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'It was CN's choice' to cancel passenger trains, says Hayes

Wednesday, January 29, 2014   by: SooToday.com Staff

NEWS RELEASE

BRYAN HAYES, MP

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OTTAWA - On behalf of his constituents, Bryan Hayes, MP for Sault Ste. Marie and area is asking Canada National Rail (CN Rail), a private company with rail freight revenues of $8.9B in 2012, to reverse or delay their decision to cancel the Algoma Central Railway (ACR) passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst.

The intention of this request is to give all stakeholders adequate time to understand the implications of this decision and to seek alternatives or to prepare for the loss of this service.

Since 1977, the Government of Canada has provided CN with financial support through its Regional and Remote Passenger Rail Services Class Contribution Program (RRPRSCCP) to help CN cover some of the costs of operating this passenger rail service.

As a result of measures introduced in Budget 2013, the RRPRSCCP was renewed as the Remote Passenger Rail Program with a focus on remote rail services that provide access to established, year-round communities with little or no other transportation options.

“The decision to discontinue federal funding for this service was based on the fact that it is not cost-effective for the Government of Canada to fund passenger railway services to communities that have year-round access to the national transportation system through other means, such as highways, as all official stops along the ACR route have year round road access,” said MP Hayes.

“It was CN`s choice to determine their response to this funding cut, and unfortunately they have chosen to cancel the ACR - a drastic measure that is being met with strong opposition by stakeholders.``

MP Hayes has participated in discussions with Debbie Amaroso, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, and Tom Dodds, CEO of the Economic Development Corporation, to ask for their assistance in pulling together data that would quantify the economic impact of a loss of this service.

"I have raised my initial concerns with department officials now that I know CN`s intent, I will continue to support a request for continued Federal Funding beyond March 2014.”

The Government of Canada has no direct role in operating the Algoma Passenger Rail Service. CN is a private company that makes its own decisions concerning its operations and which services and routes are offered to its customers.

The decision to terminate the Algoma Central passenger rail service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst is a business decision which was made by CN Rail, the owner of the Algoma Central Railway.

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More SooToday.com coverage of this story
 
CN and Feds knew about rail funding cuts since November
Feds cut funding. Rails service from Sault to Hearst cancelled

 

Comments
35
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
steelworker 1/29/2014 9:58:47 AM Report

I think it's time to cut subsidies to rail companies that are making huge profits on the backs of the taxpayers.
Dictionary 1/29/2014 10:05:40 AM Report

the subsidy is paid to them to maintain an important service in the north... a service that a multinational has no incentive to provide, but is important none the less.

the government however realized that a 2mill subsidy would create far greater spinoff benefits for the north.
Hounds Fan 1/29/2014 10:06:53 AM Report

let the blame game begin...
clicksmart 1/29/2014 10:07:26 AM Report

What a spin!!! Laughable. My understanding is that the Government served notice to discontinue paying a subsidy to continue operating the route. Mr Hayes tells it like CN should continue to run the route at their expense. A kind donation perhaps. If Mr. Hayes Government was truly interested in seeing continuing train service then they would continue to pay for it.
Truck 1/29/2014 10:11:15 AM Report

Most of the stops between here and Hearst are not accesible by the national transportation system....the outfitters, lodges and land owners will be left with no way to access their land.
Hounds Fan 1/29/2014 10:11:54 AM Report

What's 2 mil really? The cost of lunch our MPs charge taxpayers in X period of time?
ya....right 1/29/2014 10:12:27 AM Report

The fact remains that they just flushed 66 million down the toilet to Israel. Yet our own people starve in the streets, Hey Mr. Hayes, when are we going to help our own citizens??? Or with that not get you too much attention and positive press
learningaswego 1/29/2014 10:17:45 AM Report

If all the official stops on the line have ROAD ACCESS, as Hayes says, then why the he11 should taxpayers be subsidizing a hugely profitable rail service - just for the CONVENIENCE of a handful of people who own vacation properties???
Ski-Dude 1/29/2014 10:20:41 AM Report

“The decision to discontinue federal funding for this service was based on the fact that it is not cost-effective for the Government of Canada to fund passenger railway services to communities that have year-round access to the national transportation system through other means, such as highways, as all official stops along the ACR route have year round road access,” said MP Hayes.

What a f'n joke! Where does this clown get his information from? Is he not privy to what others are spending and on what? I really can't believe this is actually happening....in my Country!!!!
rione 1/29/2014 10:26:16 AM Report

Two months he's known about the issue and this is the press release Hayes comes up with...two days after the story broke...wow!
learningaswego 1/29/2014 10:29:57 AM Report

Ha ha ha ha ha ...

feds cut barely used, and ridiculously expensive rail subsidy, and already people are "starving in the streets"...

