It is time to provide a quick update about the Algoma Passenger Train. We continue to be very appreciative of the hard work that the Sault Ste Marie EDC under the leadership of Tom Dodds has been doing to prepare the agreements between Transport Canada and the City of Sault Ste. Marie and between the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the new operator of the passenger train—Railmark. Sault Ste. Marie City Council approved the agreements in principle at their meeting on April 13, 2015. When the final wording of the agreements is completed and when Railmark has satisfied the City that it has met all the conditions and provided necessary documentation, the agreements will be presented to Council. We will let you know the date of that meeting so that you can show your support by attending. As part of the ACR Working Group, CAPT expresses our sincere gratitude to Tom Dodds, the City of Sault Ste Marie and Transport Canada for all that they are doing to maintain passenger service on this amazing, remote rail line.
Meanwhile the passenger train is running on the same schedule as usual: northbound on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and southbound on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. We encourage everyone to take the train to all sorts of destinations: to a lodge or resort, to their camps, to take a canoe on the train to start a canoe trip on one of the many rivers that cross the rail line or to visit Hawk Junction/Wawa, Dubreilville or Hearst.
And stay tuned for details about the Taste of Hearst/Saveur de Hearst, Sept 11-12, 2015 and the annual Group of Seven and Glenn Gould Train Event on Sept 18-20, 2015. Save those dates!!!!!
Here is a link to Radio Canada’s coverage of the visit by two Blind River residents who went to Hearst to practice their French and attend the French book fair called “Le Salon du livre”. CAPT and the EDC of Hearst plan to organize opportunities for more people to visit the 95% francophone city of Hearst to practice their French or to just experience the warm hospitality of this French-speaking community at the north end of the Algoma passenger train line.
When James Howard Kuntsler was asked what would be the first thing to be done to decrease carbon emissions, he answered that the fastest way to reduce carbon emissions right away would be to switch to more rail transportation of people and freight and reduce reliance on road and air travel. So let’s mark this earth day (April 22) by continuing our efforts to enhance and restore passenger train service on the lines that currently exist in Northern Ontario. These lines have been there since the early 1900s and could and should still be used for passenger service. Let’s persuade our governments that we need those passenger services back!
CAPT extends our heart-felt thanks to Mayor Christian Provenzano and the Sault City Councillors for their Monday evening approval in principle of a plan that will allow federal funding for the ACR passenger train to flow through the City of Sault Ste. Marie. As a result of this approval, legal documents between the City and Transport Canada and another agreement between the City and the third-party operator—Railmark Canada—will now be written up and a final city by-law about this will be considered hopefully at the April 27th meeting. Sault Ste Marie Council and staff have been immensely supportive and hard-working on this issue. Under the leadership of Joe Fratesi (CAO, City of Sault Ste Marie) and Tom Dodds (CEO, Sault Ste Marie Economic Development Corporation), the City of Sault Ste Marie has been working non-stop over the past 16 months to ensure the continuation of the ACR passenger train and the huge economic benefit that it brings to the Algoma region.
Recent media coverage:
City agrees in principle to funding agreement | Sault Star
Sault Agrees to Terms of Sault to Hearst Rail Deal
On Your Railmark, Get Set, Go! City of SSM Gets to the Business of Passenger Train Service - Northern Hoot
ONTC now in the hands of northern Ontarians
Important Reminder: Please tell as many of your contacts and family members that it is very important to attend Sault City Council Meeting at 4:30 pm on Monday. The Council will be deciding whether the funding from Transport Canada for the ACR will be administered by the City. This decision is crucial for the funding to flow. We want to show Transport Canada how important this is to all who have been working so hard to keep the passenger train between the Sault and Hearst. Hope to see lots of you there!!!!
Show up in large numbers at Sault City Council Meeting Monday
Apr 13 at 4:30 pm.
Council will be asked to approve the principles for the legal agreements needed to ensure the transfer of the funding for approved ACR costs between the government and the city. An agreement will then be made between the city and Railmark Canada.
For more information click on this link to a Sault Star article.
City awaits legal agreement for ACR train transfer | Sault Star
Author speaking this evening (April 8 ) at Sault College about Climate Change
If you support rail you are no doubt aware that increasing transportation by train is one of the quickest ways that we can reduce carbon emissions and climate change.
Clean North is sponsoring a speaker about whom you can find more information at this link: http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/details.asp?c=89300.
News about rail supporters in Southern Ontario:
Back to the future | The London Free Press
ACR passenger train will be funded
CAPT wishes to thank MP Bryan Hayes and Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt for their decision announced late last night to fund the ACR passenger train. Please see details in the media stories below. We also thank MP Carol Hughes, the ACR Stakeholders’ Working Group under the leadership of Tom Dodds and Joe Fratesi for Sault Ste Marie, the Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs’ Forum (NSRCF), Hearst, Wawa, Dubreuilville, and all the hundreds of CAPT volunteers who contributed so much time and money to keep the train going. We look forward to continuing to work together with Railmark to make the ACR passenger train the best passenger service in North America!
Please click on the links below for the media coverage in past few hours.
Passenger Rail Service from Sault to Hearst Saved!
'It was literally the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute'
Northern Ontario: Railway saved | CTV Northern Ontario
Funds come through for passenger rail | Sault Star
Harper government approves funding for ACR Passenger Rail Service under Railmark
Only 5 more days
In only 5 more days the passenger train service will stop if Transport Canada does not agree to the transition plan funding. We know that MP Bryan Hayes is working very hard on this and MP Carol Hughes raised it in question period in the House of Commons yesterday (see the link to Wawa-News coverage below).
Meanwhile the local media has been giving a lot of coverage to this urgent issue with its huge implications for the regional economy.
Please read the following media items:
Latest Media Coverage
He understands how to run trains'
Future continues to be uncertain for Algoma Central Railway
Answers needed on future of ACR passenger services
Avenir des services voyageurs d”ACR
Wait continues for response on ACR | Sault Star
Once again we are grateful to the City of Sault Ste Marie for passing last evening a resolution of support for the ACR stakeholders’ request for transition funding for the passenger train.
Here are links to the latest media coverage of this urgent matter:
'The eleventh hour'
Council re-confirms support for ACR plan
Linda is hoping this will be the last time