Passenger rail in the North
Learn about the return of passenger rail service in Northeastern Ontario.
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We are improving transportation in Northern Ontario by reinstating passenger rail service in the northeast. Northern Ontario has unique transportation needs, and people and businesses rely on a safe, convenient transportation network.
Since the Northlander rail service ceased operation in 2012, municipalities and Indigenous communities across Northern Ontario have awaited the return of train service along the Northeastern corridor.
We are doing further planning for a preferred route that will provide service from Toronto to Timmins with a rail connection to Cochrane, as outlined in the Updated Initial Business Case.
Service for the proposed route would:
- be offered based on seasonal travel demands
- range from four to seven days a week
- provide more safe and reliable transportation options between Northern Ontario and Toronto
- provide better access to essential services like health care and education while supporting economic prosperity and tourism
How the route was selected
A business case is a collection of evidence and analysis. Business cases are used to look at different options and considerations to help make decisions on transportation planning.
The Initial Business Case found that passenger rail service has the potential to provide a safe, reliable and convenient travel option that could improve access to healthcare, education and other important services. The Updated Initial Business Case has further refined the analysis and helped identify a preferred route and end point (terminus station).
The new rail cars will be built by Siemens Mobility Limited and will be among the most environmentally friendly diesel locomotives on the market. The accessible fleet will include built-in wheelchair lifts, mobility aid storage spaces, galley style food services and accessible washrooms.
- December 15, 2022: The province announced the purchase of three new trainsets as part of the plan to restart the northeastern passenger rail service.
- April 10, 2022: The province committed a $75 million investment to bring passenger rail service back and released the Updated Initial Business Case to advance planning of the preferred route.
- November 2021: Timmins announced as the terminus station.
- May 2021: Released the Initial Business Case and a proposed service option.
- March 2021: The province committed $5 million for planning and design work as part of the 2021 Ontario Budget.
- December 2020: Released the draft transportation plan for Northern Ontario. One of the key actions includes continuing to move forward on a plan for passenger rail services.