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West Coast Express trains cancelled Thursday night and Friday morning due to protests on tracks
Published Thursday, February 13, 2020 3:22PM PST Last Updated Friday, February 14, 2020 10:52AM PST
VANCOUVER -- Commuters who use the West Coast Express will face a second day of service cancellations because of an ongoing demonstration on the tracks, TransLink announced Thursday night.
The announcement comes after train service on the line was also cancelled Thursday afternoon because of the protest.
TransLink said in a statement it had been advised by Canadian Pacific Railway that it would not be able to run any service on the line on Friday.
"Protesters are currently blocking Canadian Pacific tracks on the Pitt River Rail Bridge and we are unable to move trains, conduct necessary maintenance safety checks, and perform routine inspections this evening," TransLink said.
The transit agency said a bus bridge would be set up for passengers heading from Mission to Coquitlam Central Station but warned that buses would be "busier than normal."
The demonstrators said they were inspired by other rail blockades across the country; CN Rail was forced to shut down its entire Eastern Canada network and Via Rail had to halt passenger trains across the country Thursday.
"We saw it's had a huge economic impact. It's really shut down Canada in line with the call from Wet'suwet'en, so we are taking that tactic as well," said Isabel Krupp with Red Braid Alliance.
Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said in a tweet posted Thursday night that blocking the West Coast Express is "not lawful or peaceful protest, it is unacceptable and a disgrace."
The demonstrators told CTV News they are in it for the long haul and have no plans of leaving the tracks near Pitt Meadows until the RCMP leave the Wet'suwet'en territory.
"We understand and we regret that some regular, working-class people are disrupted in their day-to-day lives. That's an unfortunate consequence but the more pressing reality is the colonial invasion, the genocidal raid on the Wet'suwet'en people up north," Krupp said.
Some of those WCE passengers said 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."
According to TransLink, there are more than 2.8 million trips on the West Coast Express every year, and about 11,000 per weekday.