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Feds cut funding. Rail service from Sault to Hearst cancelled

Monday, January 27, 2014   by: Donna Hopper has received information which could have a devastating affect on the Northern Ontario tourism sector.

On Friday, January 24, Hearst Mayor Roger Sigouin was informed by CN representatives that federal funding for passenger rail service from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst was cut.

As a result, Algoma Central Railway passenger rail service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst will cease to exist as of Monday, March 31, 2014.

There are a number of properties, including private cottages, hunting and fishing lodges and other tourist destinations, along that stretch that can only be accessed by rail.

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is seeking assistance in having the decision to discontinue this rail service reversed and requests that public supporters assist by submitting letters of support to both Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes ( and Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes (

CAPT asks that any communication on this matter submitted to MPs Hayes and Hughes be copied to CAPT via

For more information about CAPT, please click here is currently gathering additional information related to this matter and will post further details as they become available.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Beej 1/27/2014 3:17:01 PM Report

This will go over like a lead balloon.
Ski-Dude 1/27/2014 3:17:21 PM Report

The slow death of access to the remote North continues. Please keep funding more important programs.....
Sam C 1/27/2014 3:20:15 PM Report

THIS is bad news. First the Northlander, now the ACR. There are a lot of people who have camps along the ACR line who won't be at all happy about this.

Back in the 1800s, trains used to be mixed -- freight and passenger. I don't believe that our modern regulations would permit this, but it could be a way to maintain service to remote locations -- stick a couple of passenger cars behind the locomotives and ahead of the freight.
Ski-Dude 1/27/2014 3:20:55 PM Report

99 stupid things the government did with our money:

and Part 2:
snowbusman 1/27/2014 3:33:54 PM Report

This does not surprise me one bit. CN has a history of not wanting anything to do with passemger service.
This is the reason VIA exsists.
The Canyon tour train will be next.
buffy 1/27/2014 3:34:33 PM Report

Does that include the Algoma Fall train tour as well? What a huge loss that would be to our city trade.
Javaman 1/27/2014 3:34:35 PM Report

It is too bad B Hayes, our member, cannot do anything for us. People used to complain about Tony Martin not being a member of the so called ruling party. What good has it done for us now?
Javaman 1/27/2014 3:37:15 PM Report

IF HARPER had saved a few of the millions he handed out on his trip to Israel we could have continued rail service. This guy has to go...before 2015....and HAYES along with him.
flyhawk25 1/27/2014 3:44:03 PM Report

Tell me again why it was a good idea to elect Bryan Hayes.
icemantbi 1/27/2014 3:44:37 PM Report

Well, I guess the Agawa Canyon Tour Train is next, although with the price of a ticket, maybe it can survive for a few more years. But then again, how many tourists would come here for what is basically just one attraction? Would not be surprised to see that start going into decline as well.

Now, how about all the people with camps along the line? I knew someone who had a camp in Eton, it was only accessible by rail. One would have to assume roads would have to be built to allow access to those properties, which is alot of roads to say the least. And funding for roadwork would be Ontario's responsibility, which will cause some issues. Another thing to remember, I believe a large majority of those camps are on leased lands. With no access, I can expect alot of people are going to be breaking there leases, as I am sure somewhere in the lease, a clause has to exist to allow some kind of access to those lands.

This is going to be quite a mess.
Kevin5069 1/27/2014 3:47:22 PM Report

I'm sure Hayes will try to spin doctor this to make it sound like his Harper government is helping us. Lets hear another speach about how 'important' Northern Ontario is to Canada...
CLT 1/27/2014 3:49:02 PM Report

So Flyhawk25 this is a done deal?

You have talked with CN and the train will not be running after March 31st.

Didn't think so.
flyhawk25 1/27/2014 3:54:18 PM Report

What the heck do I know?
The news release said it's over March 31st.
Are you related to Hayes?
shakespeare 1/27/2014 3:57:57 PM Report

Wasn't it just today that I heard that Harper was committed to building the economies of northern communities? I think that Clement has told him that Huntsville and Barrie are part of the north.
Ski-Dude 1/27/2014 4:01:00 PM Report

Majority of camps along the line are leased. However, there are still quite a few that are on purchased land. It's going to be interesting to see how all of this is going to unfold. Anyone want to chip in on a high-rail truck?
steelworker 1/27/2014 4:01:02 PM Report

Maybe Clement can build some nice gazebos for us.
Victor R. 1/27/2014 4:04:40 PM Report

Find some tar sands up there and the Tories will reopen and build another.
habsfan 1/27/2014 4:07:23 PM Report

This is a classic example of the gov. and their rich friends wanting the northern lands and lakes to themselves. Keep the common folk out by taking away their only means of access
mosquitos 1/27/2014 4:16:57 PM Report

Funding means it's not viable. You use it, but can't pay for it. Sorry!
Javaman 1/27/2014 4:20:49 PM Report

I can hardly wait to hear what B Hayes has to say.
B Boy 1/27/2014 4:25:18 PM Report

Don't believe a word from ANY of the parties.

