Sudbury

Restoring train service to Moosonee a 'priority' for Ontario Northland

Freight train service between Cochrane and Moosonee is now suspended after a passenger train derailed on Wednesday.

Passenger train derailed Wednesday, closing down freight and passenger service

On Wednesday, the Polar Bear Express derailed south of Moosonee. (Supplied/Dan W. Beck)

Freight train service between Cochrane and Moosonee is now suspended after a passenger train derailed on Wednesday.

The Polar Bear Express was carrying 73 passengers and seven crew members when it left the tracks about 37 kilometres south of Moosonee on its way back to Cochrane around 5:45 p.m.

Some passengers sustained minor injuries.

The train is one of the few ways to access the James Bay Coast as there is no all season road.

Rebecca McGlynn, a spokesperson for Ontario Northland, the company that runs the train, says freight service is also impacted.

She says freight trains with supplies usually travel up to Moosonee on Fridays. That won't happen this week.

She says the company is working with customers who have already purchased tickets for the passenger train.

"Our passenger care team is looking at a chartered flight service," she said.

Seven crew members and 73 passengers were on board the Polar Bear Express when it left the tracks on Wednesday. (Dan W. Beck)

"So those passengers who have an emergency and need to get out of Moosonee or go to Moosonee are looking at a chartered flight or we're rebooking or rescheduling travel."

McGlynn says crews are on their way to the site.

"What they're going to be doing over the next couple of days is restoring the track."

She adds the company hopes to restore both passenger and freight service on Monday.

"The Polar Bear Express and our freight service, it really is a lifeline to the community of Moosonee," she said.

"It's a priority to safely get that line back in service."

With files from Kate Rutherford

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