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West Coast Express service to resume on Friday afternoon, TransLink says
VANCOUVER -- Commuters should be able to take the West Coast Express home from work on Friday afternoon following a day-long stoppage caused by a protest on the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks.
Service was abruptly cut off Thursday afternoon as activists gathered on the Pitt River Rail Bridge, but TransLink said the West Coast Express should be back on its regular schedule Friday afternoon.
"We have been advised by Canadian Pacific Railway that we will be able to operate West Coast Express service this afternoon," a spokesperson said in an email.
"We thank our customers for their patience."
The protesters involved said they were inspired by other rail blockades across the country, including on CN Rail and Via Rail tracks, which are meant to show solidarity for Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in northern B.C.
To help people get to work on Friday morning, TransLink set up a bus bridge to connect passengers heading from Mission to Coquitlam Central station.
But the transit provider warned commuters buses would still likely be "busier than normal," and suggested people "try and seek alternative modes of travel."
Isabel Krupp, who participated in the blockade on the rail bridge, said that the West Coast Express was a "casualty" of a CP Rail blockade.
"We're here to block the flow of commodities, the flow of stolen wealth, across stolen territories," Krupp said.
"We understand that commuters are impacted. It's not our intention to impact regular working class people, but it is our intention to shut down Canada in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en and that does mean some people will are going to miss their work today, but what we're seeing happen up north on Wet'suwet'en territory is a colonial invasion, is colonial land theft."
But some West Coast Express passengers said Thursday they feel angry by the situation and frustrated by the demonstrators.
"You're angering everyone else who may have been on your side once upon a time. You've got a big group of people you're disappointing," said Maxine Harvey. "There are other places you can protest to get your point across."
Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said "working people" were the ones affected by the protesters' actions.
"There are literally thousands of people in this community that use the West Coast Express every day to get to work and then back home to their families," West told CTV News. "No government has been hurt, no politician's been hurt, no company's been hurt. The people hurt are working people in Port Coquitlam who have nothing to do with any of this."
Protests have been underway in Metro Vancouver for several days and have caused significant traffic disruptions.
Dozens of people blocked occupied David Eby's Vancouver office Thursday and access to the Granville Street Bridge was blocked on Wednesday, closing the crossing to traffic for hours. Earlier in the week, the protests led to overnight road closures at Broadway and Cambie Street and blockades outside the Port of Vancouver and Deltaport.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel and Angela Jung