Category Archives for "Northern Ontario"

Jul 27

Transport Canada Backs Away from Commitment to Sault Ste. Marie – Hearst Passenger Train

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario

It has been over a year since the Algoma passenger trains stopped running.  The Algoma Passenger Train Working Group, including rail advocacy groups,  has come up with a proposal to run the service as a not for profit venture led by the Missanabie Cree First Nation with a Board of Directors representing the First Nations, municipalities and socio-economic stakeholders. The new Mask-wa Ootaban (Bear Train) will be more cost efficient while creating more employment and tax revenue.

The positive economic arguments became evident from a 2015 study undertaken by BDO Canada that conservatively estimates how the train creates direct and indirect economic activity in the range of 28 to 38 million dollars a year for the region’s severely challenged economy.  On top of that, the service supports 170-220 jobs, while generating those tax dollars that more than replaced the original yearly subsidy which was cut by the previous government thereby creating the whole problem in the first place.

After considerable community advocacy, the previous Harper government committed  to restore the subsidy for three years.  However, under the current Liberal government, Transport Canada has suddenly and without public consultation, backed away from this commitment, allegedly because the new proposal requests an on-going subsidy.  There is widespread public outrage on this decision.  The First Nation is approaching Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, to request that she work inter-ministries to garner the required funding.

Jul 16

Input Provided on Multimodal Transportation Strategy for Northern Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario



The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) & the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development & Mines (MNDM) are currently developing a Multimodal Transportation Strategy for Northern Ontario (NOMTS). This initiative will define the improvements for the movement of people & goods over the next twenty five years, throughout the Cambrian Shield.
Our affiliate organization, the Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN), together with Transport Action Ontario, have  responded on behalf  of  numerous citizen groups in the province.  The submission focusses on the importance and the need for frequent and  reliable passenger trains & corresponding bus shuttle services in the region.  A  Multimodal Transportation Strategy for Northern Ontario must include passenger trains!
Northern Ontario is becoming more and more isolated. This severely inhibits new inward investment and access to the burgeoning, global tourism opportunity. Between 2011 & 2014, there have been over 674 highway closures in the Northeast region of the province. Communities have witnessed nine motor coach route reductions or service eliminations within the previous year.   Connecting Northern Ontario with the rest of the province & the country is critical.
The NEORN/TAO submission can be viewed here:  NEORN-NOMTS-Submission-FINAL
Jan 29

Support for Algoma Central Railway Passenger Service

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Northern Ontario



The one year extension of federal government funding for the Algoma Central Railway Passenger Service from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst will end in March, 2015.  Transport Action Ontario has sent a letter to Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt urging continued support for this service.   The letter summarizes the excellent progress that has been achieved over the past year.


The letter can be viewed here:  TAO-letter-Raitt re ACR-2015-01-29



Feb 17

Algoma Central Railway – Major Advocacy Program to Stop Termination of Passenger Service

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Northern Ontario


On January 27, 2014, CN announced the termination of passenger service on this railroad from Sault Saint Marie to Hearst, as the Federal government had ended the subsidy that pays for the passenger service.  As a result CN announced that service would end on March 31, 2014 (subsequently extended to April 29, 2014).


A major advocacy program is underway,  led by local municipal governments and our affiliate organization, the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT).  For a complete update on the CAPT activities, click the link here.


The advocacy includes conducting three Town Hall meetings – in Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa and Hearst to increase citizen awareness and understanding.  Transport Action’s past president, Harry Gow, will be the guest speaker.  A copy of the Transport Action presentation can be viewed here:  NDR Slides SSM Wawa-Feb 2014




Jan 31

US Rail Passenger Association Urges Canada to Maintain Threatened Services

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Northern Ontario



The National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP) is a US non-government organization advocating for improved passenger rail and rail transit.   They have sent a letter to Canada’s ambassador to the US, Honourable Gary Doer, expressing concern with the announcement that Sault Ste. Marie – Hearst rail service (Algoma Central) will end March 31 and a CBC report this week that Montreal-Halifax VIA Rail Canada service could end in as early as June.


The NARP letter can be viewed here.