1.     This morning at 11:30, Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt was in Sault Ste. Marie to announce that the federal government has agreed to extend its subsidy to CN that will ensure the operation of the Algoma Central Railway passenger train until March 2015. The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains would like to thank its supporters for their assistance in helping to remind the federal government of the necessity of the ACR in Northern Ontario.

For more information please follow the links below:

Raitt urges private-sector solution to ACR issue

Federal subsidy restored for ACR (live video)

ACR on the rails for another year

$2.2-million federal subsidy to CN expires March 31, 2015

Everyone is invited to attend the ACR stakeholders’ meeting on Thurs April 17 at 1:00 pm in the Russ Ramsey room of the Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre. This will be a meeting open to the public to see the report of the ACR passenger train economic impact analysis completed by BDO.

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Letter from Northeast Superior Chiefs; Letter to The Hill Times and reminder about NIGHT TRAIN Apr 9


  1. Letter from Northeast Superior      Regional Chiefs’ Forum (NSRCF)
  2. Letter to the editor, The Hill Times (paper read by politicians and      civil servants on Parliament Hill, Ottawa)
  3. Reminder: NIGHT TRAIN       Wed. April 9, 8:00 pm Water Tower Pub, train music performed by local      musicians to support ACR passenger train service


letter2.) Don’t cancel passenger service on Algoma Central Railway

Published in the Hill Times: Monday, 04/07/2014 12:00 am EDT



As you have probably heard or read, a string of remote communities, tourism businesses, and property owners will be left with no transportation if Transport Canada’s decision to stop funding the Algoma Central Railway as of March 31 is not reversed. CN has indicated service will subsequently cease a month later, on April 29. We understand the challenge the Canadian government faces as it tries to balance its books, but we believe that Transport Canada officials were probably not sensitized to the unique and crucial concerns inherent with discontinued passenger railway service on the line.
Of critical importance, there are no publicly-maintained roads into most of the more than 56 stops on the 476-km rail line from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst. A quick review of an official Ontario roadmap will attest to that. In addition, ending the Algoma Central Railway passenger service would take away the livelihoods of many tourist operators whose customers can only travel to their lodges by train; trappers who manage their trap lines by train; and fishing, canoeing, rock and ice-climbing outfitters who bring their customers into the area by train.
The $2.2-million of federal funding under the Regional and Remote Passenger Rail Services Class Contribution Program to CN for the line’s continued operation is a very small amount compared to the many millions of dollars in economic impacts that result from it.
Cindy Lebrun, of Tatnall Camp, is extremely concerned.  “Our family’s 40 year business, accessible only by the ACR train, would be inoperable with only two months notice.”  She adds, “cancelling the Algoma passenger train will be calamitous for all of the tourism businesses, cottagers, communities, recreationists, trappers and commuters that depend on this service, especially given the extremely short notice.”
Ending the passenger train will dramatically and adversely affect the efforts of First Nations and municipalities to expand their tourism industries. This is the rail line used by the Group of Seven artists in the early 1900s to create some of their most significant and celebrated work—a real draw for the expanding market of cultural tourists.
We strongly urge Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and the Government of Canada to reverse its decision to cut funding to CN for the line’s continued passenger service until appropriate assessments and options have been explored and documented.
Besides the obvious loss of millions of dollars in revenue, tourist and lost employment opportunities, a discontinued passenger rail service will inflict a devastating blow to the culture, life and appeal of the internationally known Algoma Central Railway operating through one of the world’s most charming and virtually unspoiled natural areas.
Al Errington and Marie Price, Co-chairs, Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains, Algoma, Ont.

3.) Reminder: NIGHT TRAIN  Wed. April 9, 8:00 pm Water Tower Pub, train music performed by local musicians to support ACR passenger train service

Rusty McCarthy has generously organized what promises to be a wonderful evening of music about trains performed by several local musicians at the Water Tower Pub to show support for our efforts to keep the ACR passenger trains rolling down the track.  Please pass the word around to your contacts, share on Facebook and other social media. See you there!

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Updates, Night Train reminder, Media items and reduced calendar price

. Working Group Update
2. Reminder : Night Train
3. Media items
4. Reduced CAPT calendar price

1. ACR Working Group Update
-BDO is close to completion of its economic impact analysis. Bravo to so many of you who filled out the survey for the study.  There was an excellent participation rate.
– Letters for a meeting with Minister Lisa Raitt continue to be sent to her.

