Carrot dangling the return of train service

Is the government truly committed to "Get it done"? "To the people of Northeastern Ontario, you have my word. We will bring the Northlander back to Timmins and Cochrane" said Premier Ford during his swearing-in ceremony at Queen's Park this summer. Folks, this could only mean one thing; we're getting our passenger train back ... … Continue reading Carrot dangling the return of train service

The politics and precarious nature of travel in the North

The familiar sound of a passenger train can once again be heard in areas of Northern Ontario that are served by VIA Rail Canada. The Crown corporation officially restored passenger rail services to pre-pandemic levels after more than two years of on again, off again, limited or indefinitely suspended train schedules. Life appears to have … Continue reading The politics and precarious nature of travel in the North

The return of passenger rail is moving forward … at a snail’s pace

If a political promise is made in Northern Ontario, but there's nobody around to see it through, does it still mean we get a passenger train back? The provincial government made an announcement regarding the return of passenger rail service between Timmins, North Bay and Toronto. On the surface, this appears to be good news, … Continue reading The return of passenger rail is moving forward … at a snail’s pace

Smoke and mirrors checking the choo-choo tracks

There was a lot of hype and publicity surrounding Ontario Northland's most recent test train to measure transit times between North Bay and Toronto. For the first time in nine years, a passenger train operated on this route with the purpose of collecting data to support the ONR's latest business case for reintroducing passenger rail … Continue reading Smoke and mirrors checking the choo-choo tracks

Double standards in the deployment and delivery of train service

Northerners are once again finding themselves taking a back seat to the transportation interests and concerns of politicians in Southern Ontario. The Ministry of Transportation very recently unveiled a pilot project for GO Train service between Toronto and London — by way of Kitchener, Stratford and St Mary's. The trial runs are expected to cost … Continue reading Double standards in the deployment and delivery of train service

Le Nord de l’Ontario : plus isolé que jamais

Une lettre ouverte à l'équipe de gestion et du service à la clientèle de VIA Rail CanadaJe vous fais parvenir mes commentaires entourant l’absence de certaines fréquences de vos trains dans le Nord de l’Ontario et du besoin de les remettre en service immédiatement. Au cours de la dernière année et demie, des voyageurs comme … Continue reading Le Nord de l’Ontario : plus isolé que jamais

Missing the mark on the North’s passenger rail plan

The Ministry of Transportation and Ontario Northland have finally unveiled an Initial Business Case for passenger rail in Northeastern Ontario ... and it's about time the public was provided with an update. It only took a mere three years into the current government's term (and a freedom of information request), but Northerners now have a … Continue reading Missing the mark on the North’s passenger rail plan

What is the government hiding in its passenger rail plan for the North?

Secretive ... Aloof ... Lacking Transparency ... These are just some of the terms one might use to describe the provincial government's handling of restoring passenger rail services in north-eastern Ontario. Over the span of a thousand days, various politicians, ministries and agencies of the Crown have provided the public with a series of Coles … Continue reading What is the government hiding in its passenger rail plan for the North?

Connecting the North : an exercise of consistently getting it wrong

The Ministry of Transportation will be publishing sometime soon the results of a passenger rail survey it conducted in the region. The government claims this is an integral part of the process of keeping people safe, providing reliable transportation options and connecting communities in the North. Politicians of all stripes have long talked a good … Continue reading Connecting the North : an exercise of consistently getting it wrong

Passenger rail policies: procrastination over progress

The provincial government unveiled a fancy new proposal titled Connecting the North: A draft transportation plan for Northern Ontario. The MTO has indicated they are exploring options for passenger rail services between Toronto, North Bay, Timmins and Cochrane. However, the proposal fails to answer one obvious question: When exactly is our train supposed to return? … Continue reading Passenger rail policies: procrastination over progress

So what’s taking so long to restore the Northlander?

The Ministry of Transportation is seeking feedback from Northerners to "better understand the unique transportation needs of people and businesses" situated along the Toronto, North Bay and Cochrane rail corridor to "help develop a plan to improve the transportation system" in the region. Remind me again... didn't Ontario Northland just submit its very own business … Continue reading So what’s taking so long to restore the Northlander?

Anti-rail report flawed and counterproductive

The Northern Policy Institute (NPI) recently published a report titled "The Thin Case for Passenger Rail in Ontario's Northern Regions" which has left me in a state a profound dismay and disappointment. It contains some very misleading information and does little to improve sustainable transportation options desired by Northerners. The document in question attempts to … Continue reading Anti-rail report flawed and counterproductive

“A goal without a plan is just a wish…”

This quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was what motivated me to establish All Aboard Northern Ontario (AANO), a grassroots advocacy group which has set out to produce a viable public passenger transportation solution for the region. When I volunteered to launch this project 18 months ago, I wanted to demonstrate to our elected officials that … Continue reading “A goal without a plan is just a wish…”

Volume #6 – Your Stories (Vos histoires)

HOW HAS THE CANCELLATION OF THE NORTHLANDER TRAIN AFFECTED YOU?Comment l'annulation du Northlander vous a impacté? Name / Nom: JoseeComments / Commentaires: I've only moved to Northeastern Ontario in 2016 and the lack of public transportation has made it near impossible for family and friends to visit. Some live in Ottawa/Montreal, some friends are abroad. When they … Continue reading Volume #6 – Your Stories (Vos histoires)

St. Marys citizens’ rail committee to Premier-Designate Ford: We’re watching you closely

ST. MARYS, ONTARIO – The election of Doug Ford’s majority Progressive Conservative (PC) government on June 7 is viewed as both good and bad news by the All Aboard St. Marys citizens’ rail action committee. “The good news is there is a handful of MPPs in this government who have shown concern – if not … Continue reading St. Marys citizens’ rail committee to Premier-Designate Ford: We’re watching you closely

Rail advocates applaud ONTC bus expansion

NORTH BAY, Ontario – Two Ontario rail advocacy groups say the recent expansion of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) bus service is not only the first sign of hope for northern public transportation users in many years, but it also paves the way to better rail service in the future. “Any improvement of our system … Continue reading Rail advocates applaud ONTC bus expansion