Canadian rail operator Via Rail has decided to cancel its long-distance trains between Toronto and Vancouver, before 340 locomotive engineers go strike on 24 July.

If the strike happens, all trains will be cancelled except two third-party operated routes.

The rail service has offered refunds or alternate transportation for passengers leaving before Friday noon.

Via hopes the ongoing talks with the engineers union will be able to avert a strike.

Workers are threatening to strike because of Via’s plans to implement an antiquated crew utilisation procedure that may do away with employing an engineer. Other issues include wages and benefits.