2. Reminder: Night Train:… Wed. April 9 at 8:00 pm Water Tower Pub, Sault Ste Marie
Please pass the word around to your contacts to attend the special benefit evening of train music to support our efforts to save the ACR passenger train.

• Time to build rails again at Essar Steel Algoma
• Carol Hughes Discusses ACR in the House of Commons, 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (Refer to Adjournment Proceedings)http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=2&DocId=6499461
• Climate Change a threat to security, food and humankind- IPCC report http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-threat-food-security-humankind
• UN report on climate change rings alarm on warming polar regions http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/03/30/un_report_on_climate_change_rings_alarm_on_warming_polar_regions.html

4.  Reduced 2014 CAPT calendar price: $5
Since we are into April, the 2014, the 2014 calendars are now $5.  They are still for sale at the Art Gallery of Algoma and Shabby Motley 356 Queen Street East. Sault Ste Marie. P6A1Z1. Tel: 705-575-9276 or we can mail them to you and you can send us a cheque. Cheques can be made payable to Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains.  Mailed to:
Linda Savory Gordon
Algoma University
1520 Queen Street East
Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2G4

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e-mail addresses for saving the train letters

Addresses for e-mails to send about Saving the train.

L “Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt”lisa.raitt@parl.gc.ca.
Please cc: your letters to the following:
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper,” stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca
“Mr. Bryan Hayes, MP Sault Ste. Marie” bryan.hayes@parl.gc.ca
“Ms. Carol Hughes, MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing” carol.hughes@parl.gc.ca
“SSM Economic Development Corporation” info@ssmedc.ca
“SSM Chamber of Commerce Ontario” info@ssmcoc.com
“Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains” info@captrains.ca
Visit the website www.algomapasssengerrail.comisa Raitt, Carol Hughes, Bryan Hayes and info @captrains.

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Survey reminder, Searchmont Resort’s letter, Article by Doug Millroy, Sault Star


1.     Survey reminder

2.     Searchmont’s letter requesting government to reverse cancellation of passenger train service

3.     Article in Sault Star by Doug Millroy

1.     Survey reminder:

This is a reminder to fill out the ACR Passenger service working Group & BCO survey by clicking on this link:https://0370ac8.netsolhost.com/algomapassengerrail/ACRPTSurvey.php .

or on Survey on Home Page Menu above

If you wish, you are most welcome to attend the workshop set up to help people fill out the survey tomorrow—Wednesday, March 19 any time from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the Civic Centre in the Economic Development Corporation offices on the first floor.  There will be people to answer your questions and help you either fill out paper copies of the survey or do it electronically.  You can also just discuss it with the others present and complete yours at home.

2.      Here is a Searchmont Resort’s letter requesting the government to reverse its decision to cancel the passenger train service.

Searchmont logo.jpg


February 21, 2014

 Bryan Hayes, MP Sault Ste. Marie

Carol Hughes, MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing

 Dear Mr. Hayes and Ms Hughes:

 On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Searchmont Ski Association Inc. (SSAI), I am writing regarding the recent decision of the Federal Government to end the subsidy for the CN passenger train service of the Algoma Central Railway (ACR) from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst. We ask that you work to postpone the decision to cut passenger service for a minimum of one year while stakeholders develop a long term solution to maintain the passenger rail link.

 SSAI is a not-for-profit organization that owns and operates Searchmont Resort, a premiere ranked, regional training and recreation facility with high quality mountain terrain, amenities, events and entertainment.


The passenger rail service provides Sault Ste. Marie and area residents and tourists an important means of transportation to Searchmont Resort.

 Over the past seven years, Searchmont has partnered with the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains on special events such as the Group of Seven Tour and the Searchmont Polar Express. These types of events rely on the operation of the passenger train. Due to the overwhelming response of the inaugural Searchmont Polar Express in December 2013, the demand for themed train events is apparent and can be an important part of Searchmont’s continued outreach to the community.


Gilles Labelle

Corporate Secretary
Searchmont Ski Association Inc.

