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Two summer traditions when I was younger were built around passenger rail service. Every summer, we would travel by train from Sackville NB to Cape Breton to visit my grandparents. In early summer, my grandmother and two of my aunts would pass through Sackville on their annual trek to Quebec from Cape Breton. The stop wasn't long enough for them to disembark but my parents would insist we all drive down to the station, wait for the train to pass through and wave like crazy when we spotted them in their passenger car. No words were spoken, just all of us smiling and waving madly at eachother like fools. It seemed a little silly when I was younger but it was a ritual we repeated, along with the train trips to my grandparents, every year. That is until the trains stopped running from Cape Breton. And then I missed those traditions terribly.

This week, Transport Action Atlantic announced it is seeking public input on a blueprint for the future of passenger rail service in this region. The story led to a heated discussion at our story meeting on what would make the train more appealing as a mode of transportation. One person talked about it as something, and I paraphrase here, quaint but irrelevant in this day and age. And then we heard from you. Several people posted on our Facebook page about why they love the train, their memories of the train and why it must remain as an essential service in this region. The public will have its turn to share views at a town hall meeting in Moncton next week. Stay tuned.

It was one of the stories that struck a nerve this week. We received a lot of response to the closed door hearings on the province's official languages act, and people are closely following our coverage of the Curtis Bonnell trial in Miramichi. We will continue that coverage in the weeks ahead. We welcome your feedback on all the stories and issues we cover and appreciate your story ideas as well.

Have a great week!
I have a train to catch...

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