July 22, 2009

Strike threat looms at Canada’s Via Rail

Some long-haul passenger train service was canceled in Canada Wednesday as Via Rail engineers posted a 72-hour strike notice.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference issued the notice Tuesday, meaning some 340 locomotive engineers could walk off the job at noon Friday, the Canwest News Service reported.

The possibility of a walkout prompted Via to post notice it was pre-emptively shortening or canceling some long-distance routes to avoid stranding passengers in the event of a strike.

Toronto-Vancouver trains in either direction will be terminated in Winnipeg, and other routes that could overlap the strike deadline were being canceled or short-routed, the Via Web site said.

Union President Dan Shewchuk said engineers would continue to operate trains Friday morning as there was no intent to strand passengers, Canwest said.