Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Via's Skeena run among those cancelled due to strike deadline

Via Rail Canada has cancelled The Skeena run until further notice, part of a nationwide cancellation of the longer distance options for some of the railroads 16 train routes in anticipation of a strike deadline of this Friday.

The potential labour dispute comes amid the height of the tourist season and could send many travel plans into disarray as Canadians and visitors to the country seek out alternatives to their planned mode of transportation to their destinations.

The dispute could have an impact on local hotels, restaurants and services as Rupert bound travellers will have to decide if riding the bus or renting a car is in their travel plans in order to make their Prince Rupert rendezvous. Many travellers use the Skeena as part of a circle travel route, connecting with the BC or Alaska Ferries to continue their travels to the Pacific.

Via, currently in the midst of labour negotiations with its Teamsters union representing its locomotive engineers, began the process of shutting down its railroad on Tuesday, in order to not have passengers stranded far from their destinations on deadline day.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference issued their 72 hour strike notification on Tuesday, putting the union in a legal strike position at noon on Friday.

The Via train departing from Jasper and expected in Prince Rupert Thursday night, instead will terminate in Prince George, the planned departure from Prince Rupert eastward on Friday has thus been cancelled as well.

Other lines in the national service have also been cutback or cancelled, with all trains expected to come to a stop at the noon deadline Friday.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Via advised that while they were still hopeful of a negotiated settlement in time for the Friday deadline, they felt it best to begin the process of suspending services for the benefit of their customers.
Customers with concerns or questions can contact Via Canada at 888 VIA-RAIL (842-7245).

You can access the list of cancelled trains from the Via website here.

National Post-- Via Rail cancels trains across Canada after strike threat
Globe and Mail-- VIA Rail faces strike, cancels routes
CBC-- Via Rail faces Friday strike deadline

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