How typical of the lefty response to anything, except MORE "government" (which is the taxpayers of course - a detail ALWAYS lost on the lefties) spending.
habsfan 1/29/2014 10:31:42 AM Report

Dont allow trains to pass through communities unless they are willing to keep passenger service. simple
ssmluc85 1/29/2014 10:37:25 AM Report

If the federal governement would be giving CN money instead of giving it away to other countries, we would still have the rail service. i dont mind paying taxes to help with things here in Canada. i dont like paying taxes to have it handed to another country that will not help us with anything.
Truck 1/29/2014 10:38:10 AM Report

Learning...

This goes beyond left vs. right. There are hundreds of people affected by this decision. Property and Business owners that will be unable to reach their property. People RELY on this service! I'm not sure what a "righty" supports these days...but one thing is for sure...I'd rather see my tax money spent on services for Canadians such as this...as opposed to a $66 Million dollar hand out to Israelis so they can build settlements! To call you narrow minded would be an understatement!
Dead End Kid 1/29/2014 11:25:27 AM Report

learnigaswego,two million dollars a year is really not a lot of money even if it does cater to only a handful of people who consider this to be an essential service but we all know it will affect others down the line.

Would you not agree that the taxpayer's money has been wasted by our government? For example, when Canada hosted the two day G20 summit in 2010 when the president of France looked around and had the balls to say out loud I don't see a billion dollars here. Yes that is how much Harper spent for two days just to impress his big shot peers.

The North is crapped on because the cowards running the government realize that they don't have to deal with us face to face. To them we are nothing but an easy target who they throw a bone to every once in a while.
eclectic 1/29/2014 11:40:27 AM Report

I think that, in order to post an opinion, you should have ridden the train at least once in your lifetime. Part of the problem is that the passenger service gets minimal use and is not profitable without government subsidies. If all of these people with their various (mostly uninformed) opinions had ridden the train occasionally, maybe this wouldn't be happening. And, out of curiousity, how many individuals used the passenger service last year out of necessity? How much did we subsidize each rider? Not per trip, but per user? Okay, so you have a camp. Did the taxpayers subsidize you to the tune of 5 or 10 thousand dollars last year just so you could get to your private camp? Might be helpful to have all the numbers...
Algomasteammaker 1/29/2014 11:44:30 AM Report

Sault To Hearst through Hornepayne via Hwy 17, Hwy 631 and Hwy 11, in 5.5 hours...not that big of a deal!
old-cat33 1/29/2014 11:56:41 AM Report

Passenger service is shutting down not the freight service? So throw a passenger car on the front after the loco motive and the problem is solved.
Utilize that BUD CAR system that used to run between Sudbury and the Sault? Or take out the tracks and make a secondary road on the old bedding.
Ski-Dude 1/29/2014 11:58:47 AM Report

Here's a few numbers: ~35M people in Canada...roughly 50% are taxed....2.2M/yr for subsidy....each person pays 0.13$/year....

This all equals to 1.41 sips from a medium Timmy's coffee (assuming an average of 23 mls/sip)
Malarkey 1/29/2014 12:12:15 PM Report

It is disingenuous of Brian Hayes to intimate that he was surprised by CN's action to cut passenger rail service to Hearst. CN has made it clear by their actions over the years that they do not want to operate a passenger service and dump it at every opportunity.

Given what the Conservative government has thrown their money at during their term in office (remember the artificial lake for the G8-or G20 summit????), $2.2 million is a drop in the bucket to maintain a vital link for Algoma. The cost to those who rely on it for their livelihoods is going to total a lot more than $2.2 million.
tcowen 1/29/2014 12:49:59 PM Report

With revenues of $8.9B CN nor any other privately owned corporation should be collecting subsidies..

Cutting passenger service is a threat from CN 'Give us the money or we'll cause economic disruptions'.

One could construe CN's announcement as an act of 'economic terrorism'.. if not at best an executive temper tantrum.

CN has proven record profits.. how is this the Federal Government's fault.?


travelingman 1/29/2014 1:24:12 PM Report

How do you follow the logic? This is the same government that just announced the expenditure of well over a $Billion dollars to build a road in BF Nunavut to link two itsy bitsy communities together with a year round road when nobody in either community even has a car! They claim they will create over 40 full time positions to maintain this road year round so that people in these remote communities can save up to a million dollars a year in travel costs! How do you spend billions and millions in maintenance every year to save ONE MILLION DOLLARS and see any economical value in the decision?? The road makes sense and the train doesn't?? When I hear Mr. Hayes say that every stop on the train route between here and Hearst is accessible year round by road it makes me wonder if Mr. Hayes has ever rode the train to Hearst to even have a clue of which he speaks. Time to shake your head, I think your eyes are stuck!
firefly26 1/29/2014 1:24:52 PM Report

I ride this train on a regular basis. Just going from here to mile 70 it cost $400 for a family of four, this not including all the extras they charge for cargo, this including gas, propane, heavy items, snowmachines etc..
Each 50 miles is a different zone, which means more money for tickets. You would be surprised how many people actually do ride this train.

