MPP Fedeli Welcomes Associate Minister of Transportation to Tour Ontario NorthlandNovember 24, 2023
NORTH BAY – Nipissing’s MPP Vic Fedeli welcomed Ontario’s new Associate Minister of Transportation, Vijay Thanigasalam to North Bay for an opportunity to see firsthand the operations at Ontario Northland and our government’s strategies for bringing back passenger rail in the North.
During today’s tour, Associate Minister Thanigasalam had the opportunity to see the work being done on the Metrolinx and Ontario Northland’s $109 million contract to refurbishment of 56 Go Transit bi-level coached coaches at Ontario Northland’s Remanufacturing and Repair Centre. The refurbishment work for this contract started in 2022 and is anticipated to be complete by late 2025.
“As part of our plan to build Ontario, it is important for our Associate Minister of Transportation to see the investments made in Ontario Northland to strengthen the manufacturing sector in Northern Ontario while continuing to support high quality, good paying jobs for the people that live here,” said MPP Fedeli.
The Return of Passenger Rail
In addition to touring the ONR shops, the Minister also met with members of the ONTC board and management team for an update on the government’s operations to return passenger rail to Northern Ontario. The Ontario government previously announced the purchase of three new trainsets as part of the plan to bring back northeastern passenger rail services. The $139.5 million investment has been a significant milestone in reinstating service between Timmins and Toronto. Once reinstated, northeastern passenger rail service will be offered from four to seven days a week, based on seasonal travel demands.
“As a long-time champion for passenger rail, it is great to see Minister Thanigasalam’s support in bringing this vital service once and for all,” added MPP Fedeli.
SUPPLIED PHOTO: Vijay Thanigasalam, Associate Minister of Transportation and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli at the controls of an ONTC locomotive. Minister Thanigasalam was in North Bay to see firsthand the operations at Ontario Northland.
- Ontario Northland Transportation Commission’s Northlander Passenger Train discontinued service in 2012.
- In April 2022 Ontario Northland Transportation Commission released the Updated Initial Business Case which included a preferred route from Toronto to Timmins with a rail connection to Cochrane.
- By 2041, annual ridership is currently estimated to be between approximately 40,000 and 60,000.
- Detailed design will focus on the route that includes 16 stops: Toronto (Union Station), Langstaff, Gormley, Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, South River, North Bay, Temagami, Temiskaming Shores, Englehart, Kirkland Lake (Swastika), Matheson, Timmins and Cochrane.
- The new locomotives will meet EPA Tier 4 emissions standards and are equipped with particle filters reducing 95% of particles and 89% of Nitrogen Oxide emissions.
- The $109.57 million investment for the refurbishment of 56 GO bi-level passenger rail coaches is in addition to the existing contract for the refurbishment of 15 cab cars that was signed between Metrolinx and the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission in 2019.
- The refurbishment work for the new contract started in 2022 and is anticipated to be complete by late September 2025.