SUPPORTING PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE IN THE NORTH IS IN THE 2021 ONTARIO BUDGET!! It took 8½ years of advocating for the return of the Northlander.

Today the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) is excited to announce the Ontario government has committed to funding the next step to moving forward on the project with $5M and hopefully then to the final stage: putting ‘bums in seats’ on the train between Toronto and Timmins/Cochrane.

Quoted from Page 106 Ontario Budget 2021:
“Ontario is committed to reviewing initiatives to meet transportation needs in the North to optimize bus services and to develop options for passenger rail services across Northern Ontario. In keeping with the draft Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario, the government is accelerating work to examine safety and infrastructure needs for potential future passenger rail service between Toronto, North Bay, Timmins and Cochrane. Ontario is investing $5 million to support planning and design work. An initial business case is being finalized and is expected to be released in spring 2021.”

Our expectation is the next steps in the ONTC/Metrolinx Business Plan will be to confirm costs and service plans as well as to work with CN on a track audit of the CN line south of North Bay to Toronto and ensure the performance expectations will be met. It is critical for all parties to continue engaging with key stakeholders including municipalities, First Nations, Colleges and Universities as well as the general public.

Howie and I thank all those invested in getting the Northlander back on the track for their ongoing and never wavering enthusiastic support over the last 8 ½ years. As Co-Chairs of the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network advocacy group, we were both holding our breath with this budget – hoping to hear about the return of passenger rail service to northeastern Ontario. And we did! Now we will continue to follow the MTO closely to ensure we continue to move forward at a good pace.

Next, we look forward to the soon to be published ONTC/METROLINX Business Plan.

Lucille Frith and Howie Wilcox, NEORN Co-Chairs

SURVEY RESULTS FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO – Consultation: Transportation opportunities along the northeastern Ontario rail corridor

From October 23 to November 20, 2020, more than 7,200 people, including 8.3% of respondents that self-identified as Indigenous, shared their feedback about transportation opportunities along the rail corridor between Toronto, North Bay, Timmins and Cochrane.
​View survey results: https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-transportation-opportunities-along-northeastern-ontario-rail-corridor

MTO announces draft northern transportation plan

Update By: Trevor Arndt
Date: 14/12/2020

The Ministry of Transportation  announced their draft northern transportation plan December 11. The draft states they are “Continuing to move forward on (their) plan for passenger rail services including advancing track audit work along the northeastern rail corridor”. This is a positive statement moving the plan forward. Let’s hope that the business plan puts the passenger train back on the tracks before the end of the current government’s term as they promised.
This is a DRAFT plan – stay tuned for comments.

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MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION NORTHEASTERN RAIL SURVEY!

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION Survey!
Use this link to reach and complete survey presented below. Deadline is NOVEMBER 20!

Consultation: Transportation opportunities along the northeastern Ontario rail corridor

We want to better understand the unique transportation needs of people and businesses along the rail corridor between Toronto, North Bay and Cochrane/Timmins. Your feedback will help us develop a plan to improve the transportation system in northeastern Ontario. We will report back on what we heard in Winter 2021.