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Saskatchewan News

VIA train on its way after stranded for 26 hours

Passenger train stops after freight train breaks down west of Saskatoon
Reported by News Talk Radio staff
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Passengers on a Toronto-bound VIA Rail train are finally on their way to their final destination after being stranded on a line west of Saskatoon for 26 hours.

The train made a brief stop in Saskatoon and many passengers got off to stretch their legs or make their way home. However, most were in good spirits.

"We're just taking our time. It's a fun trip," said Philippe Fazeau, who is traveling with his daughter Mia to visit his other daughter who is going to school in Montreal.

"We played Scrabble," Mia said when asked how they passed the time during the delay.

Other passengers agreed that the delay gave them more time to relax or bond with fellow passengers.

"We had a guitar player and a singer. We played cards. We talked," said Dianne Wakaruk, who had to get back on the train to go to Winnipeg.

"I knit, so I knitted a lot," said Alissa Arnason, whose got on the train in Vancouver and was happy Saskatoon was her last stop.

"I'm home finally. I'm going to have a shower and go home and go to bed," Arnason laughed.  

The train had to stop because three Canadian National Railway freight trains further down the line had stopped near Unity. Bad weather prevented repair crews from getting to the scene.

A VIA Rail spokesperson said all the passengers stayed on the train the whole time and they will receive some sort of compensation for their troubles. Passengers told us that they were told each of them would get a free ticket for a future train ride.

Mylene Belanger with VIA Rail, told News Talk Radio earlier on Friday that the train came from Vancouver and had been sitting for the past 26 hours. She said there was plenty of food and water to go around for all 154 passengers on board.

Warren Chandler with Canadian National Railway was asked about reports suggesting the holdup was the result of problems with one or possibly more CN trains down the line.

"At this point, I can't speculate on that. There are all these weather factors that are brought into play. Due to the weather, at this point, I can tell you we're experiencing delays to all traffic. We're attempting to get them clear as soon as possible," he said.

A Canadian Pacific Railway freight train was also stranded on its branch line near Unity. Just west of Unity, the CP branch line goes over the CN main line by use of its bridge.

The VIA Rial train is travelling on the CN main line.

-with files from News Talk Radio's Trelle Burdeniuk, Karin Yeske and Chris Carr.