Northeastern Ontario Rail Network keeps the pressure on Premier Ford to deliver



Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) looks forward to implementation of Premier Ford’s promise re: Passenger Rail Service

It has been six months since our PC Leader (now Premier) Doug Ford promised to bring back full passenger rail service to the North.  At the time, this was welcome news should they be elected.

Now they have been elected and Northerners are anxious to see this promise happen.

For the past five years NEORN has been busy encouraging Northern Ontario municipal councils, First Nation councils and organizations, the Canadian Federation of Students, economic development organizations as well as several federal and provincial politicians to pass resolutions of support for the return of passenger rail to northern Ontario. Last week NEORN provided to Premier Ford and Northern Ontario MPPs copies of these resolutions from virtually every community on the Toronto-Cochrane rail line from Washago north as well as the Algoma Central Rail line from the Sault to Hearst.

In the past year, another group calling itself ‘All Aboard Northern Ontario’ has developed a proposal entitled ‘NortheastLynx’, a plan to revive the Northlander route. NEORN welcomes this initiative and any others that may come forth to get this train service back on the rails.

To the Provincial government, the ball is in your court. It’s time to act and make good on your promise of restoring rail passenger services in the North.

On May 3, 2018 in North Bay, Lucille Frith, NEORN Co-chair, met with Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford and MPP Vic Fedeli

Submitted by NEORN co-chairs: Lucille Frith and Howie Wilcox
Move people, not just freight, by rail

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  1. If this happens, where does the Mayor of Huntsville suggest that passengers wait in the winter time for the train, since he gave our Train Station away.

    • It really is not cost-effective to restore passenger rail service–buses are much more efficient. That’s the reason why it was cancelled in the first place. There could be a certain amount of nostalgic cachet to restoring it for the sake of tourists but it would need a lot of glamourization, promotion and a few express runs from somewhere in Toronto to Muskoka (we have yet to see whether the new air service from Toronto to Muskoka is viable). There would also need to be rental car facilities close to the jumping-off points in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville, not to mention stations to house passengers while they were waiting. It might be a good thing for tourism as our population ages as the driving on the #400 is probably too much for aging drivers. But, in these days of spending and tax cuts, I can’t see it happening–can you?

      • Agree with Erin, THIS TIME. I thought we put this train thing to rest a few years ago. I remember watching 2-3 people, max, getting on the train in Bracebridge on any given day. Must have cost (us) thousands of $$$ per passenger. There’s a very reliable bus service available. End of discussion.

  2. our newly elected premier is too busy dismantling everything the previous governments have done. He may have said during the campaign that it was a good idea but that was only to get votes, he probably never intended to reinstate the train.

  3. There are many arguments for and against Passenger Rail service just as there can be for road or air but a ‘bottom line’ come to mind. Green House Gas emissions – go to any rail web site or specifically VIA Rail or Amtrak and the comparisons are there of GHG production for Rail Vs Road Vs Air. Rail wins almost all the time. We have a mind set from the auto industry kool-aid, that the only way to get around is using their product and having us Taxpayers foot the entire bill on the network (roads) to enable their interest. Roads and airports don’t pay for themselves, why should rail which has the potential to lower GHG’s so we leave a better environment for our children. We are the Corormorants.
    Yes, Canada is not Europe, we have vast distances and ‘Too much geography’ (para. of John A. MacDonald) but how we get around burning fossil fuels like ‘there’s no tomorrow’ is selfish when 38% of Ontario’s GHG’s come from transportation. It can work very efficiently – it’s our mind set that’s in the way.
    I champion the return of passenger Rail.

    • Jeannette Haueter-Schulz(Switzerland) on

      i used to take the Northlander from Toronto to Huntsville to visit my Parents. a real relaxing scenic trip to have instead if being caught in road traffic on the Hwy400/11/117
      i really missed it when it was cancelled

  4. There are not enough people that will use this proposed service on a regular basis. It will be a political decision not at wise financial decision. Taxpayers would fund this and then it will eventually be cut.

  5. The only truly viable inter-city service for people is light rail transit. Given its velocity, passengers could realistically live in the north, and commute for work in the south. The likely problem is that the geometry of railroad rights-of-way would not (in many instances) support LRT.

  6. I liked going to Toronto by train.

    If it were promoted to tourists in Toronto, as a great way to visit “the north” and supported by Muskoka Tourism…it could get to be really popular.

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