Train advocates optimistic Maritime link will be saved

Public transportation advocates are celebrating plans by the federal government to save a section of rail line that connects the Maritimes to the rest of Canada.

Ottawa to announce Monday it will repair Miramichi-Bathurst track

Passengers get on board a Via Rail train in Halifax. (CBC)

Public transportation advocates are celebrating plans by the federal government to save a section of rail line that connects the Maritimes to the rest of Canada. 

The CBC has learned Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt will make the official announcement on Monday.

Marc Savoie of Transportation Atlantic has been fighting to save the line since January. That was when CN said it plans to retire the track.

Savoie said many people rely on the service. 

"People who travel to Moncton or Halifax for medical appointments, and then you have students who are travelling home on the weekends or holidays. [If] they don't have that type of service, they are going to be extremely affected in a negative way," he said Saturday. 

Transportation Atlantic held rallies and organized letter-writing campaigns. About 25,000 signed a petition to save the line. 

But Savoie says he's cautiously optimistic about Monday's announcement. 

"The battle has not been won," he said. "If they simply save the track, it's not enough. We want the service to return to a daily service."

The rail line between Miramichi and Bathurst is used by VIA Rail passenger service to connect the Maritimes with Quebec three times a week. 

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