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Timmins residents have their say on the return of the Northlander train

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Work on bringing the Northlander back into operation continues at Ontario Northland. Public information sessions are ongoing to update people on its progress and collect feedback.

ONR representatives were at Northern College in Timmins on Wednesday. Early phases of construction are underway at the stops that will form the new Northlander train line – and officials at Ontario Northland said they want to keep people updated on their progress.

“There's a few work streams in motion,” said Kate Bondette of Ontario Northland.

“We are completing infrastructure work all along the corridor and we're also doing our environmental studies for the future station. We've done architectural studies, noise and vibration studies, ground and soil water. So all of those things that need to be considered before we start to build are happening now and have been happening since last year.”

Bondette said the information sessions are bringing in valuable information about what people expect from the service’s return and what they’ll be using it for: work, travel, school, medical appointments, even exploring the corridor.

“What's been really exciting is people are starting to envision the service for themselves,” she said.

“They're asking what time the train is coming in, what time it'll be getting in to Toronto, when it's coming back. They're asking about the connections to municipal transit. What will people do when they get here? So, it's been really insightful.”

Public feedback has included accounting for parcel service, security and potential impacts on properties and off-road trails.

And ensuring the train line will stay for good and run smoothly. After more than two decades without passenger rail, people are eager for its return.

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“My wife and I will be on the first train, guaranteed, no matter what,” one person said.

“I'll be supporting it right to the end.”

Northland officials said train sets will begin manufacturing in the coming weeks, expecting a 2026 arrival. Once testing along the corridor commences, active service won’t be far behind. 

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