3. Recent article about the ACR cancellation by Doug Millroy of the Sault Star:


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View new links

There are new links on the menu:

  1.  Under Take Action above is a link to a petition to save the passenger train
  2. Under Survey is a survey for those who will benefit from maintaining the passenger train.
  3. Under ACR MOVIE view a 3 min. movie of an incredible trip on the ACR and see Northern Ontario
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update, minutes, how to donate, survey workshop, Dubreuilville meeting, media coverage

CAPT supporters continue to be very busy with the campaign to stop the cancellation of the ACR passenger train service (effective April 29). Many are circulating petitions which MP Carol Hughes created and is depositing regularly in the House of Commons with copies to Minister Lisa Raitt.
As part of the working group of stakeholders, CAPT is helping to encourage completion of surveys and will assist with a workshop for anyone wishing help with the survey.  We have also sent a letter to the Hill Times which is a newspaper read by politicians and civil servants on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Another town hall meeting will be held on March 27th—this time in Dubreuilville. For details, please see below under item (5).

Minutes of working group meeting Feb. 20
Algoma Central Railway Passenger Service Working Group
City of Sault Ste. Marie – Civic Centre –Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:00 – 10:00a.m.

In Attendance:
Joe Fratesi, City of SSM, Chair
Dave Murphy, Coordinator
Carol Caputo, Algoma Kinnawabi
Dennis Henderson, A.R.C.A
Tom Dodds, SSMEDC
Marc Capancioni, SSMEDC
Angela Bruni, SSMEDC
Via Teleconference:
Linda Nowicki, Wawa
Claude Laflamme, Hearst
Al Errington, CAPT
Ian McMillan, Tourism SSM
Bev Nantel, Dubreuiville
Louise Perrier, Dubreuiville
Chief Joe Buckell, First Nations
Sylvie Fontaine, Hearst

Call to Order – 9:05a.m.

  • The Chair welcomed everyone to      the first meeting of the Working Group that represents the broad cross      section of stakeholders making a concerted effort to preserve Algoma      Central Railway Passenger Service.


  • Joe Fratesi –
    •  City of SSM’s City       Council agreed to contribute $50,000, on the condition there is a fair       contribution by other stakeholders.
    • CN has extended the passenger       rail service for an additional month (until the end of April 2014),       however, we will still be working towards having the final report due on Mar. 31st, 2014.
  • Tom Dodds –
    • talked to Dave MacLachlan,       Tourism Northern Ontario. TNO is committed to assist and is endeavoring       to find $5,000 – 10,000 this fiscal
    • suggested a Contribution Plan       that consists of the reasonable amounts for each stakeholder.
      • Sault Ste. Marie – $35,000
      • Wawa – $3,000
      • Hearst – $5,000 (will get        confirmation on amount)
      • Dubreuiville – Linda Nowicki        will speak with Louise Perrier
      • Cottagers – $500
      • CAPT – $500
    • < >$100,000 Agreement       in Principle to Contribution Plan

BDO Terms of Reference

  • Approach and Methodology – BDO is ready to work with      stakeholders in our needed timeframe to establish the social and economic      impacts and linkages of the passenger rail service
  • Working Group –
  • was supportive of engaging BDO      and agreed to provide any comments on BDO’s Terms of Reference by Tuesday,      February 25, 2014.


  • Efforts outside working group      discussions is encouraged, however, make note to acknowledge the working      group and reinforce that we represent the interests of the individuals      affected.
  • Working Group –
  • agreed that an introductory      letter should be sent to the Minister of Transport, which will discuss who      we are and our objectives
    • agreed that a press release       should be issued announcing that BDO (a nationally recognized firm) will       be engaged by the shareholders to assess the economic impacts and social       impacts of the cancellation of the ACR Passenger Service. This press       release should also reflect that the various stakeholders are financially       contributing toward this impact assessment.”
    • will update the website with       all appropriate material
  • Approval of minutes needed      before sending out to other stakeholders

Next Meeting

  • To be determined as matters      arise with respect to this initiative

Donations to CAPT to support Save the ACR Campaign
In order to support the campaign to save the ACR passenger train, CAPT is asking for donations. You can make a donation on line by going to www.captrains.ca and clicking on the “donate” button on the home page. For donations over $10 an income tax receipt will be issued.
If you wish to give a donation in person in the Sault you may leave it at a store on Queen St called Shabby Motley 356 Queen St. E. open tues to sat, 10 am to 6 pm.

