Muskoka To-DAILY

NEORN encouraged by ONTC CEO’s positive rail remarks

NORTH BAY Dreams of a return of rail service to Northern Ontario got a boost last week.

Corina Moore, Ontario Northland Transportation CEO spoke last week about the future of transportation at a Canadian Club luncheon in North Bay.

In the Q&A that followed, local media quoted Moore as saying she “hopes as Ontario Northland continues to build momentum that one day soon the north will see the return of passenger rail service to the north. Moore believes finding more ways to connect to the south is key for the north.”

That’s the word out of the north in a release from the Northern & Eastern Ontario Rail Network NEORN, which confirmed these statements today with Moore.

According to the advocacy and stakeholders group NEORN, Moore added that: “Ontario Northland is solely focused on delivering on our current mandated services safely, efficiently and sustainably and are proud of the expanded bus services we are now providing.”

Ontario Northland has provided passenger rail services for decades. It currently operates the Polar Bear Express passenger rail service which connects Cochrane to Moosonee.

NEORN muses about the possibility of a return of rail.

They wonder aloud: Could a new mandate letter with direction to actively pursue a plan for passenger rail service for Northern Ontario, suggest immediate action -Toronto to Cochrane?

They say a plan could include longer term opportunities to use existing rail infrastructure to extend the service to Hearst, Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury.

Could this actually be part of the Liberal election platform?

Other political parties, NEORN claims, have included passenger rail service for Northern Ontario in their announced platforms already.

“Our present government could amend the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines’ current mandate for ONTC to include new passenger rail service for the north (now -before the election),” says NEORN.

“But at the moment Moore’s hands are tied. It is not her decision to implement renewed passenger rail service – the government makes that decision and ONTC would implement it. Another issue – all political parties need to recognize it is NOT the Northlander train we need returned to service but the Northlander Route. The political parties should be talking about a passenger rail plan for Northern Ontario with a spring election on the horizon. And then implement the plan! Or better still, amend the mandate now and begin the work needed to get train wheels turning as soon as possible.

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Posted by on Feb 1 2018. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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