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Passenger Train Service is Needed in Algoma

We are the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is a grassroots advocacy group which is concerned with the lack of transportation options in the Algoma District.  We are committed to reinstating the passenger train service on the Algoma Central Rail line and are also exploring the potential for a passenger train service on the Huron Central line between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.

We need passenger rail services in a multi-modal transportation system throughout the Algoma region. This will allow for essential connections to the rest of Ontario.

Passenger Train Services Are Essential

Missanabie Cree First Nation and other First Nations communities along the Algoma Central rail line are unable to access their traditional territories without a passenger train. Ceremonies and various cultural events take place on these lands and are an important part of First Nations culture.

Chief Gauthier smiling and holding a copy of the Bear Train business case booklet.

The cancellation of the Algoma passenger train took away the only transportation into significant parts of Indigenous traditional territories, including some areas that are very important spiritually and culturally.  The restoration of passenger train service by the Missanabie Cree-run Bear Train would allow regional First nations to follow through on plans to create Indigenous tourism economic development initiatives in the rail corridor.

Jason Gauthier
Chief, Missanabie Cree First Nation

People living in many smaller communities along the Agawa Canyon Rail line and near the line need access to larger communities with critical health care services, post-secondary institutions, for shopping and to visit family and friends.

Forrest Hinich holding a pack of outdoor supplies.

“My name is Forrest Hinich. I am 30 years old and grew up in Wabos Ontario, a community located on the ACR railway. Up until the passenger train service was halted in 2015, my friends, family and I would travel on the passenger train from Searchmont to our camp at Achigan Lake. We utilized the train year-round as it was the best way to access the remote area. We would enjoy trips to the Agawa Canyon to canoe and hike, and sometimes trips to Hearst to experience the life and culture of our northern communities. Once the passenger service shut down, the communities, camps and businesses settled on the rail line became inaccessible, including access to the Sand River and other canoe routes. The loss of the passenger train greatly impacted tourism in the area. Myself and many others eagerly await the return of the passenger train service!”

– Forrest Hinich

The passenger train service has always provided great access to wilderness areas, camps and lodges where tourists and locals alike can take part in outdoor recreational activities. These range from fishing and hunting, rock and ice climbing or hiking, to canoeing and kayaking.

James Smedley sitting in a boat holding a fish.

It has long been known that the Algoma Central Railway cuts through a wilderness landscape that is arguably one of the most beautiful in the world. At a time when more and more people are searching for all manner of outdoor recreation the need for passenger rail service has never been greater. Whether we are paddlers, campers, hikers, anglers, artists, hunters or photographers, the absence of a dynamic passenger rail service along this established route is a real waste of potential.”

James Smedley

Tourists from Ontario, from across Canada and from overseas are looking for more unique destinations to visit. The ACR Corridor is such a place with not only Indigenous territories, vast forests and interesting wildlife, but also many fascinating sites where the Group of Seven painters chose to create some of their most famous paintings. Without a passenger train, many of these sites are not accessible. It is a great loss to our region’s economy, especially considering the level of interest in heritage sites throughout the world.

Hiker in the woods leaning against a rock and drinking from a canteen.

Within four years of the completion of the Algoma Central Railway from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst, members of Canada’s iconic Group of Seven began a series of annual painting trips along the rail corridor. Their paintings of Algoma proved to be a watershed moment in the evolution of Canadian art, leaving an enduring legacy to future generations. That legacy, and the landscape that was so germane to it, has such rich educational and tourist potential, but that potential can only be realized if the unique access provided by the passenger train is restored to its rightful place in Canadian history.”

Michael Burtch
Artist, Art Historian, retired Director/Curator of the Art Gallery of Algoma

CAPT is working to get passenger train service for you

Since its inception, CAPT has connected with politicians at the local, provincial and federal level.  We have held in person meetings, sent postcards, petitions and letters to encourage governments, particularly the federal government to fund passenger rail service in the Algoma Region.  CAPT has also held Town Halls in communities along the ACR and Huron Central lines.

CAPT will continue to do whatever it takes to advocate efficiently and effectively to the appropriate levels of government for funding.  We will also continue to advocate locally in this region for support for passenger rail transportation for everyone.

CAPT has many supporters in the region and beyond.  We value and appreciate their support over the years and look forward to their continued support as we move forward.

CAPT is working closely with the Missanabie Cree First Nation and Mask-wa Transportation Inc. to assist with advocacy for the Bear Train funding.

We will confirm the support of local communities along the ACR line and work with them to achieve success.

As we have more information about the Huron Central line with regards to passenger rail service, we will determine how best to advocate for passenger rail service along that line.

Bear Train Logo.

CAPT supports the Mask-wa-Oo-ta-ban, Bear Train

Mask-wa Oo-ta-ban, the “Bear Train,” is an initiative of the Missanabie Cree First Nation, Mask-wa Transportation Association Inc., and communities along the Algoma passenger train rail corridor to resume essential passenger rail service. CAPT advocates for support of the Mask-wa-Oo-ta-ban initiative.

Dorothy standing in front of a bush smiling.

Happy Holidays!

The CAPT Board met in November and has determined our priorities for 2023. We will be working on developing a pitch for potential partners and funders that is built around meaningful and impactful stories about the importance of the passenger train service from Sault Ste. Marie north along the ACR line. We will also be approaching various organizations to see how they can support this service.

– Dorothy Macnaughton, Chair of the CAPT Board

Do you want to see passenger rail service in Algoma?

Become a Supporter

As CAPT continues to advocate for passenger train service in the Algoma region, we need many supporters to help highlight the need for this service as a viable, important transportation option. We will be keeping you posted as to how and when you can help, so keep watching our messages from the Board and our social media posts. We will let you know specific ways in which you can take meaningful action.