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Jun 12

NEORN Media Release on Passenger Rail Summit

By clair | Ontario

Our affiliate, the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) issued the following media release on June 11, 2018 MEDIA RELEASE JUNE 11, 2018

PASSENGER RAIL SUMMIT VIDEOS AVAILABLE ONLINE –
. . . . . . . SOON PASSENGER TRAINS ON TRACK?

More than 120 individuals from all walks of life attended the recent Northeastern Ontario Passenger Rail Summit in Sault Ste. Marie sponsored by NEORN (Northeastern Ontario Rail Network), CAPT (Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains) and CPMRT (Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel). The Summit was, from all media indications, declared a huge success. The Summit was held to inform the public of the importance of rail passenger services and introduce the ‘Loop’ concept, that being all the short line railways in the northeast, ONR (Ontario Northland Railway), ACR (Algoma Central Railway div. Canadian National), OVR (Ottawa Valley Railway), HCR (Huron Central Railway) and CNR (Canadian National Railway from North Bay to Toronto) which today form a continuous rail network moving freight. This same rail infrastructure could be utilized to enhance tourism and provide needed passenger services for all communities and First Nations along these lines.

Noted speakers from the rail industry, First Nations, Senior and Disability groups, Politicians, Student, Teacher and Environment Associations and various transportation specialists extolled the virtues of rail passenger services. The videotapes of these presentations can be now be viewed at www.neorn.ca. Something as important as the social and economic reasons why the return of passenger rail in northeastern Ontario is needed can now be viewed by everyone – including those who could not attend the Sault Ste. Marie Summit due to the distanced to travel.

As a follow-up to the Sault Ste. Marie gathering for those who couldn’t attend, CAPT, NEORN and CPMRT have conducted RALLY FOR RAIL Town Hall meetings throughout the northeast in communities along the highway 11 corridor from the Muskoka region to Cochrane, along Highway 17E including Blind River and Sudbury and north of Sault Ste. Marie including Wawa, Dubreuilville, Hearst and Searchmont. At one small community there were 114 people present – underscoring the desire to hear about the possibility of passenger trains returning to the north. These pre-election public meetings were to help participants make informed decisions in the provincial election.
Our new government made promises during the campaign to restore passenger train service in northeastern Ontario. NEORN and its sister committees intend to make sure they come good on these promises with constant reminders, meetings and town hall gatherings. Passenger trains are efficient, effective, accessible, affordable, safe, reliable and environmentally responsible transportation all year round. The provincial government must act promptly now to address these needs of the northeast, NOW, FOR THE PEOPLE!

For Information and to view videos of the rail summit, visit NEORN at: www.neorn.ca.

‘MOVE PEOPLE, NOT JUST FREIGHT ON EXISTING TRACKS’

May 24

Need for Assistance to Short Line Railways

By clair | Ontario

On May 23, 2018, our affiliate, Transport Action Canada, sent the following letter to Federal Transport Minister Garneau concerning the need for supportive funding for short line railway operators in Canada, such as the Huron Central Railway.

Dear Minister Garneau,

Transport Action Canada (TAC) strongly supports the call by the Railway Association of Canada (see below) for a coordinated federal-provincial funding mechanism for the shortline railway operators in Canada. The urgent need for such a fund, as exists in the US for their shortline railways, is exemplified by the recent announcement that the Huron Central Railway will cease operations at the end of 2018.

The Huron Central Railway is a key component in efforts by our sister organization in Northeastern Ontario, NEORN, to help create a rail Loop through Sault Ste. Marie to revive passenger rail service as well as to preserve freight service for several local industries.

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Budd, President
Transport Action Canada
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Comments by the Railway Association of Canada

The recent Canada Transportation Act Review report recognized the importance of Canada’s shortline rail sector and recommended the creation of a federal-provincial program to support capital shortline infrastructure investments through contributions, grants, or low-cost, long-term financing.

“Despite similar studies and reports recognizing the lack of public funding for local and regional railways – or shortlines – governments have not created programs to help these companies capitalize on growth opportunities and meet evolving rail safety regulatory requirements,” said RAC Acting President Gérald Gauthier. “This type of program might have prevented the discontinuance of Huron Central Railway. Closure of this railway – and potentially other shortlines – puts safety at risk, increases congestion on public roads and harms the environment.”

Canada’s 50-plus shortlines provide vital first-mile/last-mile service to customers not served directly by Class 1 railways. By safely and efficiently moving traffic to and from the main lines, where CN and CP handle the long-haul transportation, they help shippers connect to the global marketplace.

Shortlines compete directly with the subsidized trucking sector, which has access to publicly funded infrastructure. For years, and most recently in its pre-federal budget 2018 submission and 2017 Ontario pre-budget submission, RAC has advocated for governments to level the playing field for infrastructure benefits. Investments in shortline infrastructure would help to maintain vital rail service to remote communities, improve safety and limit transportation-related emissions. This infographic highlights the environmental benefits of shipping by rail, the challenges that local and regional railways face, and how government funding would help to ensure that shortlines can support Canada’s sustainable growth.

May 22

Rally for Rail in Northern Ontario

By clair | Ontario

Our affiliate organization, Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) is holding a series of 10 “RALLY FOR RAIL” events across Northern Ontario between May 23 and May 31. All community members are invited to attend and learn how passenger rail service to their community will happen and how their vote in the upcoming June election could make this a reality. The government needs to reflect the will of the people in northeastern Ontario!

Details on the 10 rallies can be found here: NEORN-RallyMay2018

May 15

InterCityRail issues open letter to Minister Garneau

By clair | Ontario

A new Non-Government Organization, called InterCityRail, has recently formed in southwestern Ontario. It’s objective is to advocate for High Performance Rail, rather than High Speed Rail in southwestern Ontario, at least between Kitchener and London. The group has released a letter sent to Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau that summarizes the problems with the HSR plan and advocates for broad evidence-based evaluation of all alternatives in the upcoming Environmental Assessment.

The letter can be viewed at this link: Minister Garneau final May 15