NEWS

CP Rail strike disrupts Rocky Mountaineer service

05/23/2012 04:11 EDT | Updated 07/23/2012 05:12 EDT

The Canadian Pacific Railway strike will not impact commuter routes in Vancouver, but it has stopped service on the Rocky Mountaineer between Kamloops and Calgary.

The job action means their trains can't use CP Rail tracks, forcing the company to bus passengers from Kamloops to Banff and Calgary.

Rocky Mountaineer spokesman Ian Robertson says passengers are disappointed, but not angry.

"They understand this is a situation that is totally beyond our control, and that we are doing everything we can to provide as best a guest experience as we can."

Robertson says passengers will be compensated.

"They are being provided with monetary compensation or the opportunity to travel on the Rocky Mountaineer on a later date," he said.

"From the reports I've received, the guests are very understanding and quite appreciative of the compensation we are offering as this is a situation that is out of our control."

Legislation to end strike

CP Rail workers issued a 72-hour strike notice over the weekend and almost 5,000 engineers, conductors, yardmen and others walked off job early Wednesday morning.

Despite last-minute talks, the company and the Teamsters Union failed to reach a deal Tuesday night. The union says CP Rail is demanding major concessions on pensions, work rules and wages.

The strike has stalled shipments of grain, coal, lumber and other freight hauled by CP Rail, but a last-minute deal was reached to keep most commuter trains that use CP track operating. The deal meant the morning commute on the West Coast Express was unaffected even though conductors and engineers on the commuter service are contracted by CP Rail.

The federal government says it's prepared to introduce legislation to end the strike.

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt says a prolonged CP Rail strike could cost the Canadian economy half a billion dollars a week. Raitt says she is calling on both sides to either settle their dispute or submit to binding arbitration.

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