BRACEBRIDGE, ON- If you have opinions on passenger rail in northeastern Ontario, the District of Muskoka wants to hear them.

According to a press release issued by the district on Monday, a survey has been launched by the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN), who have been advocating to the provincial and federal governments for the restoration of passenger rail service in northeastern Ontario.

They’re also looking for a moratorium on the removal of any rail lines, and the improvement of existing passenger and freight rail services in northern Ontario, and have been coordinating their efforts with the Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel (CPMRT).

They want residents of the area and visitors passing through to join in with their efforts by filling out an online survey, which can be found here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NEORNsurvey

“One year ago, newly elected PC leader Doug Ford promised to return passenger rail service on the Toronto to Cochrane line which had been cancelled in 2012. This promise has been reiterated several times in the past 12 months,” said Lucille Frith, NEORN and CPMRT co-chair, in the news release.

“The April 2019 Budget had no dollar line item for the passenger rail service but Finance Minister Fedeli stated in the legislature the government is focusing on identifying opportunities for a modern, sustainable transportation system in Northern Ontario.”

Both NEORN and CPMRT state in the release that they feel many of the moving parts are in place to make passenger rail a reality. Those include the following:

  • a government who keeps stating they will do it
  • a government who suggested an amount of $45 million they say would be spent ($30M Capital and $15M Operating)
  • a government who have publicly stated on CBC Radio that for the previous nine months they had been working with Corina Moore, President and CEO of Ontario Northland and partners at Ministry of Transportation to develop a plan. This plan is due out in November 2019.

“The Ford Government has stated they are listening to the people and support passenger rail in the north,” said Frith, in the release.

“We want to provide data that will support the return of passenger rail between Toronto and Cochrane as promised.”

The survey will run until June 30th.