Survey and workshop Wed. Mar 19  5:00-8:00 pm The ACR Passenger Service Working Group and BDO Canada LLP are assessing the economic impact of passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst. One component of that assessment is a survey that is available at: https://0370ac8.netsolhost.com/algomapassengerrail/ACRPTSurvey.php
The more people who complete this survey the better.  If you wish help with completing it, CAPT and the working group will be holding a workshop at the EDC on the first floor of the Sault Ste. Marie Civic Centre on Wed.  March 19 from 5 to 8 pm.  You may go there at any time during those hours and volunteers will be availabe to help you fill out the survey.  If you do not want to fill it out on line, printed copies will be available for you to fill out on paper.
While everyone can enter their information through this survey, if lodge owners, outfitters and tourism businesses prefer to express how they would be affected by the cancellation of the passenger service, they can input their information through NOTO (Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario).  If they contact NOTO.ca they will be given a link to use for that purpose.

Dubreuilville Town Hall Meeting/  Réunion Publique à Dubreuilville
A CAPT town hall meeting about the ACR will be held on Thursday, March 27 in la salle multi-fonctionelle of the Bureau municipal, 23 rue des Pins, in Dubreuilville at 7 pm

Media Coverage
CTV news: survey about impact of ACR cancellation

Impacted by the cancellation of ACR passenger rail service? Tell us how

Use the ACR? Read this

CBC.ca | Morning North | Could be final year for Agawa Canyon Ice Climbing Festival

More support from Michigan
The following appeared in ON TRACK March 2014, a bulletin published by the Michigan Association of
Railroad Passengers (which continues to be among the strongest supporters of the campaign to keep
the ACR passenger train):
Keep Those Letters Coming
While Canadian National has agreed to keep the Algoma Central passenger trains running through April 29 on the 300 mile route between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst in Northern Ontario, the threat to this vital service remains.
With strong support from the City of Sault Ste. Marie and business leaders along the route, a Working Group has been formed to initiate talks with government and railroad officials with the goal of keeping the trains operating in the short-term while a longer-term solution is sought.
Supporters of the ACR are asked to send letters to: “Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt” lisa.raitt@parl.gc.ca.
Please cc: your letters to the following:
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper,” stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca
“Mr. Bryan Hayes, MP Sault Ste. Marie” bryan.hayes@parl.gc.ca
“Ms. Carol Hughes, MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing” carol.hughes@parl.gc.ca
“SSM Economic Development Corporation” info@ssmedc.ca
“SSM Chamber of Commerce Ontario” info@ssmcoc.com
“Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains” info@captrains.ca
Visit the website www.algomapasssengerrail.com

Letter from CAO of Sault Ste Marie, Joe Fratesi, on behalf of the Algoma Passenger Train Working Group to Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transportation

Joseph M. Fratesi, B.A., J.D. (LL.B.)
Chief Administrative Officer
99 Foster Drive
P.O. Box 580, Civic Centre
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Canada.  P6A 5N1
(705) 759-5347
(705) 759-5952 (Fax)

2014 03 07        

The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport
Tower C – 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0N5


Dear Minister:

On February 24, 2014 the ACR Passenger Service Working Group sent you the attached letter requesting your support in securing a one year extension to the funding that Transport Canada provides for this important passenger rail service.  The extension would ensure that all of those affected by the cancellation of this service from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst are given an opportunity to be consulted and to provide potential long term solutions that would preserve this much needed infrastructure in Northern Ontario.

The Working Group has engaged BDO Canada LLP’s (BDO) to outline the economic impacts of CN’s Algoma Central Railway passenger service.  It is estimated that the BDO engagement will be completed towards the latter part of March or early part of April 2014. As a result, the ACR Passenger Service Working Group is requesting an opportunity to meet with you with BDO’s results during the period between April 10, 2014 through to April 16, 2014, given that time is of the essence with the termination date of April 29, 2014 looming.

Minister, this is a very important issue to the people of Northeast Ontario and we thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

Respectfully submitted

JMF:bb                                                             Joseph M. Fratesi
Attach.(letter of Feb. 24, 2014)                           Chief Administrative Officer and Chair
ACR Passenger Service Working Group
Bryan Hayes, MP
Carol Hughes, MP
ACR Passenger Service Working Group
Mayor & Members of City Council
Terry O’Brien, CN
John Orr, CN
Lindsay Fedchyshyn, CN
Dave Murphy, Working Group Coordinator

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March Break Ride the Rail to Searchmont Ski Resort

March Break Ride the Rail

March Break Ride the Rail Ski or Snowboard Package

March 8, March 10, March 13, March 15

This March Break, climb aboard the Algoma Central Railway (ACR) passenger train and enjoy a special Ride the Rail Ski or Snowboard package at Searchmont Resort! Train passengers can choose from one of two packages, or can purchase their bus transportation, lift ticket and rental equipment separately. Ride the Rail is offered on March 8, March 10, March 13 and March 15.

