the provinces, rather than the federal government, to enforce the court orders. The blockades, which began last week, are in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation indigenous group, which is protesting a pipeline project that crosses its land in British Columbia. They are part of a series of protests across Canada that on Tuesday included blocking entrance to the British Columbia legislature building.

— New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says he will introduce a constitutional amendment guaranteeing funding for NJ Transit, the state’s troubled rail and bus network. NJBiz said Sweeney offered few details on the plan, which would require supermajority approval in both houses of the state legislature, as well as approval by voters. NJ Transit currently is funded according to recommendations in the governor’s budget proposal, which means funding can vary widely from year to year.

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