Via Rail service between Ottawa, Toronto cancelled as protest blocks tracks near Belleville


A blockade on a rail line in eastern Ontario has halted service along one of Via Rail’s busiest routes and led to numerous cancellations.

Spokesman Karl-Philip Marchand Giguere did not provide reasons for the blockade, which prompted the rail provider to suspend all travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal on Friday. But he said the blockade has led to numerous delays and cancellations throughout the day.

“We are aware that this situation, which is unfortunately beyond our control, has an impact on our customers and we apologize for the inconvenience this situation is causing,” Marchand Giguere said in a statement.

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He said trains are standing by and the agency is prepared to resume regular service when the tracks are cleared.

The blockade also paused freight service for Canadian National Railway, which said it’s stopped running trains due to a protest between the eastern Ontario towns of Shannonville and Desoronto.

The company said it is monitoring the situation, but offered no other details.

Ontario Provincial Police have also said they’re monitoring the situation, but there have been no arrests. Bill Dickson, an OPP spokesman, said Friday afternoon that the protesters had been there for 24 hours.

Photos from the scene show a snowplow and several other vehicles lined up on the road just shy of the tracks, and plywood signs spray-painted with the phrases “Indian land” and “RCMP get out.”

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