A guy just down from our camp just had thousands of dollars of lumber shipped up in the fall, to put an addition onto his camp, now what? Whats he suppose to do, with absolutely NO access to his camp? Pay thousands of dollars AGAIN to put all the lumber back on the train and bring it home..

Our camp is extremely remote, with no access to roads. We have had our camp since the 1970s and now what? We have two months to clear out our camps, because who knows when we will ever get back there or how?

It makes us sick to think 66 million was just given to Israel.
theprotector 1/29/2014 1:34:25 PM Report

asm and how do you get to all the stops along the rail? Yeah soryy dude the destination isnt the issue
frank1 1/29/2014 1:40:17 PM Report

There is only one way to continue passenger rail service north of Sault Ste Marie. Get the First Nations on board, block the tracts and you will have instant success.
Dark Star 1/29/2014 2:46:48 PM Report

Hayes doesn't know a rail stand from a taxi stand.This Gov't is systematically SHUTTING down Northern Ontario...Next...O L G..The Mayor.. Hayes.. The CEO of C N had a secret clandestine meeting in Nov. kept that a tight secret till a few days ago ...WOW...so much for transparency..C N CEO has NO guts can't even face the employees to discuss the situation..this has been a very snowy winter...they even cancelled the Snow Train..They would buy the turkey farm and cancel Thanksgiving..Mr, Hayes..you and Harper...keep sending our Money to far away countries...I'm sure they will support our economy..forget us here in Canada...we don't count.what a sad story for Canadians...GROWTH IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO PROMISES MADE PROFIT IS INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL TO PROMISES KEPT.
fullstringer 1/29/2014 3:02:13 PM Report

Travelingman says, "This is the same government that just announced the expenditure of well over a $Billion dollars to build a road in BF Nunavut to link two itsy bitsy communities together with a year round road when nobody in either community even has a car!"

Please educate yourself because you look like a fool? The road you mention is not in Nunavut, it is in the Northwest Territories. And the communities you refer to are Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk. Presntly there is the Dempster Highway that runs direct to Inuvik. FYI, there are lots of vehicles at both locations and this road will save a lot of transportation costs for freight being delivered to Tuk and beyond.

learningaswego 1/29/2014 3:09:23 PM Report

Not to mention that the road is needed for the thousands of people that live there year-round.
learningaswego 1/29/2014 3:10:56 PM Report

Not to mention that the road is needed for the thousands of people that live there year-round.
justsomeguy 1/29/2014 3:53:08 PM Report


Just be cautious with who you vote for. The really liberals aren't any better for the north.

What we need is a hard-working party that actually cares about all of Ontario and the people who live here. Not just office longevity & a paycheque.
icemantbi 1/29/2014 3:59:42 PM Report

Ummm... they are discontinuing passenger service because there is year round access through highways and such? Ok, so tell me how do you get to Eton via Highway 17 North? These guys sat down and said, well there is highway access to Hearst, so whats the point of the train? Whoever made this decision obviously paid no consideration to those with remote camps and lodges along the line. What makes it even worse is that service is ending on April 1st, which give nobody any time to clear out their places that they will no longer have any access to.

Its disgraceful.
pastoutla 1/29/2014 5:36:59 PM Report

Those with remote camps and tourist lodges should shoulder the cost for rail access... The average joe taxpayer has no interest in subsidizing such luxuries..USER PAY ALL THE WAY.
soosurfer 1/30/2014 7:15:09 AM Report

In reference to paragraph 5 and 6 it is clear that the federal government does not have small business in mind. All major rail stops have road access but not all business that have been formed around the rail do.

We don't figure the additional effects this stoppage will have. People always get the passenger train confused with the Tour Train. Even Hayes mentioned "...canceling the ACR..." This misunderstanding of terms will affect the Tour Train and lead to its cancellation because of poor ridership because everyone thinks the "ACR" is canceled. Our city depends on the tourist dollars for the merchants, restaurants, auto shops, gas stations etc. This is new money into our local economy that is gone.

Cancellation of all passenger rail is what CN wants. They are a freight rail company, not a Passenger Rail Company. Once the tour train is gone their profit margins will go up even more.
IB-fine 1/30/2014 9:35:38 AM Report

So what Hayes is saying is that it was basically the Conservatives fault for cutting this subsidy to CN, which resulted in CN cutting winter service on the ACR..... but now he's going to work on getting it back??
Shouldn't he have been on top of this in the first place and tried to stop it being de-funded in the first place???

Tell me what has this guy done for the city and Algoma at all???
Ski-Dude 1/30/2014 4:24:05 PM Report

It goes without saying...camps will be going for sale soon!
Comments
35
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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