What do you want to bet that this closure was slated even 20 years ago.

None of these parties care less about anyone on this province or country. They blow more hot air down south because that's where 95% of the population is. Beyond getting votes, none of them could care any less about residents.

CLT 1/27/2014 4:46:46 PM Report


Hell no. The guy makes me want to eat my own vomit.

But don't you find it a little strange that the mayor of Hearst would get notification before our mayor and/or city officials?
kaima 1/27/2014 5:09:20 PM Report

I don't find anything strange about the Feds. or Provincials. That's why I have always maintained that we have our own Province, Northern Ontario. What have we gained from them? without giving something up. Just look at the so called 4-lane highway. What a joke! I damn near lost my life on it, Thanks to the so called ramps etc. that we do not have, except on First Nations Lands, Bush roads that lead to no-where!!!How can any Politician be so G-D blind and stupid????? Wake up North!
JustMe1234567 1/27/2014 5:27:56 PM Report

FOR SALE- Remote hunting camp at Mile 206.
Will throw in a pair of snow shoes for free.
christmas 1/27/2014 5:58:38 PM Report

I have to reply to mosquitos statement. It is not as simple as what you make it. There is millions of dollars at stake here that affect a whole lot of people that invested money up there as well as part of this local economy. Mr. Mosquito would you sing a different tune if you spent thousands of dollars up there or along the way. Possibly there is a lot of family history and memories that were created over the years. Do you want to re-tract your selfish statement. I think you are well out numbered --just look at the responses. I agree with flyhawk--why did we elect Mr. Hayes
dingus 1/27/2014 5:59:34 PM Report

Simply amazing,Harper just got back from the middle east unloading his A310 airbus full of 100 dollar bills for them SORRY northern ontario we forgot about you....
steelworker 1/27/2014 6:02:16 PM Report

Harper has to lock up the muslim vote in time for the next election. Nobody votes past Parry Sound.
dicks 1/27/2014 6:02:43 PM Report

cn rail has been looking for a way to cut passenger service since they took over the acr.the level of track maintenance required for freight over passenger is will save millions of dollars every year due to a lower maintenance rates will decrease as a result of no passengers.a load of logs going off the track will not sue cn rail but some passengers would be looking for cash for life if on a train that derailed even if it was not cns fault.if funding is canceled harper is playing into cns hand.this is why cn is not crying about cuts just stopping service.a prime example of the maintenance level required for passenger service is the huron central. there was 30 million spent on upgrades in the last 3 years and that it is still far below the level required for passenger service.
mosquitos 1/27/2014 6:17:30 PM Report

Sorry I offended you Christmas, I really wish funding could continue. I would put more blame on the provincial Libs and there failure to attract mineral and mining industry up north. Unless there is more industry up there it doesn't help the case for funding. This province is drying up because of the Provincial Libs. Throw these bums out!
christmas 1/27/2014 6:35:57 PM Report

Thanks mosquitos for your follow up. I really respect you revisiting the comment.
Rockin 1/27/2014 6:41:35 PM Report

For the love of...I'm almost done living around here and the people and their "put frowns on face" campaign.

Regardless yes ok it takes money and it was done for years...does it really make a matter to continue in YOUR pocketbook really...will it?

Show me the proof people of the Sault in the coming years please.
At least I have memories of working that run and the lives that built their memories from it!
Tag33&1/3rd 1/27/2014 7:32:42 PM Report

Didn't know we had a passenger train departing from the Sault to anywhere? (besides the $$$ expensive tours)
judoka 1/27/2014 8:19:54 PM Report

I think its quite clear. Harper has got to go. The man has no morals at all. Hes put Canada back so far in progress, that its going to take years to get things back, IF we get them back. A monkey flipping cards marked, yes, no , maybe would have made more progress than harper running the country. Pretty pathetic eh? And hes running the country? If he gets in again ( which is the farthest thing from my mind ), heaven help us all. Especially the seniors, low income, and middle class families. Think we had it bad before? Wow. Hes a jackass from the get go. In my humble opinion anyway.
harry dick 1/27/2014 8:32:31 PM Report

to mosquitos: I do not like the provincial Liberals either . they wasted over 2 billion dollars of tax money and are asking for more taxes to help Toronto build subways. These are true statements but the reason The Cliffs pulled out of the chromium mine business up north is because they want THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT to pay to put in roads and rail lines to the mining area. Everybody says that there are Billions of dollars to be made in that area for many years , but The Cliffs do not want to spend their money to get to the area to mine it.
I agree with the Government[TAXPAYERS] THAT The Cliffs SHOULD BE PUTTING OUT THE CASH TO REACH This area. They are the ones that will be putting most of the cash from this area into their pockets.
If The Cliffs wants to get out , let the Ontario Government mine the area and put the profits into Northern Ontario.
christmas 1/27/2014 8:35:10 PM Report

