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VIA Rail working to improve communications when rails are closed

Disruptions over the weekend because of protests on CN Rail lines forced VIA Rail to cancel service on the Toronto to Montreal and Toronto to Ottawa lines, they were able to move passengers by bus instead.

The company has a contingency plan in place for these kinds of hiccups but it doesn't always go smoothly.

Dominique was more than five hours late getting home two weeks ago because of a fire on the tracks east of Ottawa.

"I didn't even hear one announcement in regards to my specific train," she said, adding that she's never had a problem with the service before but was left very disappointed that night.

VIA Rail spokesperson Mylene Belanger says communication is one area they're working to improve.

"When we have emails and when we have phone numbers of our passengers we use those to contact them directly," she said, adding they're implementing other technologies to enhance communication.

They also use digital messaging boards, PA announcements and social media to get the word out when there is a closure.

VIA doesn't have buses on standby, they have to request them from bus companies near the delay and in the city centres and that often adds to the time of delays and confusion for riders.

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