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POLL: Saultites think passenger rail 'very important' for the community, poll suggests

No word on whether passenger rail will return to service local area
Algoma Central Railway file photo. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

With the recent announcement of a resumption of passenger rail service via Ontario Northland between Toronto–North Bay–Timmins/Cochrane, many Saultites are left wondering if, and when, such transportation services will be available out of the Sault anytime soon.

Especially in light of the last month's cancellation of all Greyhound routes in Ontario and Quebec, further limiting transit infrastructure in Northern Ontario.

Missanabie Cree First Nation has long been interested in getting the Mask-wa Oo-ta-ban passenger train service (Bear Train) up and running between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, has received funding for a market survey and marketing plan for the project. The First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding back in April with Machine Shop owner, Tony Porco, and N1 Strategy Inc., with the goal of maximizing the possibilities of passenger trail development.

While Genesee & Wyoming Canada has suspended plans to terminate operations of the Huron Central Railway, ensuring major area industries such as Algoma Steel, Domtar's pulp and paper plant in Espanola and EACOM's sawmill operation in Nairn Centre will continue to be serviced, there has been no word on passenger train development north of Sudbury.

This got us wondering how many Saultites would like to see passenger trains return to the area.

So, we asked readers, how important do you think passenger rail is to Sault Ste. Marie?

According to our results, passenger rail development is top of mind to Saultites, with 63 per cent of respondents voting it very important.

Only 10 per cent of respondents voted not at all.

The breakdown was as follows:

  • 1,082 (63 per cent) voted very
  • 450 (26 per cent) voted somewhat
  • 177 (10 per cent) voted not at all

A total of 1,709 confirmed local votes were cast in the poll. This poll had a 1.65 per cent margin of error, 19 times out of 20.

SooToday's polling system allows for the capture of relevant local data and gives us the ability to detect and prevent fraudulent votes, as well as detect and prevent robots and filter out non-local duplicate votes.