Latchford wants Northlander services to return

·1 min read

LATCHFORD – Latchford is joining other Northern Ontario municipalities in pressuring the Ontario government to reinstate the Northlander passenger train.

Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) submitted a letter to the province at the end of January calling for money to be put into the budget for the purpose of bringing the Northlander back.

The City of North Bay has also circulated a motion to fellow municipalities that is calling on Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney to honour the 2018 pledge to bring the Northlander back, which has been out of service since 2012.

At their regular meeting on February 18, Latchford council passed a resolution calling on the Ontario government to restore the passenger rail service prior to the 2022 provincial election.

Latchford Mayor George Lefebvre said the resolution will be forwarded to the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, Nipissing-Timiskaming MP and the Honourable Speaker of the House Anthony Rota and also Nipissing MPP and Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli for their endorsement and support.

Latchford is also asking the federal government to assist in funding the annual expenses of the Northlander and the Polar Bear Express “as they provide a valuable connection to the James Bay coast,” said Lefebvre.

“I can tell you that I find it rather amazing that they’re talking about having to do a track evaluation study before they reconsider this when they already doubled the size of their freight trains in length and the power units attached to them,” he noted.

“If ever you needed to do a track evaluation, it would have been prior to that rather than just a little two or three coach passenger train, but nonetheless.”

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker