The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) has organized a celebratory event to mark the 100th birthday of the Algoma Central passenger train, from May 31 until June 1, 2014.
100 years ago, passenger train service was completed all the way from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst. Although originally constructed to provide freight services for steel production and logging, the Algoma Central Railway included the passenger train service to bring more residents and tourists to the region. It was built through the extremely challenging terrain of the Cambrian Shield, crossing two watersheds with rivers emptying in both Lake Superior and James Bay and two forest regions-the ‘Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest Region’ and the ‘Boreal Forest Region’-offering riders access to spectacular topography. Among some of the most famous passengers to experience the breath-taking scenery were Group of Seven artists who took the train from 1918 to 1924 to paint some of their most significant works. Since then many other travellers have relied on the passenger train to take them from community to community, to places of employment and educational institutions, to health care appointments, to trap-lines and to tourist destinations-in all weather and conditions.
For the past 100 years this train has been an essential means of transporting people. During the next 100 years, it will become even more important. As oil becomes increasingly unaffordable, as carbon emissions urgently need to be reduced to reverse climate change, as demand for eco-cultural tourism in remote settings continues to rise, we will need the ACR passenger train more and more.
This a great opportunity to see firsthand the many types of people who use this gem of a train– people going to and from tourist lodges, trap lines, canoe routes, cycling routes, camps, other communities, First Nation traditional territories, Lake Superior Provincial Park, the Chapleau Game Preserve and rock climbing opportunities.
Passengers will enjoy the wonderful live music that Britta Wolfert, Jeff Hinich and Glad & Steve Hawkins perform on the train. They will hear and share ACR train stories and just relax and watch the spring landscape from the comfort of the train coaches.
Most of the seats are already sold, so people should avoid disappointment by purchasing tickets ASAP in person at the ACR Station in the Station Mall parking lot or by phone with a VISA or MasterCard payment at 705-945-7300 or 800-242-9287.
Those who plan to go to Hearst, should book a room at a hotel there. The Companion and the Queen’s Motels are both offering special rates for those taking part in the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Train Event.
If you wish to order a takeout lunch from the Big Bear Restaurant in Hawk Junction, or want more information, please call Linda Savory Gordon at 705-949-2301 ext 4320.
The passenger train departs from the ACR rail yard located at 429 Carmen’s Way (just south of Wellington) at 9:20 am, but arrive early enough to board and settle in for a great experience!!
The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of individuals, businesses, First Nations, municipalities and other interests who recognize the significant economic, social, cultural, historical and environmental value of passenger rail servicing and interconnecting the people, businesses and communities of Northern Ontario’s Algoma District to each other, Ontario, Canada and the rest of the world. To accomplish this goal, CAPT has been working with local groups to organize events in the community that utilize the railway as a means of advertising and demonstrating its usefulness in the area.