All Aboard! Via Rail service resumes
Published Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:03PM EST Last Updated Thursday, February 20, 2020 4:05PM EST
Back on track, Via Rail service resumed in Southern Ontario Thursday morning. But the threat of the ongoing protests in support of the Wet'suhwet'en hereditary chiefs was still very much top of mind for riders.
Many passengers admitted showing up in the morning with a plan "B" in mind.
Carson Cooper is attending Althouse Teachers' College in London. He and his friends bought Via Rail tickets for a trip to Aldershot in Burlington, but knew they would need a transportation alternative.
"We planned maybe a week and a half ago. Then we heard it might be in a bit of jeopardy. We had a back-up plan just drive up there instead. Luckily it turned out that it was back on this morning. So overall it didn't affect us too bad."
Thursday marked first day passenger train service in Southwestern Ontario was been running in about a week. With runs centring on communities like London, Windsor, Sarnia, Niagra and Toronto
Western University Law Student Ashley Maciuk admits she doesn’t take Via Rail often, but when she does she enjoys using the opportunity to get some work done on the train. That was something she was planning to do on this day, "Yeah, I was very thankful. I do have a car so I was planning on just driving myself. But I'm very thankful the trains are running today."
For the past two weeks there have been rail blockades across the nation in support of the Wet'suhwet'en hereditary chiefs opposing an oil pipe through their traditional territory. Last week Via Rail decided to suspend passenger trains completely.
Maciuk feels that, despite the inconvenience, all voices need to be heard, "I understand why Via Rail did it, and I support their decision to stop the trains. Other than that, I do support the protestors."
Stella and Melvin Finkbeiner don't like driving in Toronto traffic, especially when the weather is bad. But Stella says they wanted to visit their son who is recovering from surgery.
"Plan ‘B’ was to drive to Burlington and take the GO Train from Aldershot to Union Station (in downtown Toronto). But it works out better this way."
Tom Schramm had been planning for months to visit the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, "I booked all the way in November. Booked a day off work and booked the train in November."
But Schramm was ready for any delays or cancellations that might have been put in place.
"If they offered a refund, I probably just would have taken that. It wouldn't be the end of the world and I accepted that."