Toronto: Explorations in rail disruption in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

Anonymous submission to North Shore Counter-Info

This weekend in Toronto, inspired by the actions of Wet’suwet’en land defenders and a recent callout for rail disruptions, some anarchists took to the rails to add our contribution to the building momentum of demonstrations, blockades, and acts of sabotage taking place across Turtle Island.

We debated writing this because, due to a lack of experience and the location we picked, we really couldn’t be sure that our attempt at sabotage succeeded. Ultimately, we wanted to share our message of solidarity and commitment to this struggle, and our own reflections and knowledge gained in this first attempt.

Previous posts on this site provide a great starting point for the how-to’s of this kind of mission. We picked a site in proximity to a rail junction and used copper wire to mimic a train on the tracks, (hopefully!) halting any rail traffic until the disruption was cleared away. Since we didn’t have any jumper cables, which provide a more dependable connection, we quickly scrubbed our connection points with steel wool to make sure there was no rust impeding the connection.

As mentioned in previous posts, it can (and did) take a while to find a place where the fishplate wires (an ideal place to connect) line up on both tracks. Next time, we would probably scout a few other spots where we could safely exit the rail corridor, giving us options that were closer to where we ended up, instead of having to backtrack all the way to our previous entrance.

A little later, as we headed away from the site, we saw a truck with its lights on in the rail corridor. It was difficult to tell whether it was parked or heading towards the site of the disruption, but good to be aware that those are out there.

Finally, it would have been great to know for sure that the action actually worked. If a connection is successfully made, nearby vehicle rail crossing gates will drop, so aiming for a spot near a gate might have helped. Another option could be to have a scout some distance from the site of the action, either to keep an eye on one of those gates, or any other activity that would indicate success.

In conclusion we say: BE SAFE and GET OUT THERE! Eyes to the frontlines, feet in the streets – and the railways!