Package A: Ride the Rail Lift & Rental Package:
– includes lift ticket (Learning Centre and Triple), rental equipment, shuttle bus to Searchmont lodge and return Snow Bus transportation
– 11 and up $40+HST/10 and under $15+HST
– ACR train ticket sold separately*

Package B: Ride the Rail Lift, Rental & Discover Lesson Package:
– includes lift ticket (Learning Centre and Triple), rental equipment, shuttle bus to Searchmont lodge, return Snow Bus transportation and 90 minute Discover Lesson – beginners only. Lesson available 9:30-11am, 11:30am-1pm or 1:30-3pm
– 11 and up $55+HST/10 and under $40+HST
– ACR train ticket sold separately*
The passenger train departs at 9 am from the ACR rail yard located at 429 Carmen’s Way; upon arrival to the Searchmont train stop, a shuttle bus will take passengers to the Searchmont Resort main entrance. Passengers will return to the ACR rail yard on the Searchmont Snow Bus (departs from Searchmont Resort main entrance at 4:30 pm or 9:30 pm).
* Train ticket sold at ACR train depot located at 129 Bay Street, next to Walmart entrance (train ticket prices include tax): $22.80 Adult (19+) / $21.30 Senior (60+) / $19.90 Youth (6-18) / $14.30 Child (2-5).
Step 1 – purchase passenger train ticket at ACR train depot (based on available seating). ACR train depot is located at 129 Bay St., open Monday through Sunday 8 am to 5 pm. Train tickets can be purchased over the phone with Visa or Mastercard payment (705 946-7300 or 800 242-9287).
Step 2 – call 705 781-2340 ext. 0 to pre-register for A) Ride the Rail Lift & Rental or B) Ride the Rail Lift, Rental & Discover Lesson Package at least 24 hours in advance to guarantee rental equipment.
Cost for bus shuttle and return Snow Bus only: $7
Lift ticket only (11 and up): $25
Rental equipment only: $15

For more information please follow this link: http://www.searchmont.com/march-break-specials/

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Letter re: Group of Seven book and film & local CTV news

Hello CAPT supporters:

  1. Below please read an excellent      letter sent to Minister Raitt by Michael Burtch, Joanie McGuffin and Gary      McGuffin who have done extensive research about Group of Seven painting      sites along the ACR in preparation for a book and film about this topic.      There is a link to the trailer for that film.
  2. On the camera for the film      trailer referred to in the letter was local film-maker Dan Nystedt who      volunteered to travel with us to film all the town hall meetings last      week, including documenting the trip on the train from Hawk Junction to      Hearst. Thanks, Dan.
  3. Train to the Annual Wabos      Loppet : Saturday      March 1, 2014
    The Wabos Loppet takes place in March and begins with a scenic hour-long      train ride from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to the lumbering village of      Wabos. At Wabos, skiers begin an uninterrupted 27 KM (16 mile) cross      country course that leads through the woods, to Sheppard Creek, where tea      and oranges are served. From there ski on to Norm’s cabin at the edge of      Bone Lake. There skiers will enjoy more refreshments of tea and cookies.      The last part of the trip takes participants to Stokely Creek Lodge for a      festive celebratory barbecue and live entertainment. Rate – $84.00 –      $115.00, Canadian depending on when you sign up. Call Stokely at      705-649-3421 (local) or 1-866-786-5359 to make your reservations. If you      are staying the weekend at Stokely ask about the discount on registering      for the Loppet.

    February 25, 2014

    The Honourable Lisa Raitt;
    Minister of Transport;
    House of Commons;
    Ottawa, Canada

    Dear Minister

    We are writing to you in regard to the 2.2 million dollar cut to the funding which has, until now, allowed CN Rail to operate the ACR passenger train between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst.
    For the past six years we have been devoting our time and effort into a locating and documenting sites along this historical rail line that became iconic symbols of Canadian nationalism through the paintings of the Group of Seven. One of the motivations behind our project was to shed light on an area of Canada that played such an important role in the development of this country, through the legacy of the First Nations, the subsequent opening of the territory to its vast resources by the Algoma Central Railway and finally the creation of a body of artistic work that would help define our country as we emerged from our colonial past. This project is unique in that so few places in the world can boast of a landscape that has remained relatively pristine throughout the past century of industrialization and urbanization. The photographic record that we have created of over one hundred sites attests to the remarkable preservation of these iconic places.

