Reply from CN re: winterizing train, film link and Latest Media Coverage

1)    Reply from CN re: Winterizing train service

On October 23, CAPT received an answer to our letter of October 6 in which we asked CN to provide some urgent passenger service before freeze up so that properties can be winterized prior to freeze up.  This is due to the fact that a third party operator will not be in place in time for property owners and leasees to prevent property damage before freeze-up.   The answer from CN is that they will not provide that service.  One of our members has suggested that we ask CN if they would be willing to run a special "high rail" vehicle or vehicles or a bus that can travel on the rails for transporting people to their properties so that they can do their winterizing. People could pay in advance for tickets that would cover the use of such a vehicle.  A letter will be sent with this request today.

  2)    Painted Land film on-line link:

For those who were unable to watch the film Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven on television, here is a link you can use to see it on-line:

  3)    Latest Media Coverage:

  Hey Terry. Let's work together on these issues: Chamber Saturday, October 24, 2015   by: Staff

  Passenger train applications due month-end By Elaine Della-Mattia, Sault Star  Thursday, October 22, 2015

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Latest media coverage

 Have you ever seen a float plane in November? Tuesday, October 06, 2015   by: Kenneth Armstrong

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Report from the Sept. 30 Town Hall Meeting: recent media

1.    Report

Thank you to all of you who attended the Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday.  There were about 60 reps from many parts of the ACR rail line, including Oba Lake, Lake Wabatongushi, Wawa, Sand Lake, Agawa Canyon, Trout Lake, Ojidaki Lake and Achigan Lake.  People travelled from as far away as Lansing Michigan and Wawa to attend.  The meeting started with an upbeat performance by Forrest Hinich and Mister Tahti of a song about the ACR written by Jeff Hinich. It was very much appreciated by everyone. Many thanks, Forrest and Mister.

A report was made about the ACR Working Group’s process to select a third-party operator for the passenger train. Some members of the working group have been meeting to develop a new train schedule to propose to the new operator and Transport Canada that would result in more service in the peak seasons and reduced service in months such as November and December when there are fewer passengers.

Many people shared their concerns about their businesses and properties due to having no access since the train stopped. They are worried about such things as:

·         boats, rafts and docks floating away with higher autumn water levels and being damaged when frozen in the lake

·         water pipes freezing and bursting

·         water pumps destroyed through being frozen in lakes

·         unshuttered porches being damaged by snow and freezing rain.

A trapper spoke about the fact that he and other trappers do not have access to their trap-lines which they have to set up in the fall.  Hunters who have secured and paid for animal tags have to have access to the areas for which they were obtained.

A rock and ice-climbing business owner needs to bring in clients to the climbing sites.

There was widespread consensus of all in attendance that CAPT should send a letter to CN with copies to Transport Canada and the Minister of Transportation asking Transport Canada to write a temporary contract with CN to provide service until the 3rd party operator begins.  The service would be based on a modified schedule of only 2 runs per week in October and one run per week in November and December.  This letter will be drafted and sent ASAP.

Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) (Algoma branch)'s submission to Moving Ontario Forward Infrastructure Consultation was presented and paper copies were handed out.

Several reporters from local media outlets were present: Jason Bertrim (Q104 fm), Brenda Grundt (Wawa-News), Ken Armstrong (Sootoday). Elaine Della Mattia (Sault Star) and Lincoln Louttit (CTV) covered the town hall earlier.

2.      Latest media coverage

Coalition For Algoma Passenger Trains Co-Chair Al Errington and Board Member Linda Savory-Gordon talk about their update on the ACR Passenger Rail Service and what is going on with the coalition prior to its meeting at City Hall on Wednesday night. Country 104.3 by Jason Bertrim

The Little Engine That Could meets government bureaucracy Thurs, October 01, 2015   by: Kenneth Armstrong

CTV Northern Ontario  Sept. 30, 2015 Soo Train Service will resume shortly by: Lincoln Louttit

Group of Seven, Painted Land Documentary: Algoma’s Landscape. Past, Present, Onward. Written by Steffanie Petroni, Northern Hoot

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Town hall Meeting tomorrow—Wed. Sept 30 at 7:00 pm Sault City Hall (Civic Centre) Plummer Room

Forrest Hinich will open the meeting with a live performance of Jeff Hinich’s song about the ACR.

