12/22/2011 08:01 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

Via Rail redirects section of Montreal-Gaspé route

Via Rail closed both directions of a section of the Matapedia-Gaspé rail line Thursday because of structural concerns.

Since December 14, passengers have had to take a three-hour bus between New Carlisle and Gaspé because workers were repairing parts of the Grand-Pabos Bridge, in Chandler.

Malcolm Andrews, with Via Rail, said those repairs were scheduled to be completed this week, but further investigation revealed that a pillar on the bridge was deteriorating.

Andrews said the bridge's damaged pillar raised concern about similar infrastructure along the stretch of rail line and Via extended the closure to Matapedia.

Starting Thursday, passengers are being taken by bus between Matapedia and Gaspé, a five-hour trip.

Via said normal service will resume when engineers decide the Gaspé peninsula rail network is safe.