Now 4 advocacy groups working on returning passenger rail service to
Northeastern Ontario – a louder voice!!!
The Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) is delighted that the government has announced that bus service will be improved in Northern Ontario. However, reinstatement of passenger rail should also be a priority. An integrated transportation system means a truly multimodal strategy, where travel by road, rail, and air all have their role. What we have in the north is almost entirely dependent on road travel, specifically through car ownership.
The voice for rail renewal in northern Ontario has become much louder, as there are now four groups advocating for reinstatement of passenger rail transportation in the region. These groups are the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN), the Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel (CPMRT), the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT), and All Aboard Northern Ontario.
All these advocacy groups are working towards the same goal: the establishment of a modern rail transportation system that is a truly innovative Northeastern Ontario initiative, that utilizes existing rail infrastructure to move people. In order to encourage professionals, students, and tourists to come and stay in our Northern Ontario communities, we have to upscale our transportation. Our reliance solely on road travel, when all other jurisdictions are moving toward fast passenger train service, is seriously impeding our economic development and prosperity, to the point that our towns and cities are at risk of dramatic population decline and becoming ghost towns. The municipalities, businesses, students, and so many others that we have talked with want an integrated and accessible passenger rail service that provides transportation in addition to the retention and expansion of business opportunities in Northeastern Ontario that promote sustainability in the long-term.
Three political parties, the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Progressive Conservatives (PC), and the Northern Ontario Party (NOP) have endorsed the need for passenger rail service in their policy statements going forward into the next election. The municipalities along the Toronto – Cochrane – Hearst rail line as well as the municipalities along the Sault Ste Marie – Hearst rail line have signed resolutions endorsing the return of passenger rail for the benefit of their communities.