No need to panic, trains will keep running

Canadian Pacific and teamsters rail workers union ensure commuter rail continues even if strike stops freight shipments

West Coast Express service facing disruption because of Canadian Pacific labour dispute.

West Coast Express service facing disruption because of Canadian Pacific labour dispute.

Canadian Pacific and its Teamsters are working out their differences without holding big-city commuters hostage in the process.

So it will be business as usual Wednesday at West Coast Express commuter rail stations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The federal government met with both sides Tuesday to try ensure that commuter trains will keep running, even if the Teamsters walk off the job Wednesday, following an earlier strike vote.

Canadian Pacific crews operate the West Coast Express in Metro Vancouver for TransLink.

“We’re hoping that the announcement will include something along the lines that impacts will not be on the commuter rail service,” TransLink’s Fred Cummings said Tuesday.

“We do remain hopeful. Let’s wait until the announcement comes out and let’s see what happens.”

That announcement came later in the day, said Coast Mountain Bus Co. spokesperson Jennifer Siddon.

There will be no disruption of commuter rail service after both sides agreed to maintain the service. Canadian Pacific crews also operate the commuter rail services in Toronto and Montreal.

“We’re very relieved and we look forward to business as usual, tomorrow,” Siddon said.

TransLink had planned to offer a shuttle service from Port Haney and Maple Meadows stations into Coquitlam Centre.

TrainBus coaches and other extra buses would have picked up people at the both stations in the morning, take them to Coquitlam Centre, then to buses to Braid SkyTrain station.

According to the union, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, the major issues are work rules, fatigue management, and pensions, which the union says the employer wants to cut by 40 per cent.

If the walkout takes place involving about 4,800 engineers, conductors and rail traffic controllers, freight service across Canada could be disrupted.