Reinstating passenger rail in Nipissing not part of provincial transportation talks – by Laurel J. Campbell (Almaguin News – May 29, 2017)

ALMAGUIN — The Ministry of Transportation is expected to release the draft of its multimodal transportation strategy for Northern Ontario by the end of this month.

Plane, train, automobile and truck travel has been analyzed extensively over the past few years in order to determine a plan that will keep goods and people moving until 2041, but reinstating passenger rail travel through Nipissing District is not part of the current discussion.

“The province recognizes the importance of transportation in Northern Ontario and every community that was served by the former Northlander train is served by ONTC (Ontario Northland Transportation Commission) motor coach service,” Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Bob Nichols told the News. “While there is currently no plan to resume the Northlander passenger train service, the province remains committed to continuing motor coach service to every community that is served only by the ONTC.”

The News contacted MTO last week after a presentation in North Bay on the Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy by ministry staff did not mention passenger rail service.

The strategy is a joint venture between MTO and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. It is an integrated multimodal approach that considers highway, marine, air, rail, and other modes of transportation as well as including recommended that will keep things moving for the next 25 years.

Any mention of passenger train service is between the more northerly communities of Cochrane and Moosonee and north out of Sudbury, which is the only large urban centre in Northern Ontario that currently has year-round passenger rail connections. Passenger trains between Cochrane and Toronto, which made stops throughout Almaguin and Muskoka, stopped in 2012.

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