MONTREAL, QUÉBEC, CANADA — The Canadian National Railway Co. (CN) has begun calling back most of the temporarily laid off employees based in Eastern Canada due to the absence of illegal blockades on its network.

More than 1,400 trains, including passenger trains, were delayed or cancelled because of the blockades, causing shutdowns of parts of CN’s network as freight is parked across the network, ready to be moved.

 “As the situation is stabilizing, we have started calling back most of the temporarily laid off employees based in Eastern Canada to move our customers’ goods as we continue to focus on a safe and progressive recovery,” said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN. “While we are keeping a close watch on our network for any further disruptions, we are mobilizing our employees to be ready to implement a focused and methodical recovery plan for our Eastern network. The complete network recovery process will take several weeks.”

CN’s rail network was being compromised by blockades due to a protest unrelated to CN. On Feb. 3, the Wet’suwet’en Heredity Chiefs filed an application for a judicial review of the BC Environmental Assessment Office decision to extend the environmental certificate for Coastal Gas Link’s proposed fracked gas pipeline in Northwest British Columbia for another five years.

“In Western Canada, for the last two weeks, we have been well on our way to recovering,” Ruest said. “While we are aware that there is still work ahead of us, export grain, imported containerized goods, coal, potash, energy products, and other commodities are moving to markets. We are rebalancing our assets to service customer sites for loading.

“I wholeheartedly thank our customers, partners, stakeholders as well as all the various law enforcement agencies involved, including CN Police Services for their patience, support, and understanding during this unprecedented ordeal. I also wish to recognize the very helpful support of the provincial Premiers and their respective governments and the involvement of the federal government.”

CN transports more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network of approximately 20,000 route miles spanning Canada and mid-America.