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Future Northlander passengers give input at public information session

Ontario Northland pulled into Timmins on Friday to get feedback from future passengers.

Officials wanted to hear what expectations people have for the new rail service that will operate from Union Station to Timmins -- and points in between.

"We want to ask them why is it you will use the train" said Chad Evans, chief executive officer of Ontario Northland.

"We want to hear about their trips so that we can make sure we’re making decisions as we go along the implementation path that result in a service that meets their expectations."

A Timmins city councillor is excited there will be another mode of transportation for the area.

“This is what we’ve been missing and it’s good for the whole north," said John Curley.

"It’s not strictly (for the) City of Timmins; all the outlying areas, the train will be going by their door, they can get on."

“I do think that they should include a few more stops and I’ve pointed out to the officials here that they’ve overlooked Porquois Junction, which is a feeding location for the Town of Iroquois Falls," said Jim Brown, a resident of Iroquois Falls.

Ontario Northland officials said 2021 survey results indicated people want to get to Toronto as early as possible and that's why the Northlander will be an overnight service. It'll arrive in Toronto mid-morning to give people the day to do their business and then return north that night.

The Ontario Northlander project is at the point it needs public feedback and is hosting information sessions throughout the region. (Lydia Chubak/CTV News)"These train sets that we’ve ordered, they have (reclining) seats, they’re spacious; adjustable LED lighting that will be thoughtfully used as people travel on the overnight portion of the journey," said Evans.

“Rail is comfortable, it’s all weather, it’s safe and it’s affordable," said Al Spacek, chair of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

"I can’t speak enough of how happy we are that this investment is coming to us and we’ll have it up and running so northerners can enjoy the same level of service that other people around the province do."

People are also invited to vote on the design of the new Northlander. One is more colourful than the other and it took the lead at the information session in Timmins.

Ontario Northland also wants to know what kind of food and beverages people would like to eat at their seats.

More public input sessions are planned, and those will be posted on the company's website

Officials expect the service to be ready in a couple of years. Top Stories

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