The agenda will include:

  • a report from the CAPT rep on the ACR Passenger Train Stakeholders Working Group
  • a report about the request for special passenger train service for businesses and other property owners to winterize prior to freeze-up
  •  and plans for rescheduling 2015 train events cancelled due to cancellation of the passenger train since July
This will also be an opportunity for many of us in the ACR passenger community to be together again after a long summer of not seeing each other on the train.  Light refreshments will be provided.


New Digital Companion to Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven documentary film

Painted Land Digital is the digital companion to Painted Land: In Search Of The Group Of Seven, a feature length documentary on the Group Of Seven, produced for TVOntario, CBC and CTS. Much of the film was made along the ACR railway. Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven seamlessly weaves the history and experiences of these artists - Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, AY Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Franklin Carmichael and AJ Casson - with the adventures of three modern day sleuths, historian Michael Burtch, and the writer and photographer team of Gary and Joanie McGuffin, who are determined to track down the locations of these famous paintings.  The film will be on TVO on these dates: Thursday, October 15, 2015 9:00pm, Saturday, October 17, 2015 9:00pm and Sunday, October 18th, 2015 11:00pm.  This film shows the indisputable heritage importance of the Algoma passenger train as the only way to access 100s of iconic Canadian painting sites.

Link to PaintedLand Digital Companion

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Reminder: CAPT Town Hall Meeting:  Wed. Sept. 30 7:00 pm SSM Civic Centre

You are all invited and encouraged to attend a CAPT Town Hall Meeting on
Wed., Sept. 30 at 7:00 pm in the Plummer Room of the SSM Civic Centre (City Hall).

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CAPT Town Hall Meeting: Media Coverage

1.     CAPT Town Hall Meeting:  Wed. Sept. 30 7:00 pm SSM Civic Centre

 You are all invited and encouraged to attend a CAPT Town Hall Meeting on Wed., Sept. 30 at 7:00 pm in the Plummer Room of the SSM Civic Centre.  Updates will be provided about the ACR Passenger Train, including our request to the ACR Working Group to ask CN to provide special passenger train service before freeze-up.  The media is invited to hear representatives from various lakes along the line explaining why special winterizing train service is essential in order to prevent damage to their properties.  Some ACR music will also boost our spirits and keep us chugging along. And very light refreshments will be provided.

CAPT’s submission to the Ontario government’s consultation on infrastructure funding will be presented.

2.       Latest media coverage:

DE BIG SHOT TRAIN, Chapter 9 | Selling Camps - Northern Hoot

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ACR passenger train update: latest media

ACR Update

We are pleased to say that the ACR Stakeholders Working Group, led by its Interim Chair, Tom Dodds, has been very busy  with the processes of selecting a third party operator for the passenger train.  

We know that many of you are very concerned with the lack of passenger service and the winterization processes required prior to freeze up.  Lodge owners, trappers and those who have camps/cottages are very concerned about the probable damage to their properties that could result if the normal winterizing maintenance is not completed.  We, have been hearing your concerns about undrained pipes bursting, boats and canoes either floating away as the water level rises or being damaged from freezing in the water, rafts and docks not being brought onto shore, winter windows replacing screens to keep the snow and ice from blowing into and destroying porches etc.  As a result of your concerns CAPT has requested  the working group to make a request to CN to provide train service to facilitate the winterizing process for all concerned.  This service would most logically be done after the end of the tour train season (after Canadian Thanksgiving) and before freeze-up.  We are very hopeful that CN will realize the urgent need for this service to be provided and be willing to make that happen. ( Unfortunately the new operator will not be in place in time for this winterizing to be done.)

