Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

  by labaienordique
 
An old article, but I haven't found anything in the forum about this:

http://www.cottagecountrynow.ca/news/ci ... l-services

Town pushes for increased rail services
GRAVENHURST - Town councillors are joining their Muskoka counterparts in rallying for improved passenger rail service and increased ridership. On Tuesday, Gravenhurst town council officially endorsed the efforts of a group seeking to increase the frequency of trains running through Muskoka. The Committee Promoting Muskoka Rail Travel (CPMRT) is made up of representatives of the Huntsville Train Station Society and the Muskoka Rails Museum in Bracebridge.

In April, they met with Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller and Michael Gravelle, Ontario minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry to encourage the provincial government to work with Ontario Northland to revamp the train schedule to support tourism growth and economic development in Muskoka. The Ontario Northlander passenger train is operated by a provincial Crown corporation. The train currently runs from Union Station in Toronto to Muskoka and destinations farther north on Friday morning, but the group would like to see a train headed to Muskoka in the evening. Amy Taylor, acting economic development officer for the Town of Gravenhurst, said improved passenger rail service makes sense for economic development and the environment, especially since the train stops in town at the Gravenhurst Train Station.

Last year, she said, the Bike Train initiative brought visitors to the area from Toronto by train with their bicycles to experience the north on two wheels. “It’s a new market we can tap into,” Taylor said.
Councillors, too, were supportive of CPMRT’s initiative. Coun. Jeff Watson pointed out the only passenger train to Muskoka from Union Station departs at 8:30 a.m. He said a cottager whose family went north ahead of him because he had to work was forced to bring another vehicle to Muskoka because of the train’s schedule. “It’s something we need to take a hard look at,” said Watson. Ontario Northland should be encouraged to work with the group, he added. Coun. Lola Bratty said better used rail service would pose some implications on the municipality in terms of parking availability and overnight parking.
“We are going to have to make changes to our parking, but only to benefit the town,” she said.

According to a letter from CPMRT, the group would like to discuss the need for a passenger service awareness program in Muskoka, describing when and where the train stops. The group also plans to work with municipalities to survey residents to gather statistical information to substantiate the need for weekend scheduling during the summer months. Eventually talks may be held to discuss reserved seats, online or kiosk ticketing, and accommodation of sports equipment like bikes, golf bags and hockey bags to encourage users to ride the train. “With the support of municipalities along the rail line, perhaps Ontario Northland will be willing to listen to these opportunities we feel offer real potential,” said the letter.