Agawa Tour train “packed” will bring up to 6,000 tourists

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The Engineer climbs the side of the Agawa Tour Train before it leaves the new train station, September 26, 2021 (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

For the first time in almost two years, the Agawa Tour Train left Sault Ste. Marie loaded with tourists, and city officials weren’t present.

The Agawa Tour Train leaving the new train station, September 26, 2021 (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

The city of Sault Ste. Marie tourism page promotes the train as part of a multi-faceted attempt to bring much needed tourists dollars to the City. They used to have a contract with CN to bring the train in each year, however that contract has lapsed.

When CN agreed to provide the train this year, it was met with excitement by staff inside city hall. Yet, when the moment arrived, no high-level official was present to welcome visitors to the city, a fact that was noted by more than one train passenger.

The train will bring in approximately 6,000 tourists to the city this year.

Hundreds of tourists will load on the train from the Canal District over the next few weeks. (Dan Gray/SaultONline.com)

In speaking with tourists and operators alike, all indicated that none had been greeted by anyone from the City of Sault Ste. Marie, not to welcome them to our city nor to tell them of the other attractions that they could take in while they are here.

One family of 13 had made the 7+ hour trek from Toronto by car. They were excited to see all the Fall colours that Northern Ontario had to offer. They enthusiastically asked us which side of the train they should sit on for the best pictures (we said every side). One individual from the group said this was the first time some of them had been to Sault Ste. Marie and they were happy to head out on the train.

A pile of Garbage on the North Side (City Side) of tracks, plainly visible to all the tourists riding on the train, Sept. 26, 2021 (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

Another individual who was joining the train tour on Sunday, brought our attention to the garbage plainly visible beside the tracks. Once the cars had cleared, plainly visible on the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s property, was a garbage pile of clothes and debris.

Sunday morning’s train, loaded with nearly 400 people due to COVID restrictions, left the station at 8:07 a.m. It was scheduled to arrive back in town around dinner time, where many of the visitors were anticipated to pour into our city looking for food and accommodations before heading back to their respective hometowns.

The Agawa Tour Train parked at the new train station, September 26, 2021 (Dan Gray/SaultOnline.com)

The tour train, which had previously acknowledged a shortened season, is sold out for this year and although the city’s contract with CN has lapsed, there is hope the train will continue to offer trips into the colours for years to come.

Stay with SaultOnline/ONNtv as we continue to highlight tourist attractions in the City of Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding area.

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. There used to be 10 or 11 guys working and maintaining that train. Cn has laid off and eliminated all jobs except 3 so I expect the problems with the trains toilets and things not working will get worse and worse as the season goes on. Cn rail is on a cost cutting spree and all they want is to maximize shareholder profits by cutting jobs.

  2. Last 25/9/2021.we four families had visited, agawa canyon train tour, after about 4hrs ride on train only 1.30hrs stop for fall and stair up sight seeing and train return, which is not fair enough to enjoy location for money spent. It should be atleast 3 hrs stop. Or just restrict tour only for healthy young people who can just run from train stop to bridal fall and from there to pick up sight for valley seen within 1.3h, even they will not enjoy too, we like place and staff very much but train stop timing make all of us disappointed.

  3. We did Mondays train but we explored the Sault soo on Sunday. You have a lot to be proud of. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The train ride was great. The friendliness and helpful folks we met every day. One of the best brew places and we’ve tried a lot a great restaurant. We will definitely back even though it’s an eight plus hour drive to get here. The train ride exceeded our expectations. The checking was smooth. The box lunch was very good. The scenery was great. I am very glad we did it as you have to explore ontario as well as seeing the world especially these days.

  4. I have been to many, many, tourist attractions around the world…. I have NEVER been greeted by any city official. So I am not sure why Saultonline expects our officials to come out every morning for a month to greet these tourists personally.

    BTW there is a Tourist Information Centre less than a block away.

  5. Sad there was nobody there for the tourists when boarding. This is why a lot of us feel this city is backwards, bring in tourists they say. Then do nothing for the tourists once they get here. Yay for tourism ssm!
    I mean I would have hired someone hired to look like an old school train engineer in a top hat with a pocket watch and eye piece, All Aboard! Then make him available for photos with the tourists as they board, GREAT souvenir picture! Then on every seat in the train there should have been some tourism SSM pamphlet talking about other things to do in the Soo, then when they got back there should have been a pop up store for souveniers.
    I mean I’m no even planner, but a 10 year olds birthday party would be harder, it’s not rocket science.
    Yet here we are.

  6. Four of us took the train yesterday (2 from out of town, 2 locals) which turned out to be a beautiful day to see the Fall colours. The ride there and back was enjoyable but as far as providing tourists with the best experience possible, there is definitely room for improvement. Our first impression was that of the train station. It’s nice enough but there was no toilet paper in the handicapped restroom and it was dirty and messy. When I asked the front desk attendant for some toilet paper, she showed me three other restrooms that were just as dirty, no hook to hang a purse or coat on, and no paper towel dispense or hand dryer. On the train each car has two restrooms and they weren’t that clean either. The hand dryer didn’t work in one of the two in our rail car and no paper towels. On the way back, one of the toilets was overflowing with crap, so people had to go to another car but at least there was a roll of paper towels available – outside the door. And what about souvenirs? Tourists like to buy souvenirs. No sign of anything at the station. It’s those little things that matter, those little things that make tourists happy. As for local area people, all they have to do is take a drive to Searchmont to see the beauty of Fall.

  7. We book our train trip in the summer & they cancelled our trip but people that book after us got to go on their train trip. Ours should never have gotten cancelled as we book ahead of these people. I would like to know why ours was cancelled. That is not the way to treat your customers. We made plans for this with people from out of town and the train people messed up their plans & vacation. Not sure if they will do that again as their holiday and plains were all messed up for them & us.

  8. 6000 tourists is not enough to cover the costs of running the train let alone making any profit. They are just doing it out of good will and that’s why it is running for such a short time.

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