Want passenger rail service to return to Huntsville? Add your voice in new survey

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The Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) continues to advocate to the provincial and federal governments for:

  • the return of passenger rail service in Northeastern Ontario,
  • improving existing passenger and freight rail services in the north,
  • placing a moratorium on removal of any rail lines.

NEORN, in cooperation with the Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel (CPMRT), are encouraging residents and visitors to join their efforts by completing an online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NEORNsurvey

“One year ago, newly elected PC leader Doug Ford promised to return passenger rail service on the Toronto to Cochrane line which had been cancelled in 2012. This promise has been reiterated several times in the past 12 months,” explains Lucille Frith, NEORN and CPMRT Co-chair. “The April 2019 Budget had no dollar line item for the passenger rail service but Finance Minister Fedeli stated in the legistature the government is focusing on identifying opportunities for a modern, sustainable transportation system in Northern Ontario.”

NEORN and CPMRT feel that many of the moving parts are in place to make passenger rail a reality, including:

  • a government who keeps stating they will do it
  • a government who suggested an amount of $45 million they say would be spent ($30M Capital and $15M Operating)
  • a government who have publicly stated on CBC Radio that for the previous nine months they had been working with Corina Moore, President and CEO of Ontario Northland and partners at Ministry of Transportation to develop a plan. This plan is due out in November 2019.

“The Ford Government has stated they are listening to the people and support passenger rail in the north.  We want to provide data that will support the return of passenger rail between Toronto and Cochrane as promised,” said Frith. “Now have your say by responding to our survey!”

The survey is open until June 30, 2019

NEORN Co-chairs:

  • Lucille Frith (co-chair of CPMRT – Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel) 705-783-1924
  • Howie Wilcox (member of CAPT – Coalition Algoma Passenger Trains)

For more information about NEORN, visit www.NEORN.ca

CPMRT is a volunteer group of community leaders SINCE 2007 who believe that improving and expanding passenger rail service is good public policy for all communities in Ontario. (The committee)CPMRT is part of the umbrella grassroots group NEORN which includes CAPT – all working  to encourage the provincial government to bring scheduled passenger services back to Muskoka and other regions in Ontario.  The CPMRT website  is www.gorailnorth.ca.

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33 Comments

  1. Anne Millyard on

    The Northlander Railway Service to Cochrane is viewed by the public of Ontario as an ESSENTIAL SERVICE.

    While the bus drivers are professional and friendly and helpful, it is a long and often unreliable trip along
    the highway up North. Also on three occasions I (and several other passengers) arrived at a ticket window
    to find that the next scheduled bus was sold out and no additional bus would be put into service.
    This is simply not an acceptable way to run a company. Not everyone has access to online booking.

    I also noticed that while the trains always carried families with children, often on their way to Toronto
    doctor’s appointments, there are virtually no small children to be found on Northlander buses. This needs to be remedied. The service restored.
    And when it happens, please ADVERTISE the fact. More people will stay off the road and help pay for the
    railway maintenance.

    Anne Millyard

    • Lorraine Alles on

      Thank you Anne for stating the case for all of us. Can you imagine how families manage to travel to Sick Kids from north of North Bay without the train.
      I have often wondered if the trains were more frequent would the ridership be double, triple…?

  2. I miss the train so much ,since I don’t drive have to rely on other people ,and the buses are often crowded ,and if you are coming from TO and you are the 400 OMG it takes even longer in the summer months ,when they stop the train it,took away my freedom to go places, had experence on the bus never again stuck on 400 for hours ,

  3. Shawna Hogan on

    The return of passenger trains is a wonderful idea for so many reasons- not the least of which is our beautiful environment. It’s easy, classy and stress free- lets do it!

    • Linda Saari on

      Please bring back the train service to Muskoka. We need this service for people living up north.

    • Barb Burrows on

      We need the passenger train back.
      We have too many road closures for hours on our 2 lane Hwy. north of North Bay. Sad day when the govt. shut it down

  4. w david johns on

    Hi Lucille. One question for you. Where do we wait for the train here in Huntsville to be picked up?. We have no Station anymore, it was given away by our Mayor and Council for $2.00, after you any many volunteers put your heart into repairing one Huntsville greatest most important
    historic buildings.

    • This is a very important service for the north. For those from Cochrane it is an essential service. In order to reduce the number of cars on the road restore our rail service. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to share our concerns.

  5. robert richards on

    Train missed greatly for convenience to avoid driving, pleasure trips to other places, nostalgia. Please bring it back—–Robert Richards

  6. CINDY CSERVID on

    Yes we are in desperate need of an alternative. Rail is fast effecient and saves the environment!! Family and I would definitely be passengers! Friends and relatives would find it easier to visit.

