Cancelled trains leave Windsor student scrambling to see Valentine in Hamilton

At 6 a.m. Friday morning, Rudresh Shukla was on his phone in Windsor's empty Via Rail station, trying to find a way to get to his love on Valentine's Day.

Rudresh Shukla sat in Windsor's Via station trying to find a way to Hamilton

Rudresh Shukla sits in Windsor's Via rail station Friday morning, after finding out his train had been cancelled. He wanted to see his Valentine in Hamilton. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Rudresh Shukla wanted what any young man in love wants on a romantic holiday — to see his Valentine. 

At 6 a.m. Friday morning, Shukla was on his phone in Windsor's empty Via Rail station, trying to find a way to get to his partner after finding out his Via train had been cancelled. 

"Today is Valentine's Day and I need to go to Hamilton," said the University of Windsor student. "Right now, I have nothing to go."

On Friday, no VIA Rail trains were running out of Windsor, Chatham or Sarnia as the company halted routes across its network Thursday night. 

Greyhound buses are suddenly in much higher demand.

"I'm looking for a bus or any other travel," said Shukla, who is anxious to see his partner. "It's Valentine's Day, so I'm really eager to get back to Hamilton."

No one else was at the station, and Shukla said he wasn't sent an email to say the train was cancelled. He was able to wait inside the station which had one staff member working, he said. 

CN Rail and Via Rail shut down huge sections of their railway networks as Indigenous blockades continue to cripple the country's transportation systems.

"Via Rail has no other option but to cancel all of its services on the network, with the exception of Sudbury-White River (CP Rail) and Churchill-The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway), until further notice," the rail operator said in a media statement.

The company said it would automatically process full refunds for all cancelled trips.

"You do not need to contact Via Rail to confirm the refund, but note that due to the volume of transactions, it may take up to 15 days to receive," the Crown corporation said. "We understand the impact this unfortunate situation has on our passengers and regret the significant inconvenience this is causing to their travel."