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Via Rail passengers face long delays as service resumes

Via Rail passenger trains are running again between Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, after thousands were left stranded over Christmas because of a CN derailment near Cobourg.

Tuesday morning, some passengers still anxious the dozens of cancellations could affect their travels.

“Oh I was worried! I was about to get a refund and just not go see my family,” said Mikayla Fournier, who is travelling from Quebec City to Kingston.

Fournier’s trip was delayed two hours during a stopover in Ottawa. She says she was at the station in Quebec City just after 4 a.m. for her 5:25 train to make sure she wouldn’t be affected by any potential delays or cancellations.

Others, like Amy Hocking narrowly avoided the cancellations, choosing to book her trip Tuesday rather than on Boxing Day. Still, Hocking says she faced a four-hour long delay.

“I’m going to Toronto so I’ll probably get home way later than I expect, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get home,” Hocking said.

Across the province, passengers are still dealing with the ramifications of the cancellations that occurred over the past two days; some travellers are only just arriving at their destinations, after leaving during the holiday.

“I was stressed, I just wanted to get back home, I had no idea how I was going to get back home and I knew a lot of people were in a similar situation to me,” Katherine Speur said.

Speur was travelling from Quebec City to Toronto on Boxing Day, but just moments before leaving, she discovered her connecting train in Ottawa was cancelled.

It took hours of searching, including pitching strangers for a ride, but finally, just before she arrived in Ottawa, Speur was able to book a bus ticket to Toronto.

“It was packed, every single seat was full,” Speur said. “The fact I even got a seat, I was really grateful.”

In a statement to CTV News, Via Rail says, “due to expected congestion, we would like to advise our passengers that trains might incur significant delays.”

Via adds passengers who had their trips cancelled on Dec. 25 or 26, or who were forced to find other transportation methods, are entitled to a refund.

Trains were running on a modified schedule Tuesday and are expected to return to a normal schedule Wednesday; however, the rail company says some delays are still expected.

Still, travellers like Fournier say the delays are a small price to pay if it means a chance to be home over the holidays.

“To spend quality time with all my family members that I get to see maybe once every two years and it makes me really happy to go see them,” Fournier said. Top Stories

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