Northlander's Return: Community Connection Events Spark Excitement
Work to reinstate the Northlander passenger rail service is well underway. Ontario Northland recently hosted a series of 15 Community Connection events, both in-person in locations such as Timmins, Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard, Washago, and Huntsville, and virtual, designed to spark discussion, showcase progress on the service and gather valuable feedback to inform future decision-making.
Now in the design and planning phase, Ontario Northland is working diligently to ensure the Northlander passenger rail service is safe, accessible and sustainable. Multiple workstreams, including engineering and environmental assessments are in motion, setting the stage for launch of this transformative transportation service.
The Community Connection events offered the agency a chance to reconnect with communities along the future corridor and capture valuable insights from past and future passengers. The enthusiasm displayed by attendees at these events was outstanding. The valuable conversations will assist our agency in delivering a service that aligns with the aspirations and needs of Northern Ontario.
An exciting component of these tradeshow-style events was the opportunity for community members to vote on the exterior design of the train. With two mock-ups on display, community members had a chance to share their preferences and have a say in shaping the train's visual identity.
These gatherings also served as a platform to discuss menu items and on-board amenities. The future service will have a food cart to deliver in-seat menu options. Input collected during these events will influence final offerings, ensuring the Northlander caters to passenger preference.
Ontario Northland also took advantage of these events to promote rail safety. The service will see increased traffic through communities along the corridor and Ontario Northland reminds everyone to keep rail safety at the forefront in preparation for the service.
The agency also shared information about job openings, fuelling excitement about employment opportunities the Northlander will bring to the region.
Northern Ontario's distinct transportation needs are at the forefront of the Northlander's revival. The Community Connection events have laid a strong foundation for a service that will meet the unique transportation needs of the region, while enhancing economic development opportunities and quality of life for generations to come.