Early yesterday evening, on September 28th, 2012, after 102 years of faithful service to the towns of beautiful northern Ontario, Ontario Northland Railway's "The Northlander" rumbled and wheezed to a stop at Toronto's Union Station, ending a physical link to the past and marking a date in history. I had the honor of being on its final run, as with VIA's "Northland", some 22 years earlier. The train crew's service was outstanding, even in this time when whether they have a job on the ONR is in doubt, a true mark of dedication and class........Northern Ontario class. To see the train being greeted by people in the little towns along the route, where between the very young and old, good-byes were said to a train that played a part in the development of Northern Ontario. Speeches were made, by many folks and various political representatives at each stop. The mayor of Cochrane, Ont, made the trip down with two city councilmen, he speaking eloquently at each stop with others. The ONR red stop sign banner declaring that their railway is not for sale was heavily in evidence, worn and hung at each stop. Retired ONR railwaymen were on board, along with young ONR employees, one who's grandfather was the first engineer on the train north back in the early 1900's, along with others who supported the ONR plus folks who wanted to make the last run. The feeling of history, tinged with sadness, at the end of an era for a physical link to a region's opening and past. Yes, a liner of the land which rolled across long ribbons of silver steel rails, which I consider and others,the most civil mode of mass transportation invented by man, which was and is a step out of the everyday ordinary reality of our lives, came to an end, done in by a political stroke of the pen in the name of balancing a provincal budget. My wish is not to start a polarized political debate, for there are there are honestly good valid points from each point of view, but I feel that there were a 100+ ways that "The Northlander" could have been promoted and saved, ridership attracted, train frequency reduced with the seasons, along with other ideas and suggestions introduced, etc., but as an Amtrak conductor on the Silver Meteor quoted to me years ago on the subject of passenger trains, "All passenger trains are political and all politics are local". The words resoounded in my mind as true and still do. I give Mr. David Gunn, former Amtrak president and other rail passenger agencies head credit, for standing up to a strong political will, at the cost of his job, for telling the American public the truth about rail passenger services: None exist to serve the people in general without government subsidies. A true Cape Bretoner, a man from America's neighbor to the north, who had the courage to speak a truth in the face of huge opposition and pressure. On a personal level, sadly, I bid farewell and thank you to an old Northern Ontario friend, Ontario Northland Railway's, "The Northlander". You will not be forgotten, living on in the hearts, minds, and memories of many........including mine. Roll on, my Northern Ontario friend. Roll on.......I will remember you....You welcomed a young man from away to your region, to your land so many years ago. I like you have grown in years, called old by some now, but in my mind we will be forever young.......Roll on....I will be aboard with you wherever life's journey takes us.