    In doing our research we have discovered that there are small but vibrant communities dotting the entire length of the rail line and that these communities  thrive on the natural legacy they have inherited. We have also discovered that there is a huge potential to develop sustainable, environmentally sound, ecological and cultural tourism, something very much needed in this often ignored part of Canada. Our project has attracted national and international attention. We are in the process of having our work published and we have partnered with White Pine Pictures and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection to produce a documentary film, travelling exhibition and website to highlight the Group of Seven in Algoma. This partnership has spawned a web of other significant affiliations that promise to lay the groundwork that would help our region realize the above mentioned cultural tourism potential.

    Many of our long term goals however are threatened by the suspension of the passenger rail service. Accessibility to many of these sites is possible only by rail,  as was the case in the years that the Group of Seven made history here. It would be a travesty to see the opportunities inherent in this cultural and educational infrastructure vanish with the swipe of a pen. We have already launched highly successful events which demonstrate the viability of our vision. We need your support and intervention to insure the continuity of that vision.

    We have attached links to the Group of Seven- Glenn Gould Train Event and to the demo film for our documentary to give you a glimpse into our efforts.

    Thank you for your consideration of this issue which is so important to not only our region but to the entire country.

    Sincerely yours

    Michael Burtch
    Gary McGuffin
    Joanie McGuffin


    cc        Bryan Hayes, MP
    Carol Hughes, MP
    Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
    David Orazietti, MPP
    Michael Mantha, MPP
    Mayor Debbie Amaroso
    Tom Dodds
    Joe Fratesi
    Ian McMillan
    Mayor Linda Nowicki
    Mayor Roger Siguoin
    Lori Johnson
    Sylvie Fontaine
    Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains

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Letter from Robert Bateman and latest news coverage, including CTV VIDEO clip

  1. Letter from Robert Batemen to Minister Raitt
  2. Latest news items

1.  Letter to Minister Lisa Raitt about the ACR by Robert Bateman:   

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A0A6

Dear Minister:

As an artist and environmentalist I was horrified to hear about the potential closing of the Algoma Railway passenger service.

As an artist I consider the geographical area through which the train travels as a Canadian art history heritage area.  The train is the way that Group of Seven painters traveled into the Canadian wilderness and creatively displayed those landscapes through their art.  Their paintings of scenes along the Algoma Central Railway (ACR) have become Canadian cultural icons. I understand that art historian Michael Burtch and wildlife adventurers Joanie and Gary McGuffin have been conducting extensive, unique research along the ACR and have located over 80 sites of paintings made by various Group of Seven artists.  This research is new to the field of Canadian art history and when their book and film are published will draw many tourists to the ACR tourism corridor.  This will be a major boon to the tourist operators whose businesses are accessed only by this special train.

As an environmentalist I support public investment in train-based tourism and train travel in general as it is a way to reduce pollution and climate change and their destructive effects on the planet. Enhancing the Northern Ontario wilderness trains as eco-tourism rail corridors is a way for Northern Ontario to diversify its economy and lead to sustainability of its local communities in an environmentally respectful way . The Algoma Central Railway educates tourists about our fragile ecosystems as it travels through areas such as the world’s largest game preserve—the Chapleau Game Preserve.

I support the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT)’s request to the Federal government to reverse its decision to terminate the special funding for the ACR passenger train and treat it as essential infrastructure for the development of a rail tourism corridor through Ontario wilderness.


Robert Bateman

cc        Bryan Hayes, M.P.
Carol Hughes, M.P.
Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT)
Northern and Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN)

2. Latest news coverage:

CTV news about ACR passenger services: starts at 7 minutes and 10 seconds in

Michael Gravelle- Minister’s Advisory on the ONTC, Wawa-news.com

ONTC GCA present plan to Wynne Government today, Baytoday.ca

ONTC plan goes to provincial committee

BDO to assess impacts of ACR passenger rail, Sootoday.com

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