It is funny how Mr. Hayes alias puppet went from home grown to city council to Harper's Band of Bandits. Those who knew him as he grew up was all for the Sault and criticized both Provincial and Federal governments. He continued as a staunch alderman (so we thought) to the strings that are pulled by Harper . Stand up Mr. Hayes and represent the Sault like you said in your campaign. Never mind the party demands and be an honest individual like you promised to be. Puppet yes you are and I think if we look closely, possibly we will see no mouth on your face as that was stripped away from you when you entered the House of greed and thieves and liars and into the tentacles of the Band of Bandits. How can you actually look anyone here in the Sault in the eye. Your response please Mr. Hayes
Twistinwrenches 1/27/2014 8:41:24 PM Report

Did not know it was supported by taxpayer dollars. One less money sucking government program.
harry dick 1/27/2014 8:51:47 PM Report

This looks to me like another request for a hand-out from the Government to me. When the great chromium and molybdenum finds start up , they will need the CN rails to ship the ore to wherever it will be smelted. The CN and CP rail lines do not go up that far. It looks to me like the CN wants a 30 to 40 million dollar GIFT from both Federal and Provincial governments to upgrade the rails to haul all the extra cargo that will be shipped on their rails just like the CP Rail company did two years ago. Another $ billion company holding the Governments for ransom. YOU PAY FOR THE RAIL UPGRADES AND WE WILL RUN THE PASSENGER TRAIN SRVICE TO HEARSE. The stupid part about it ,is the Governments will pay it, on our backs.
muf 1/27/2014 8:53:59 PM Report

I don`t feel that I should have to support Toronto transit. I feel the same way about a rail line for a few camp owners also . The money could be better spent on other more important things .
dadal 1/27/2014 9:50:49 PM Report

"dicks" knows the score and I have said this on every CN/Agawa Canyon post here. CN has to pay $$$$ for rail maintenance if a passenger train runs on a section of track. If no passenger service, they save money. CN has been wanting to get rid of both the passenger and Canyon trains. I can GUARANTEE you the Agawa train will be cancelled in the next year. Won't matter how much the city paid out to keep that train going. CN wants to let the Canyon to go back to a natural state and not pay Canyon staff, rail workers and train staff. And CN announced a profit last year if I remember correctly.
funkywalker 1/28/2014 6:45:07 AM Report

Let's separate from the South and become our own province.
Ski-Dude 1/28/2014 7:28:30 AM Report

Quite clear that some do not have the capacity to understand the glaring impact this will have on the local (Northern cities/towns) economies. There was a major blow to this sector in the aftermath of 911 and now this would effectively be the last blow.
KFM 1/28/2014 7:32:11 AM Report

Mr Hayes is proving yet again what a do nothing he has been for this area. He is so far down Harpers list he probable wasn't even aware this was going to happen. This dictatorship has got to go!
TFinn 1/28/2014 7:43:19 AM Report

It's all about making money and to hell with the poor little guys of the north and the people that own properties along the way ...!$#%^&

Bill Gates owns the largest slice of Canadian National Railway Co., according to a document released by the company. With $3.2 billion in shares, the Microsoft Corp. founder controls roughly 10 per cent of the Montreal-based railway, whose market valuation on Thursday was at $32-billion, or $69.88 a share.

It would be a mere drop in the bucket to keep it running least minimal services..!!

justsomeguy 1/28/2014 8:20:19 AM Report

@funnywalker - if the north separated into it's own province the revenue generated through taxation of the northern population would barely cover the snow removal budget for one year. The fact is the north can't survive without the tax revenue from the south - it stings but it's true. ll areas of Ontario, north and south, will continue to be exploited for the government's own gain.

Remember that all of northern Ontario combined only makes up about 5% of the entire Ontario population. Our government is a representation by population model so a small 5% population will not get the representation that you're hoping for, regardless of how effective the regional MP/MPP's are.

Knight44 1/28/2014 8:37:44 AM Report

True, and people too often forget that much of the Sault's recent economic development has been the result of tax dollars disproportionately generated in Southern Ontario, being redistributed to the North for significant public infrastructure projects. This is why I think it's inward looking to say that it's unfair to have to help subsidize transit in the GTA - the Sault has been a net benefactor of public money in recent years with spending on infrastructure projects that, frankly, it neither population base, nor growth to justify in pure economic terms.

