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Ontario Pushes Forward with Northlander Passenger Rail Revival

BRACEBRIDGE — The Ontario government is making significant strides toward the return of the Northlander passenger rail service, a long-awaited transportation revival set to benefit the northern and central regions of the province. On May 31, 2024, the Ministry of Transportation announced the awarding of three key contracts that will see the design and construction of nine new station shelters, vital rail safety improvements, and essential warning system upgrades.

The contracts signal a pivotal moment in the reestablishment of the rail line connecting Timmins and Toronto, a move aimed at fostering safe and reliable transportation options for communities spanning the province.

“People and businesses in northern and central Ontario deserve the same access to safe and reliable transportation as the rest of the province,” emphasized Vijay Thanigasalam, Associate Minister of Transportation. “Reinstating the Northlander will not only support our northern industries and resource sectors but will also pave the way for a more integrated transportation network that connects communities from the north to the south.”

The next two years will see the installation of modern, equipped station shelters in Matheson, Kirkland Lake, Temiskaming Shores, Temagami, South River, Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Washago. These shelters will be outfitted with seating, lighting, and heating to ensure passenger comfort.

“This investment marks further progress on the reinstatement of the Northlander train service,” noted Chad Evans, Chief Executive Officer for Ontario Northland. “The shelters will be safe, comfortable, and accessible, providing a consistent, modern passenger experience for customers boarding and exiting the train all along the route. We are excited to see this work progress during this construction season and next.”

In addition to station enhancements, this summer will also see the commencement of construction on station platforms, parking areas, and pathways. Concurrently, track improvements will be undertaken to bolster rail safety, reduce derailment risks, and minimize train maintenance needs.

Once operational, the Northlander passenger rail service will run between four to seven days a week, adjusting based on seasonal travel demands. This revitalized rail service is poised to significantly impact the region, promoting economic growth and providing a critical link for northern and central Ontario communities to the rest of the province.

The Ontario government’s commitment to this project underscores its broader strategy to enhance transportation infrastructure and connect communities more effectively. The return of the Northlander is not just a boost for the local economy, but a step towards a more cohesive and accessible Ontario.

Stay tuned to GTA Today for further updates as this landmark project progresses and the Northlander makes its anticipated return to the rails.

Samantha Deschamps

Samantha Deschamps serves as the Queens Park Reporter, offering insightful coverage of provincial politics with depth and accuracy. With a keen understanding of legislative intricacies, Deschamps provides invaluable perspectives on matters affecting Ontario. For inquiries or feedback, contact Samantha at samantha.deschamps@gtaweekly.ca.

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