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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Awards Contracts to Advance Northeastern Passenger Rail

BRACEBRIDGE — The Ontario government is delivering on its promise to bring back northeastern passenger rail service by awarding three contracts to design and manufacture nine new station shelters, enhance rail safety and complete warning system upgrades. The contracts mark a significant milestone in reinstating train service between Timmins and Toronto, providing a safe and reliable transportation option for northern and central communities and unlocking Ontario’s full economic potential.


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


Over the next two years, new station shelters equipped with seating, lighting and heating will be installed in Matheson, Kirkland Lake, Temiskaming Shores, Temagami, South River, Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Washago.


“This investment marks further progress on the reinstatement of the Northlander train service,” said 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.”


Construction of station platforms, parking areas and pathways will begin this summer, along with track improvements to enhance rail safety, reduce derailment risks and decrease train maintenance. Once reinstated, the Northlander passenger rail service will operate four to seven days a week, based on seasonal travel demands.


Quick Facts


  • Enseicom Inc. has been awarded the contract to design and manufacture nine new station shelters.

  • Remcan Ltd. has been awarded the contract for track improvements to enhance rail safety, decrease maintenance and reduce derailment risks.

  • X-Rail has been awarded the contract to complete warning system upgrades along the Northlander corridor north of North Bay.

  • The Northlander service will enhance the province’s integrated transportation network and advance work on the province’s Draft Transportation Plan for the North.

  • In April 2022, Ontario Northland released the Updated Initial Business Case, which included a preferred route from Toronto to Timmins with a rail connection to Cochrane.

  • In December 2022, Ontario announced the purchase of three new trainsets as part of its plan to reinstate the Northlander.


Quotes


"Our government has long recognized the importance of having safe, convenient and reliable transportation that extends to northern Ontario. Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in the long-awaited restoration of the Northlander’s vital passenger rail service. We look forward to the positive impact this will hold for our local communities as well as those experiencing the beauty and opportunities of the north for the first time."


- Vic Fedeli

MPP for Nipissing


"As we continue to attract world-class investment to northern Ontario, our government understands that today’s announcement is about more than just transportation; it's about the connectivity of northerners. By restoring this vital link between Timmins and Toronto, we are unlocking the economic potential in the northeast, making the Northlander a cornerstone for building Ontario."


- Greg Rickford

MPP for Kenora – Rainy River


"For far too long, previous governments ignored the transportation needs of people in Timmins and across northern Ontario. The reinstatement of the Northlander is a huge win for the people of northern Ontario and industries like mining that rely on workers to travel to our region. I am proud to be part of a government that listens to the needs of northerners and takes decisive action to ensure that everyone can get where they need to go."


- George Pirie

MPP for Timmins


"People and businesses historically rely on a safe and convenient transportation network to thrive. The return of the Northlander will ensure access to essential services like health care and education, while supporting economic prosperity and tourism across the region."


- Jill Dunlop

MPP Simcoe North


"The restoration of the Northlander reflects our government’s dedication to supporting our small and rural communities with the critical infrastructure they need and deserve. We’re creating accessibility and mobility for our local residents, connecting them to people, places and opportunities across Ontario."


- Graydon Smith

MPP Parry Sound—Muskoka


"We are pleased to see the Ontario government investing in shelters along the Northlander route, including right here in Bracebridge. These upgraded amenities will contribute to providing safe, accessible transportation options to residents and visitors while helping support the growth and development of our local economy through improved access to tourism and job opportunities."


- Rick Maloney

Mayor of the Town of Bracebridge


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