On a different note, if the North were to become its own province it would have two distinct advantages:A)It would become a recipient of the constitutionally guaranteed right for equalization payments. This would be a significant sum; B) It would take control over natural resource revenues, which, given what people are saying about the potential of the Ring of Fire, could be very significant.

Fiscally, an independent North would be perfectly sustainable,and could even be a 'have' province when commodity prices are high.
justsomeguy 1/28/2014 8:43:03 AM Report

@knight44 - you make some good points however an economy dependent on mineral mining would be pretty volatile at best - a dangerous economy. Mineral prices began to drop in 2013, many mining jobs were slashed and it looks like this is continuing into 2014. Mining is also a finite industry - it can be prosperous for years or dry up in a flash. Look at all the communities in the north that have born & died with mines.

I think declaring a northern province to be prosperous and entirely self-sufficient is a nice thought but isn't really that accurate.
Knight44 1/28/2014 8:55:54 AM Report

Sure, it would be a 'boom/bust' economy, not unlike many other commodity-reliant provinces.

But in down times it would receive billions in equalization from the federal government.This is how provinces like New Brunswick are able to maintain adequate service levels despite rather depleted economic complexions. The biggest challenge for the North would be the costs of higher than average unemployment and other kinds of social dysfunction typical to the North.

There are a whole bunch of political reasons I think it will never happen (the primary one being that Southern Ontario would be loathe to let to North leave given its resource revenue potential). But it most certainly could be at the very least 'sustainable' fiscally, and in boom times, potentially prosperous from a revenue standpoint.
Truck 1/28/2014 10:05:09 AM Report

It sure is a good thing our MP Mr. Hayes "is always putting the needs of Northerners first". People rely exclusively on that line to get to their remote camps. To move supplies, and groceries in to these remote areas. Its a terrible thing for all those on that line! See what BS our esteemed MP comes up with for this one.
learningaswego 1/28/2014 11:10:11 AM Report

Of course whenever there is an announcement of cancelling a train service, there is immediate "outrage" , weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is what leftists do first - always, without ever even considering the reasons or facts or details.

How about CN or the feds put out there, for all to see:
1) the actual per passenger ride cost of the annual subsidy CN was getting from the taxpayers of Canada for this.
2) the actual number of passenger rides this service has, on an annual basis, for the past 10 years.
This data should be readily available, and then Canadian taxpayers who fund it, can either weep and moan and be "outraged"; or say "two thumbs up" for finally ending what could be a ridiculously expensive subsidy for a few people.
justsomeguy 1/28/2014 11:15:08 AM Report

@learningaswego: excellent point.

News releases are often used as either marketing or propaganda. Without any actual data none of us are informed.
Dictionary 1/28/2014 12:24:54 PM Report

how is this just a lefty issue? do only lefties have business that rely on the train? do only lefties own camps?

you sound stupid!
S.M.A.R.T. 1/28/2014 12:26:39 PM Report

Think about it. I won't go into detail regarding small town access to train, bus, plane, and quality highway modes of transport in the north, partly because I'm afraid to understate the true extent of the DETEORATION that has taken place. Now consider this. A special tax on ALL OF US for Toronto/Hamilton transit AMELIORATION?! Are we nuts standing for this? It's time for us to take a stand. How does NEW ONTARIO as a province sound? Is Ed Deibel out there? I hope so because we need him. Just googled Ed, and yes, it would seem he's still available. Congrats on the lottery win Ed!
Melissa1 1/28/2014 1:21:27 PM Report

...there are also the jobs at stake of the camp/lodge owners and railway employees, amongst others...also, it will be interesting to see how the government compensates those that own property only accessed by the railway...i would rather have my tax dollars spent on a passenger service than a higher unemployment rate or compensation for property that cannot even be accessed.
stuey 1/28/2014 9:15:23 PM Report

I bet Sootoday uses a rubber stamp that says "Feds Cut Funding" whenever they write these articles so all that's needed is fill in the name of the particular thing or program (usually)
being cut.
Mike Harris must be absolutely orgasmic seeing these cuts going on.
If Harpo were to stop giving millions to other countries to get them to like him and his singing,he wouldn't need to cut so much program spending. You've got to know he's going to act like the hero when he starts bribe spending just before the next election.
Cannabiss 1/28/2014 9:52:19 PM Report

yah they ( the governement) soaks in the cash meanwhile leaving those who have homes, camps, cabins, shares, etc along that route , WITHOUT a convenient transportation....Seriously why cut out those who strive to keep up that land. Ridiculous!
baab 1/31/2014 11:47:19 AM Report

Here is a video that was recently posted on YouTube. It brings to light some of the struggle that we face as a result of this change to our rail service. Please watch, comment and share it with whomever you may. We need to get the word out about this!
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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