National passenger rail service crippled as Via Rail engineers go on strike

Locomotive engineers at Via Rail are officially on strike, effectively shutting down the bulk of national passenger rail service across Canada.

MONTREAL — Locomotive engineers at Via Rail are officially on strike, effectively shutting down the bulk of national passenger rail service across Canada.

The union representing 340 engineers say workers walked off the job as of noon ET after contract talks failed.

Union spokesman Stephane Lacroix says they received no response to a final offer tabled Thursday.

Via says the contract negotiations reached an impasse early Friday morning despite four days of intense negotiations.

Via had already cancelled some departures this week in anticipation of a walkout and the rail company said it would have to cancel all rail service across the country without the engineers on the job.

The strike comes during one of the busiest travel periods of the year, disrupting summer vacation plans and hurting Canadian tourism operators already suffering amidst the economic downturn.

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