CBC Radio's Morning North program, hosted by Markus Schwabe, took time to speak to Lucille Frith, spokesperson for the North Eastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) about the upcoming Rally for Rail town hall meetings in the region. The Rally for Rail town halls are advocating for the return of passenger rail service in Northeastern Ontario, leading up to the upcoming June election.
You can listen to the interview here: http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/morning-north/segment/15546115
Upon hearing the Morning North program Wednesday morning one listener, Marianne, emailed Lucille with her own testimonial for the return of passenger rail. Here's what Marianne had to say:
I caught your interview this morning on CBC with Markus and I think it was ironic that I heard it during my commute from Sudbury to North Bay, a drive I’ve been doing for 6 years! I’ve often fantasized about how wonderful it would be to merely drive to a station within my area, hop on a bud car, and be deposited in downtown North Bay so I could walk to work, then do it all in reverse at the end of the day. Sure beats driving all the time, in good weather and bad.
I like the way your group is advocating for an increase in service. It would serve more people than I think many realize. It may be a case of “if you build it, they will come” but I’m sure they would come. There are students who travel to universities and colleges in Sudbury and North Bay along this corridor; there are people making the trip by car for specialized doctor appointments, and there would be many more who do it to shop, enjoy the tourism offered by each area… the list goes on and on. Also consider how we know from the last census that the north has a growing population of elderly who are becoming increasingly less comfortable with any highway drive.
Just last week, I was stopped on the highway around Warren for 50 minutes because of an accident. And any Northerner knows the perils of winter driving. I would gladly take a train just to avoid delays due to accidents and bad road conditions. It would have to be affordable, though. Based on my gas consumption, I would pay $100 a work week ($20 a day) for a roundtrip into North Bay in the morning (arriving before 9:00) and into Sudbury in the evening (leaving NB just after 5:00). I think this would be welcomed by others, since I certainly recognize some of the same vehicles in my daily trip. A few strategic stops along the way would certainly benefit others who commute along this corridor, for shorter distances.
Another thing I have noticed as well since working in North Bay is that there is really no better option than driving if you’re trying to get to Sault Ste Marie from North Bay. That’s a 5 hour trip that I’m sure would be more pleasant on the train.
And let’s not forget about the environment!