VIA Rail announced on February 13 that they would be shutting down all but a few services. This comes after a request from CN Rail. Unfortunately, the VIA Rail cancellations come just as a number of university students are getting ready to head home for reading week.
"VIA Rail has no other option but to cancel all of its services on the network with the exception of Sudbury-White River (CP Rail) and Churchill-The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway), until further notice," the company said in a news release.
This move is happening amid ongoing protests against the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
CN Rail recently sought court orders to end the protests. However, they have continued in Ontario.
The Mohawk protesters who have set up a blockade in Belleville have stated that they will not leave until RCMP officers make an exit from Wet'suwet'en land in British Columbia, says a report from CBC News.
"The Company has tried to adjust its operations to serve customers in the face of these challenges," CN said in a statement, "it is now left with the only remaining responsible option: progressively shutting down its Eastern Canadian operations until the illegal blockades end."
Narcity has also reached out to VIA Rail for comment and will update this story when we receive a response.
The cancelled services happen to coincide with the beginning of reading week for a number of Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto, Queen's, UBC, and the University of Ottawa.
On Twitter, students and their family members have expressed frustration and confusion at the situation.
Via Rail cancelling all trains the same weekend I'm meant to go home for reading week is giving me mass amounts of anxiety— cass (@cass)1581651042.0
I booked a train home for my daughter weeks ago for reading week from university. Today she was informed she will h… https://t.co/lu3tcvpbg0— Coralie Waschkowski (@Coralie Waschkowski)1581636898.0
"Via Rail cancelling all trains the same weekend I'm meant to go home for reading week is giving me mass amounts of anxiety," wrote @mythxmagic.
"I booked a train home for my daughter weeks ago for reading week from university. Today she was informed she will have NO WAY HOME! How is this fair? Now buses are full and she can’t come home! I don’t drive and cannot go get her either! #DoSomething @VIA_Rail" wrote @coraliew.
via rail cancelling all their trains right before reading week is the biggest f to uni students going home for the break fuck me— kate ミ☆ (@kate ミ☆)1581641042.0
@joe_warmington @VIA_Rail @CNRailway @JustinTrudeau What about the University students like my daughter who was com… https://t.co/rHUSz57BSR— Brian (@Brian)1581639272.0
@Kadie_Free @VIA_Rail Agree, I'm needing to take the train home 3 hours away from my college for reading week next… https://t.co/3o235jKtJ4— Jess| May 28th 😈 (@Jess| May 28th 😈)1581630293.0
@annafoat @VIA_Rail Our kid had a train ticket to come home from Ottawa for reading week. Thank God he found a car… https://t.co/yqA2buRJ9E— kookiemomster (@kookiemomster)1581645647.0
I don't condemn those that protest the pipeline in BC. However, blocking the #viarail from Ottawa to Toronto before… https://t.co/PDcHC1fntc— Emily Rezkalla (@Emily Rezkalla)1581538253.0
While VIA Rail trains are not operating, several other transportation services have seen an influx of passengers.
Greyhound and Megabus have all added extra services to deal with the extra traffic coming their way, while Porter Airlines has said that they have the ability to manage last-minute bookings, according to statements given to CTV News.
The federal government has chosen not to take immediate action to end the protests.
"We are a country that recognizes the right to protest, but we are also a country of the rule of law and we will ensure everything is done to resolve this through dialogue and constructive outcomes," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, according to CBC News.
Meanwhile, the protestors are into their eighth day of demonstrating and say they're not going anywhere.