Ontario cancels northern train
File photo of train tracks. (FOTOLIA)
NORTH BAY, Ont. - After decades of serving Ontario's northern communities, the Northlander train from Toronto to Cochrane, Ont., will stop running after Sept. 28, the provincial government announced Thursday.
Regular train service will continue until that date, and communities served by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) train will still be served by the bus service.
Northern officials and employees, who have been waging a campaign to save the train, expressed their disappointed at the news.
"The news isn't getting any easier to take," said Brian Kelly, president of CAW Local 103. "We intend to fight this and on Sept. 28 the train will still be running."
Kelly wants the New Democratic Party and Conservatives to help put the pressure on the Liberal government cuts.
"I'm calling on the leaders of these two parties to tell the Ontario premier this isn't happening," Kelly said. "The opposition has a hell of a lot of power and I'm optimistic we will win this."
But Conservative Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said the NDP voted twice to support the "Liberal fire sale" and won't be counting their support.
The union estimates the cancellation of the train between Toronto and Cochrane could mean the loss of 63 jobs.
The ONTC's North Bay-based telecommunications company Ontera will be the first business up for sale since the province announced in March the divestment of the Crown corporation to help Ontario tackle its deficit.
Infrastructure Ontario will invite interested buyers to submit their qualifications to purchase Ontera, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines said in a news release.
The ministry said the Polar Bear Express train service won't be affected and will continue to provide the same service to rural and remote communities between Cochrane and Moosonee, at the southern tip of James Bay.
The Niska I ferry, which sails between Moosonee and Moose Factory Island, is being transferred to the Owen Sound Transportation Company, with no changes to service