Several  CAPT volunteers attended the recent Sault Ste Marie federal government all-candidates debate (some with our CAPT t-shirts on).  We were pleased that the ACR passenger train issue was discussed several times by the candidates.

Latest Media Coverage

RFP results in proposals to run train service | Sault Star  Elaine Della-Mattia  Sept. 9, 2015

 ACR Tour of the Line - A Canadian Odyssey [HD] 

Published on Sep 13, 2015

March 2015 was an uncertain time for the Agawa Canyon 'Tour of the Line' train. This uncertainty prompted a group of friends to head north and catch a ride on the train for one last time. In this video, you'll see the highlights of the northbound trek from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst, Ontario.

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Film about ACR and famous painters; recent media coverage

1.     Painted Land Film about ACR and Group of Seven (famous Canadian artists)

Don’t be disappointed.  Buy your tickets now to the Algoma Fall Festival screening of the documentary film about the work done by local Group of Seven expert Michael Burtch and adventurers Joanie and Gary McGuffin to locate sites of Group of Seven paintings along the Algoma Central Railway line.  Over the past several years the formidable threesome has taken the train to various locations where the famous Group of Seven artists painted some of their most significant works.  It was while they were living in a box car on the train and in tourist cabins along the line that the Group of Seven is said to have formed as a “group”. (This film by White Pine Productions will be shown on TV Ontario this fall.)   When you see Painted Land you will see how essential it is for the passenger train service on the ACR to continue as that is the only way that people can access the places where some of the Canada’s most iconic works were painted.  This special screening of the film will be an opportunity for you to hear from Michael Burtch, Joanie and Gary McGuffin about their experiences doing their amazing research along the ACR rail corridor.  Click on the link below to find out how to purchase tickets.

Painted Land - The Film and Exhibition
Friday, October 2 to Saturday, October 3

2.     Recent Media Coverage

Dodds: Passenger train service generating interest
By Elaine Della-Mattia, Sault Star Thursday, August 27, 2015

Still Standing:  CBC TV Sept 2, 2015  (in the second half there is a part about the ACR passenger train)

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Working Group Press release and latest media coverage

1.    The SSMEDC and BDO, on behalf of the ACR Passenger Service Stakeholders Working Group, have issued a request for proposal for a third party operator.  This is the media release that was sent out:

Sault Ste. Marie, ON (August 18, 2015) – The group vying to retain passenger rail service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst issued a request for proposal (RFP) on August 14. The ACR Passenger Service Stakeholders Working Group sent the invitation to 25 businesses across North America, asking them to tender proposals to operate the rail service. Proponents have until September 9 to make official submissions.

“With funding available to support the ACR passenger rail service, we’re making every effort to secure a viable third-party rail operator,” said Tom Dodds, interim Chair of the Working Group. “However, given the timing, a new operator is not expected to be in place until at least the fourth quarter of 2015. We’re playing the hand we’ve been dealt and doing our best to resolve this situation as soon as possible.”

It should be noted that the ACR passenger service is separate from the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. The tourist attraction, which takes riders on a one-day wilderness excursion 114 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, is not impacted by the disruption of the ACR passenger service. CN will continue to operate the Tour Train for the entire current season ending October 12.

2.    Latest Media Coverage

CTV Northern Ontario :  Businesses Unhappy  Jordan Allard

New search starts for rail operator | Sault Star   Brian Kelly  August 19

ACR stakeholders seeking new rail operator | Sault Star

ACR stakeholders formally seeking new rail operator

NDP comments on ACR 'crossed the line,' Hayes says | Sault Star 

Hayes Responds To Skip Morrison on Passenger Train Service

Liberals and Conservatives failed the passenger train, says Skip
Monday, August 17, 2015   by: Kenneth Armstrong

CTV Northern Ontario :  Soo Rail Service  Lincoln Louttit

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Reminder to please attend the Sault City Council meeting today

Please attend the Sault City Council meeting today, June 22, at 4:30 pm

Latest Media Coverage:

No passenger rail service expected before Tuesday. Many stranded

EDC can't recommend signing with Railmark | Sault Star

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