Weather delays rail traffic, but Via train moving
TAKO, Sask. - A Via Rail train with 154 passengers was moving again Friday after being delayed for more than a day in western Saskatchewan due to a severe spring snowstorm.
The train had to stop Thursday morning near the tiny community of Tako, 190 kilometres west of Saskatoon, because of heavy snow and high winds that put all rail traffic on the Prairies behind schedule.
CN Rail spokesman Warren Chandler said there were delays on the entire main line between Winnipeg and Edmonton.
"Due to extreme weather we've seen over the past 24 hours in Alberta and Saskatchewan, we're experiencing delays to all rail traffic that's moving through this area," Chandler said. "There's been blowing snow and snowfall accumulation that's causing delays to all rail traffic."
Via Rail said its No. 2 train from Vancouver to Toronto was stopped on the tracks for 26 hours before it got rolling again.
The company said passengers did get food and supplies. It also said it would assist anyone who needed to make connections at the end of the trip.
"We're making sure that passengers reach their destinations safely and as comfortably as possible," said Via spokeswoman Mylene Belanger. "We are meeting everyone to make sure all their needs are satisfied."
It wasn't immediately clear how many trains were affected by the delays.
Chandler said extra crews working around the clock were trying to clear the tracks.
While some trains were expected to be able to use alternate lines, Chandler said "residual delays" were likely to persist until sometime on Saturday.
"This was just some extreme winter conditions we've seen here on the Canadian prairies," he said.
There was heavy snow over a wide swath of Alberta and Saskatchewan on Thursday. Some regions received considerably more than the predicted levels of 10 to 15 centimetres.
The snow, winds and icy conditions also made driving hazardous. Many roads and highways were closed and travel advisories were issued.
Northwest of Edmonton, a 23-year-old woman, a four-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy were killed Thursday when the compact car they were in crashed head-on with a truck.
South of the Alberta capital, a chaotic series of crashes that involved at least 100 vehicles sent almost two dozen people to hospital, but only one person had serious injuries.
Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services said about 80 others were treated at the crash site for minor to moderate injuries.
The collisions involved a large passenger bus, several semi-trucks and a cattle liner carrying 60 head of cattle.
In Saskatchewan, numerous motorists were stranded for a time on a highway near Lloydminster, which sits on the boundary with Alberta.
Traffic in both directions was at a standstill because of a snowdrift 100 metres long and more than half a metre deep.
Highway crews attempted to remove the drift, but blowing snow just covered the road again.
— With a file from CJWW