  7. Lorraine Saunders on

    Please bring back the train service it is a much needed service up here. For the ones that don’t drive this is greatly needed to get back and forth for doctor appointments in Toronto. And when highways are closed this could be an alternative way to get where you need to be.

  8. The disabled are much more likely to be able to use a train service than a bus. I once took a Sunday evening train from Bracebridge to Toronto. There was an accident on the track level that required passengers to continue to Toronto by bus. After seeing two people in wheelchairs, one on oxygen, it made me realize how essential this service was to those having to travel to hospitals, etc.in Toronto. It’s return is long overdue. Mr. Ford should make the Cochrane to Toronto trip this summer by bus.

  9. Sherrie Gatenby on

    I do not ike to drive any great distance as I suffer from Fibromyalgia and other health issues. Since moving north to Sundridge I have not been able to travel to visit friends.
    I would love to see the trains operating again..
    I would have a lot more freedom….

  10. I know people who live up north need this service. How about the people who travel to the Huntsville area for their weekend cottage visit. This has the great potential of relieving the 400 and hwy 11 traffic mess by making the new service handy and useful for the weekend cottager.

  11. Diana Mitchell on

    The train is so much more comfortable than the bus – you can walk around on it and have a snack, etc. If they had better times when it last run, they would have had more customers but it arrived in Toronto at 5 p.m. approximately and left Toronto at 8 a.m. approximately so anyone having an appointment in Toronto had to spend two nights hotel money to use the system. Years ago, it left Huntsville at 3 a.m. which is very early I know, but you could spend the day in Toronto and get the train back the same day. I know that it comes from Cochrane and the people there surely have to be considered when it comes to times, but it seems like the less people that used the train, the more and worse they cut the hours and then of course the less people used the train – bla…bla…bla If the times were better (maybe even two trains a day), I’m sure that people would use it. As well, if Mr. Ford really does want to help the pollution problem, the train is the way to go.

  12. Maxime Rivière-Anderson ​ on

    I’m truly hopeful that we will finally see the return of this essential service! I am reposting my comments from previous Doppler articles on the subject below. Many other great comments from other folks to be found by following the links, too!

    July 13, 2016

    “Severe weather affecting driving conditions, dangerous and mind-numbing traffic on Hwy 400, increases in fuel costs, shrinking credit availability for auto loans, an increasing disinterest in vehicle ownership by a socially and environmentally-conscious younger generation, anthropogenic climate change, funds available now for worthy projects through Ontario’s green plan, increased access for international tourists and city-dwelling vacationers, opportunities for properly advertised travel packages by way of partnerships with local hotels and resorts, transportation for seniors and students, stageringly convenient downtown to downtown link…

    Not sure why we’re even having a debate; clearly restoring the train service is overwhelmingly worth it.”

    https://doppleronline.ca/huntsville/want-passenger-trains-to-return-to-huntsville-add-your-voice-before-july-15/#comments

    July 7, 2016

    It seems clear to me that it would be prudent and forward thinking to fix and upgrade our existing building stock to accommodate mass transit of many forms, too. I have envisioned, for a while now, the station as being a central hub for train and provincial/airport/municipal bus services. It seems to me that the financial viability of the building would be greatly improved with steady traffic from all sorts of transportation sources.
    Additionally, if marketed properly to and by Ontario Northland, I’m sure city travellers and international tourists alike would be delighted to skip the traffic and relax on their way up to Muskoka. Perhaps even a car rental option could also be made available on site for disembarking guests providing additional revenue in the form of building tenant rent to further offset costs.
    What’s more is that the station is so centrally located that travellers would be given the opportunity to discover and spend money in a town they might otherwise bypass on the highway.
    Just a few thoughts!

    https://doppleronline.ca/huntsville/what-to-do-with-huntsvilles-cn-station/#comments

  13. Clare Smyth on

    Please bring it back! And use the opportunity to upgrade and advance the trains. We need this service. Trains are the safest and best way to travel. Driving on the highway in the winter is dangerous, whether car or bus. For seniors trains are far more comfortable and again safer.

  14. Sheldon Drebin on

    Loved the train, sorely missed, driving north is awful, dangerous and often delayed. There are ways to make this profitable. Also helps the environment. Come on Doug Ford. Get it done!

  15. Kelly Andresen on

    Train service would provide a much needed alternative to get to Toronto but the schedule has to be practical, i.e. we need to be able to go and return on the same day; Toronto hotel rates are prohibitive.

  16. Katharine Hill on

    I moved to Huntsville a few years ago and was shocked to learn that the rain service in this area was no longer available. It provides a necessary and desirable link. Please return northern train service.

  17. Karen Wehrstein on

    Turned in my survey response — thanks NEORN. From the number and opinions expressed in the above comments, it looks like we really want those trains back!

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