Rail workers claim success in stopping CPR Expressway trailer train

BRIGHTON, Ont. — Striking CP Rail workers put the brakes on the railway’s main roll-on/roll-off intermodal train just outside of Brighton, Ont. yesterday.

CP employee and protestor Chris Hooper explained in an e-mail to TodaysTrucking.com how he and several co-workers stopped and delayed the railway’s “money train” Expressway service, which carries loaded highway truck trailers by track through the busy Detroit-Montreal corridor.

He said the location was chosen as there are no bells, gates, and there are clear sightlines for about two 2 miles on either side of the crossing.

CP protestors say they are within their rights to stop Expressway
train operators on the tracks. (Teamsters Rail union image).

The workers stopped the eastbound train for about an hour and spoke to the crew about the two-week strike. Protestors then stopped a westbound Expressway train for about the same amount of time.

“We (were) within our legal rights as we were only sitting off to the side of the tracks and we were not in any way attempting to cause a train to go into what’s known as emergency braking procedures,” Hooper explains.

Hooper claims CP mangers who are replacing the union track builders and maintenance staff during the strike then called the OPP to put a stop to the disruption. He says the police took down the names and information of the protestors, but left without laying any charges.

Workers attempting similar stunts in B.C. and Quebec weren’t as lucky, however.

According to Canadian Press, six striking maintenance workers in the Okanagan region of B.C. and Montreal face charges for attempting to physically stop train traffic.

Several courts in most Canadian provinces have imposed injunctions on the striking Teamsters Canada Rail Conference members, limiting picket activity and banning most obstruction tactics.

Hooper claims the Expressway operator in Brighton stopped on his own accord and chose to speak with the workers.

“This will be the first of many picket lines that will pop up randomly throughout the Belleville (area) as (yesterday) was a major success for all of us out there,” said Hooper.

A CP spokesman was not able to return messages in time of this posting.

UPDATE: A CP spokesperson says records show a train did stop at the crossing on (Tues. May 29th), but only for five minutes — “certainly not nearly an hour the (rail worker) said.” She said that the operator stopped the train to ensure the safety of the striking workers in the area of the crossing.

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