(CNN)Protesters blocking Canadian railways have shut down large portions of the nation's passenger and freight train service this week, knocking out a travel option for thousands and spurring a business group to warn the cross-country flow of food and other goods will slow.
A protest over a pipeline is shutting down train service across much of Canada
The protests started last week when police started arresting members of an indigenous group that was blocking a road to a construction site for the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in British Columbia, CNN network partner CTV reported.
Indigenous groups and allies blocked railways and government buildings around the country in solidarity with the British Columbia group. Some rail blockades have ended, but others remain, including near Belleville, Ontario.
Because of the remaining blockades:
• Canadian National Railway (CN) on Thursday said it's started to progressively shut down its eastern freight network, essentially east of Toronto.
• Passenger service VIA Rail, which largely uses CN railways, said Thursday it has suspended most of its runs across the country until further notice, after cancellations on a smaller scale earlier in the week.
That will have thousands of people looking for alternative transportation daily, as VIA Rail said it served 5 million passengers last year.
"I got stuck here, basically," Amanda Viney, who was in Montreal on Thursday for a business trip, told CNN network partner CBC. "Now I'm going to attempt to catch a Greyhound back to Ottawa like everyone else."