Cochrane station is pictured with the Northlander and bus service in a photo courtesy of Lucille Frith.
LAKE OF BAYS, ON- Lucille Frith wholeheartedly believes the train is coming back to northeastern Ontario.
Frith is the co-chair of the Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel and the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network, who have recently launched a survey aimed at gathering data from residents of the area about the return of passenger rail.
They’ve 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.
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:
Frith spoke with the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom on Monday about the survey, and her high hopes for the return of the service.
According to Frith, both the province and Ontario Northland have indicated that the train is coming back, with plans being developed and an announcement anticipated in November.
She also indicated the survey is more aimed at gathering what people want to see from the service once it returns, instead of the possibility of it returning in the first place.
“There are a couple of questions that go for those skeptics who feel that we aren’t going to get the passenger rail service back, but I firmly believe that north-south rail service will be available to the people of Ontario who need a connected system with Southern Ontario,” said Frith.
She believed that residents of the northeast and cottagers who travel to the area on the weekends would all benefit from the restoration of the service.
“Having something that connects with the rest of Southern Ontario would mean that my grandchild could get on the Go Train in Oakville and come to Huntsville, or go to Englehart, by train,” said Frith.
“A large majority of the world operates on passenger rail service, and not just cars. Maybe, we could avoid having so many parking lots on the Highway 400.”
She also believed it would be good for the environment.
“If we could get some of those temporary visitors who come up on a Friday and leave on a Sunday to hop on a train and get picked up at a station, that would eliminate a few cars on the road,” said Frith.
The survey will run until June 30th.