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 gaspeamtrak
Notsure if this the right place?
Can anybody tell me what the food service is like on the "Northlander" and "Polar Bear Express is like at this time of the year?
What are the prices and what types of food do they serve/brands?
  by labaienordique
I'm not sure what the Polar Bear Express has, but the Northlander's dining car offers more snack-like food than meals. Prepackaged sandwiches, canned soup, muffins, cookies, fruit & beverages (pop, juice, etc). I believe the Northlander also sells alcohol exclusively for consumption in the dining car. Prices are slightly expensive (comparable to Via Rail's) and I don't believe interact is offered on the train, so I would recommend bringing some physical cash.
  by Pensyfan19
On March 10th, 2021, Ontario Northland operated a test passenger train from Cochrane to North Bay for the first time since 2012. This could hint at a possible return to passenger service along the route, most likely the Northlander, and hopefully service all the way to Toronto.

  by dowlingm
I don’t know if Northlander is coming down the tracks for real, but the next Ontario election sure is (no later than June 2, 2022), it wouldn’t be surprising to see this be one of many goodies ladled out in the next 9-12 months, not least given it as a very public promise before the last one. I still think it’s a mistake to reinstate it in full as an end to end ONR service, but political realities in North Bay may preclude other outcomes.
From the archives......the Northlander at North Bay in 1983
  by Pensyfan19
Update from Railway Age. Sounds pretty good so far.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/co ... annel=news
The province of Ontario, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (Ontario Northland) and Metrolinx are advancing plans to reinstate Northlander passenger rail service, with the release of an Initial Business Case.

Northlander service—which ran between Cochrane, North Bay and Toronto, in conjunction with bus service—was discontinued in 2012. Ontario Northland currently operates four buses daily between Toronto and North Bay, and one or two buses daily from North Bay to Timmins and Cochrane.

As part of the 2021 Ontario budget, the government committed C$5 million to support planning and design work for a new 13-stop route. That route, option 6 in the Initial Business Case (download below), would serve Toronto (Union Station), Langstaff, Gormley, Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, North Bay, Temagami, Temiskaming Shores, Englehart, Matheson, and Timmins or Cochrane. Buses would connect communities between rail stops.
  by briann
As reported by the BayToday newspaper (https://www.baytoday.ca/local-news/nort ... to-4784374), on Monday 22nd November ONTC operated a trial run of the Northlander between North Bay and Toronto. ONTC spokesperson says "We are validating transit times and evaluating track conditions as part of our ongoing work on the Northeastern (Ontario) Passenger Rail Service business case." The article also seems to confirm that the northern terminus of the route will be Timmins, not Cochrane.
  by CraigDK
The Province of Ontario announced today that they are buying 3 new trainsets as part of it's plan to restore rail service between Toronto and Timmins.

Ontario Taking Next Steps to Bring Back Northeastern Passenger Rail

Province buying 3 trains for return of Northlander service




The updated initial business case that was released early this year can be found here.
  by briann
Some interesting snippets from the press announcement about this:

This is an add-on to an existing order from another operator (Via? Amtrak? someone else?).

New stops confirmed for Langstaff and Gormley. Interesting possible tie-in with GO Transit and/or possible diversionary route, following the route of Via #1 out of Toronto.

Unclear what the proposed rail connection between Timmins and Cochrane really means, since an express bus from Matheson is also mentioned

Any other thoughts?
  by RandallW
There is no station at Timmins (it needs to be built).

Undecided in the business case is terminate the train in Timmins and build a station and train service facility there, or run the train to Cochrane after an extended stop in Timmins and expand the existing train service facility in Cochrane.

Assuming they decide to provide the Timmins-Cochrane service (and not build a new train service facility), it seems that the optimal scheduling for Timmins-Toronto has trains leaving/arriving in Timmins at midnight, but the optimal Timmins-Cochrane schedule is late evening/early morning, so the equipment would lay over in Timmins for long enough for one set of equipment to provide two different services between Toronto and Cochrane.
  by NH2060
Some more details on the proposed scheduling. Might as well dub it the “Nightlander”.
The northbound service will depart Union Station at 6 p.m. and get into Timmins at 5 a.m.

The southbound service will leave Timmins around midnight, and arrive in Union Station just before 11 a.m.
https://torontosun.com/news/provincial/ ... vice-a-day
  by R36 Combine Coach
I'm assuming coaches only, no sleepers?
  by NH2060
R36 Combine Coach wrote:I'm assuming coaches only, no sleepers?
Correct. Though perhaps the seating will be specifically designed and spaced to allow for optimal “reclined sleeper seating” as is the case with the Amfleet II coaches (and those are roomy with an “R”).
  by ExCon90
Based on the timings shown it might be a good train for day trips from North Bay and points south to Toronto and back the same day, although that would be strictly VIA territory. Might that be a reason for the schedule, while also fitting in with maintenance needs at Timmins or Cochrane?