New plan to bring back Outaouais steam train

Friends of the Steam Train plans to announce a new strategy to convince the Quebec government to fix the Hull to Wakefield track that was washed out in a 2011 landslide.

Train hasn't run on Hull to Wakefield track since 2011 landslide

The Hull to Wakefield steam train hasn't run since a part of the track was washed out in a 2011 landslide.

An Outaouais group is planning a new strategy to convince the Quebec government to fix the Hull to Wakefield track that was washed out in a 2011 landslide.

Friends of the Steam Train said that the corporation that owns and operates the train, CCFO, has so far failed to get the estimated $5 million necessary to repair the track.

And while the group has two members on the CCFO board, it needs to do more to change the corporation's approach, said spokesperson John Trent.

"The problem is one of tactics. The president of the train company thinks that she can brow beat the Quebec government into giving her the money — and we don't think that that's the best way to go about it," Trent said.

Trent, a Chelsea resident who launched the rail service 22 years ago, said the group will release its strategy at a news conference later this month.

While Trent said more effort is necessary to get the private sector to pitch in to get the train up and running again, he refused to give any other details about the plan until the news conference.

But CCFO president Louise Boudrias said the delay to get the government on board has more to do with soil conditions than with lobbying tactics. The province wants reassurance that the track won't be washed out again, she said.

"Even if we do get $6 million in private investments, that won't change the fact that they need to be sure that there's no security issue," she said.

Boudrias said she is scheduled to meet with provincial officials on Friday to discuss funding for a geotechnical study of the track.