Ontario Northland is testing a new train from cottage country to Toronto

Nov 22 2021, 3:30 pm

A new passenger train route going from Ontario’s cottage country to Toronto officially began testing on Monday.

Ontario Northland, which is planning to operate the future route, launched its first test train from North Bay early Monday morning, sending it south to Toronto’s Union Station.

Transportation Minister Carolyn Mulroney announced back in May that the Ontario government, in partnership with Ontario Northland and Metrolinx, is moving forward to bring passenger rail service to the northeastern side of the province.

Once set up in its entirety, the train line will go well beyond the Toronto to cottage country route. It will have 13 stops, from Toronto Union Station all the way up to either Timmins or Cochrane — the final destination has not yet been decided. The stops in between are Langstaff, Gormley, Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, North Bay, Temagami, Timiskaming Shores, Englehart, and Matheson.

Ontario Northland previously operated rail service in this corridor but stopped in 2012.

Service will be dependent on seasonal demand and will range from four to seven days a week. Passengers coming from northern Ontario will have the option for overnight trains so that they can “maximize their day in the Toronto area and reduce the need for overnight accommodations in Toronto if preferred,” the May announcement reads.

The Government of Ontario has committed $5 million to the planning and design phase, which is expected to wrap up next year. Train service is expected to start in the mid-2020s.

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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