West Coast Express commuters will need to find other ways to get to and from work on Thursday afternoon. A protest blocking the Canadian Pacific tracks on the Pitt River rail bridge has seen West Coast Express Trains cancelled. News of the disruption comes just as Via Rail cancelled their eastern Canada routes. The Express, which runs from Mission and right into downtown Vancouver, will leave hundreds of commuters seeking alternative methods of transportation.
An email sent to Narcity by TransLink Media Relations revealed that the trains heading eastbound were not running on the afternoon and evening of Thursday, February 13.
"All West Coast Express trains heading eastbound from Waterfront to Mission will not run this afternoon due to protesters blocking Canadian Pacific tracks on the Pitt River rail bridge," Narcity was told.
"We have been advised by Canadian Pacific Railway Police that we will not be able to run any more West Coast Express service today."
Protests have been shutting down bridges around Vancouver for several days now.
"At this point, we are asking customers to use SkyTrain and bus instead. CMBC is examining options for additional bus service and details will follow," the statement continued.
However, SkyTrains don’t reach Mission or other cities outside of the Metro Vancouver area.
#WCE West Coast Express eastbound service is suspended this afternoon due to protestors blocking the railway adjace… https://t.co/FrMxSEACPn— TransLink BC | Masks Mandatory (@TransLink BC | Masks Mandatory)1581636310.0
As a result, this recommended replacement transit may not be a viable option for all West Coast Express users.
News of the cancellations comes just after VIA Rail cancelled all their trains in Canada on Thursday afternoon, also ostensibly as a result of widespread protests.
According to CBC, supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are those behind the protest due to the GasLink pipeline project that they oppose.
They reportedly erected a blockade on Thursday morning.
#alleyesonwetsuweten #coquitlamrailblockade https://t.co/rgYKbuzZJ9— Red Braid Alliance for Decolonial Socialism (@Red Braid Alliance for Decolonial Socialism)1581633958.0
Video footage shared on social media shows some of those protests near Coquitlam.
“We are gathering ourselves, blockading tracks on the CP train bridge over the Mary Hill Bypass, a secondary highway in the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam," reads a tweet from the Red Braid Alliance for Decolonial Socialism.
According to Translink, per CTV News, there are about 11,000 trips on the Express per weekday.
It remains to be seen whether disruption will continue beyond Thursday.