North Bay City Council will vote during tonight's regular meeting on a motion urging the restoration of passenger rail to the north by the Ontario government before the next provincial election.
Councillor Mac Bain will bring the motion forward, seconded by Coun. Dave Mendicino, seeking to get the northern train service back on the tracks.
In 2012, the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission discontinued the Northlander, replacing it with coach service. Premier Doug Ford and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli made campaign promises in 2018 to restore the ONR Northlander train service decommissioned by the Liberal government of the day. The Northlander ran on CN tracks south of North Bay to Toronto and north on ONR tracks from North Bay to Cochrane.
See related story: Consultant claims Ontario Northland not on board with passenger rail
Various groups, notably All Aboard Northern Ontario advocated for the return of passenger rail to the north in the lead-up to the 2018 election in Ontario, and are still active today.
Bain's motion observes no timeline to restore train service between Toronto and Cochrane is present in the Ministry of Transportation's Northern Ontario transportation plan, introduced in December 2020.
"We're going to do it right," when it comes to restoring northern passenger railway said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli in December during a virtual news conference to release the province's new transportation plan.
Fedeli called Connecting the North: A Draft Transportation Plan for Northern Ontario "especially exciting for Nipissing. Dependable and efficient passenger rail has long been awaited."
The resolution, if passed, would ask Premier Ford and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney to "restore passenger rail by the 2022 Provincial Election."
If passed, the resolution will be forwarded to — and seek the support of — MPP Fedeli, MP Anthony Rota, and the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities.