Push to save Sault-Hearst passenger train continues

Sault Ste. Marie city council is requesting Transport Canada extend a subsidy to CN Rail to keep a passenger train line going between that city and Hearst for at least one year.

Northern Ontario passenger train service scheduled to stop next month

Sault Ste. Marie city council is asking that Transport Canada extend a subsidy to CN Rail to keep a passenger train line going between that city and Hearst for at least one year.

Recently, Transport Canada announced it was cancelling the funding for the line, and the service would stop at the end of March.

The CAO in Sault Ste. Marie said the announcement that the line was being cut was short notice.

“I’m fairly optimistic that government will do the right thing, the responsible thing, and provide this extension so that the stakeholders can exhaust every reasonable opportunity at putting together a very successful and viable solution,” Joe Fratesi said.

If the funding for the line is not extended, Fratesi said the economic impact would be great for many communities, as well as businesses.

He said the continuation of the service is especially important for smaller areas.

“Passenger service has been a part of their life,” he explained.

“While the numbers that use the passenger rail may not be large, the significance of loss of the rail service to those who do in fact use it as the only means of getting to where their properties are is very significant.”

Fratesi added some people have cottages along the line that are only accessible by rail, and said the property would be useless if the service were discontinued.

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