West Coast Express back up and running after protesters end rail blockade

All West Coast Express trains are set to return to their regular schedule Friday afternoon, after activists ended their blockade on Canadian Pacific Railway tracks in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

A TransLink spokesperson said CP has cleared the commuter train to begin operating in time for the first eastbound train from Waterfront Station at 3:50 p.m.

“We thank our customers for their patience,” a spokesperson for the transit authority said.

All trains Thursday afternoon and Friday morning were cancelled because of the demonstration by supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern B.C. The protesters packed up and left Friday morning after spending about 18 hours on the tracks.

TransLink has said the protest made it impossible to move trains, conduct safety checks or perform inspections on Thursday night, which meant the trains weren’t ready for the Friday morning commute.

Commuter impact

Friday morning commuters told CBC they were frustrated by the interruption to their daily schedules.

Ryan Burden said the demonstrations meant he had to leave his home in Maple Ridge at 5 a.m. to get to work in Vancouver. He said he likely won’t make it home again until 6 p.m.

Ryan Burden’s commute was much longer than he anticipated, due to the demonstrations that stopped West Coast Express Trains Friday morning. (GP Mendoza/CBC News )

“I’m a single dad who has to get home to his son,” said Burden.

“I’m really upset. I fully support the people who are protesting as long as they don’t screw with the people who have nothing to do with it. It has nothing to do with the average person trying to get to work every day. And if the government can’t do anything about it right away, what’s the point of government?”