Timmins tapped for terminal station in planned passenger rail revival
As northeastern Ontario nears a decade without a passenger train connecting them to the southern part of the province, officials announced that Timmins will be the final stop for the planned 13-station rail system.
The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission's (ONTC) new board chair, Alan Spacek, said this bodes well for plans to revive passenger rail in the region.
"All of us will have access to rail service," Spacek said.
"We haven't finalized a complete organizational structure or transportation network yet, but I can assure you that everyone will have good access to that passenger rail service."
The province cited Timmins' status as a regional hub as its decision to eventually build a terminal station there. Cochrane was also under consideration as the terminus.
The region's passenger rail system was decommissioned in 2012 after decades of servicing northerners.
Timmins Mayor George Pirie said people have been in need of more convenient access to southern Ontario—and vice versa—and so he sees this as an encouraging step towards making that a reality.
"There were 300,000 people that travelled on passenger rail through the north on the ONTC," Pirie said, highlighting the ability to better connect people to services and tourist attractions.
"We're very happy that Timmins has been the designated choice as the northern terminal."
Spacek said the planning process is a tedious one, when factoring in safety regulations, securing rail cars, and coordinating with the rail system's other stakeholders, like CN Rail.
That's why he said there is no projection at the moment on when people could expect to see the system in operation.