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Canada Bitter cold disrupts Via Rail service to northern Manitoba communities

A Via Rail sign is seen in Halifax on June 13, 2013.

Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Equipment issues related to extremely cold weather have forced Via Rail to cancel four scheduled trains this week involving stops within Manitoba.

The cancellations cover the route between Winnipeg and Gillam – with no alternative transportation in place.

Via Rail says 62 passengers are affected, including those who were set to board two trains that were cancelled between Jasper, Alta., and Prince George, British Columbia on Wednesday.

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The company says all passengers have been advised of the service disruption.

Environment Canada says the temperature in Winnipeg Wednesday night was –24 C before the wind chill was factored in.

Temperatures across the province ranged from a high of – 19 C in McCreary to a low of – 40.3 C in Thompson.

The cancellations in Manitoba include train 693 scheduled to leave Wednesday from Winnipeg to Gillam, trains 964 between Gillam and Thompson and 695 between Thompson and Gillam supposed to depart Friday and train 690, which was supposed to leave Gillam for the The Pas on Saturday.

"As Via Rail's priority is the safety and well-being of its passengers, we will keep monitoring the extreme cold conditions to ensure this remains our focus," said Via Rail spokeswoman Marie-Anna Murat in a statement Wednesday night.

There was no extreme cold warning in Manitoba on Wednesday.

The temperature in Winnipeg over the next few days is forecast to be at a high of – 17 C today and a low of – 33 C Saturday night.

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