Michael Gravelle Minister of Northern Development and Mines says the return of the Northlander passenger train is not something on the horizon.
“We certainly don’t plan on bringing the Northlander back but we are looking at transportation options all across the north,” Gravelle stated at a funding announcement last Friday at Voyageur Airways in North Bay.
Gravelle pointed out that a Northern Ontario Multi-Modal Transportation study will be released soon.
“We are looking at those kinds of options as to where the needs will be for rail transportation as well but at this time there is no plan to bring the Northlander back,” he said.
The Northlander passenger train was shut down by the Liberal government back in 2012. the PC's, NDP and NOP have all pledged to bring the train back as part of their election platforms.
However, Corina Moore, the CEO at Ontario Northland stated recently that she hopes passenger rail service will return to the north.
“I believe as a transportation agency in Northern Ontario we have to look at passenger rail for the simple fact that we are looking at ways to increase tourism, we are looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” stated Moore at a Canadian Club luncheon back in late January.
Gravelle believes the bus service has been put in place to make up for the lack of passenger rail to the north. He calls it a “triumph” that the Wynne Government kept the Ontario Northland going amidst plans of divestment.
“We came into office and Kathleen Wynne asked me as premier to look at the organization and we kept four of the five lines in public hands,” he said.