News / Toronto

CN strike could affect GO Transit service on Tuesday

Signal workers with CN, which owns portions of GO track, could walk off the job after midnight, causing some lines to experience delays.

GO lines that CN owns portions of — including Kitchener, Lakeshore West and Richmond Hill — could experience delays.

Torstar News Service

GO lines that CN owns portions of — including Kitchener, Lakeshore West and Richmond Hill — could experience delays.

GO Transit is preparing for potential service disruptions if the union representing Canadian National Railway signal workers goes on strike Tuesday.

According to a statement posted to the website of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on Saturday, the union filed a notice to strike on Friday and could walk off the job as early as 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning.

IBEW System Council No. 11 represents over 700 signal and communications workers at CN. A strike at the railway could affect GO Transit because CN owns about 10 per cent of the rail corridors on which GO operates.

A representative from CN said Monday afternoon that talks were still ongoing and that a deal could be reached before that deadline.

A spokesperson for Metrolinx, the provincial agency that operates GO, said that “in the event of a labour disruption we expect that the CN signal system would continue to operate.

“GO will work closely with CN to manage any service issues,” wrote Anne Marie Aikins in an email.

She added that CN had plans in place to “allow us to continue to operate safely. Safety as always is our top priority.”

GO lines that CN doesn’t own portions of — including Barrie, Lakeshore East, Stouffville, Milton, and the Union Pearson Express — wouldn’t be affected.

It’s possible service on the Kitchener, Lakeshore West, and Richmond Hill lines could experience delays, but only in the event that signals malfunction on a CN portion of track and the company’s management isn’t able to immediately rectify the problem.

Patrick Waldron, a spokesperson for CN, said the company has “contingency plans in place to maintain service to our freight customers and to passenger operations.”

He said he was hopeful a labour stoppage could be avoided.

“We do believe a fair agreement can be reached before the strike deadline and we’re committed to working with the union as long as necessary,” he said.

The union didn’t immediately return requests for comment on Monday morning.

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