|Ottawa Citizen 2 August 2014|
Via situation is "Unprecedented"
Hundreds stranded after collision shuts down Ottawa - Toronto corridor
CARYS MILLS OTTAWA CITIZEN
Hundreds of frustrated holiday weekend travellers fumed after Via Rail cancelled all trains Friday between Toronto and Ottawa, and Toronto and Montreal, after one of its trains collided with a derailed car from a CN freight train.
Of about 300 passengers on Via's train heading to Toronto from Ottawa, one received a minor scratch from the crash that happened around 2 p.m., according to Mylene Belanger, a spokesperson for Via Rail.
"We are very, very sorry about the inconveniences the situation may cause and this is beyond our control," she said.
"It's an unprecedented situation and it's been a challenge to find motorcoaches to cany all our passengers."
More than 4,000 of its passengers and 16 trains were affected. Via managed to secure 11 buses and some passengers were even transported by taxi, she said.
However, not all passengers travelling Friday managed to hop on a bus.
"No alternate transportation is available and no service will be provided for trains leaving from Montreal to Toronto, Toronto to Montreal and Toronto to Ottawa," according to a Via statement Friday evening. Services between Ottawa and Montreal would continue to operate, however.
Train service was scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Saturday, after crews clear up the mess from the crash about seven kilometres east of Gananoque.
Passengers booked on trains that were to leave Saturday morning at 6:40 and 6:45 are being scheduled to join trains that depart later in the morning, according to Via Rail's Facebook page.
Philip Mak had boarded a Via Rail train in Toronto Friday when passengers were informed about the derailment.
"Honestly, I'm very annoyed," said Mak, adding that he would be trapped in Toronto for a few hours.
He said he discovered while waiting at the ticket booth that it was unlikely that the train would be departing at all. Mak said he had already made plans in Ottawa, so he and a friend had to find other arrangements.
"We managed to get the last two Greyhound tickets on the 9:15 p.m. bus to Ottawa and get in at 2 a.m. " he said.
"Needless to say, we're extremely unhappy," Mak said. "I was going to the cottage for a relaxation weekend and not off to a very good start."
Jillian Dakin had planned to visit family for the long weekend, but she said it was unclear how long she would be waiting for a bus.
"I'm a little upset, but there's nothing that I can do personally," she said.
Dakin, who had planned on getting off at Fallowfield, said she had called her parents and hoped they would drive to Kingston.
"I'm just hoping my parents will be very generous and come get me. If not, then I would be stuck until I could get a bus," Dakin said.
Others took to social media to vent their frustrations:
Over two hours delayed and not ONE courtesy announcement in the business lounge from @VIA-Rail explaining our options or wait time. Not cool. (MattBorrelli)
# ViaRail? Try #ViaFail.( MrScottLemoine)