Opinion: The politics and precarious nature of travel in Northern Ontario – by Eric Boutilier (Sudbury Star – July 26, 2022)


The Trudeau government is out of touch with the issues and deficiencies of intercity transportation in Canada

The familiar sound of a passenger train can once again be heard in areas of Northern Ontario that are served by VIA Rail Canada. The Crown corporation officially restored passenger rail services to pre-pandemic levels after more than two years of on-again, off-again, limited or indefinitely suspended train schedules.

Life appears to have returned to normal … at least for the time being. For those who require essential services in larger cities or access to remote regions of the province, there are now two frequencies a week on the Canadian and three between Sudbury and White River.

Restoration of rail service should allow Northerners to breathe a sigh of relief … though can they really afford to? Rail services in Northern Ontario — what’s left of them anyway — continue to be challenging to use. They are susceptible to significant delays and remain vulnerable to lobbyists who want to see them disappear outright.

VIA Rail, and by extension, the federal government, have made train travel arbitrarily complicated. Of the 10 largest northern cities, Greater Sudbury is the only one directly connected by intercity passenger rail.

For the rest of this column: https://www.thesudburystar.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-the-politics-and-precarious-nature-of-travel-in-northern-ontario