Diane Leblanc and her friend Janice Wilson were looking forward to finally taking the Agawa Canyon Tour Train last Friday. They were two of 800 passengers ready to take the trip up north and see the blaze of colour Algoma is known for at this time of year. Agawa Canyon after all is touted as the area’s number one tourist draw.
Leblanc and Wilson returned to the Sault last week with their tickets in hand eagerly awaiting for their trip to the Canyon. Both are former residents of the Sault, Leblanc living in Guelph Ontario and Wilson now residing in Edmonton Alberta. A fair distance to travel to take in one of the city’s major attractions. “I lived here until 1984 but never took the tour train” Leblanc told Saultonline.com
After planning their trip to the Sault, by plane, booking hotel rooms and making arrangements the two showed up as scheduled at the ACR platform to board the train early Friday morning, but there was a problem. There was no train.
“We arrived at 7:20 as advised by the ACR ticket office. Crowds of excited travellers were lined up awaiting the train in the early morning frost. At about 7:50 an employee of ACR walked along the tracks saying the train would be 30 minutes late.” Leblanc said. “Then, at 8:25 the same employee walked along the track saying the train had been cancelled. No other instructions or information was given.” Leblanc said several hundred people were in shock and were confused about the lack of information concerning the cancellation of the train.
Leblanc and Wilson were told they could re-book their seats for later in October. That wasn’t possible since both were returning home the next day.
“CN unfortunately was forced to cancel the Oct. 2, 2015, Agawa Canyon Tour Train because of an electrical problem with one of locomotives scheduled to haul the train. CN refunded 100 per cent of the fares paid by the roughly 800 persons who had tickets for the train that day.” Mark Hallman Director , Communications and Public Affairs Canadian National Railway Company told Saultonline.com via email Monday morning.
“On returning my ticket for a refund I asked what caused the cancellation Friday and was told, “engine problem”. Is there really no back up plan? I am sure almost everyone there to take the trip today was from out of town and had invested a significant amount of time and money in getting to the Sault. I feel that the ACR should at least give a gesture of good faith by offering an apology and a reduction on a future booking.” Leblanc said.
The two former residents took the disappointment in stride and decided to take a car ride up the north highway to catch some of the fall foliage – something that has been delayed this year.
Before heading home though, Leblanc visited the ACR train station Saturday morning and the train was back running again.
“CN regrets the inconvenience caused to ticketholders by the cancellation of last Friday’s tour train.” Hallman remarked.