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 Tadman
I'm thinking of travelling the entire ACR, plus part or all of the ONR and the Via Sudbury RDC train. Anybody take these trains or able to recommend a good way to do this? I appreciate your thoughts.
  by Ken V
I've taken each of these trains at least once but never more than one at a time. Assuming you plan to travel strictly by public transportation, one suggestion for a routing might be:
  • start in Toronto and ride the ONR Northlander to Cochrane
  • connect with the Ontario Northland shuttle bus to Hearst
  • take the ACR "tour of the line" to Sault Ste Marie
  • catch a Greyhound bus to White River
  • travel on the VIA RDC to Sudbury
  • use the Sudbury city bus system to get to Capreol or take a taxi to Sudbury Jct.
  • splurge on VIA's Canadian back to Toronto
While I've looked at possibly doing pieces of the above before, I haven't researched all the connections and there might be too many overnight hotel stays to make this itinerary practical.
  by Tadman
Is it worth visiting Moosonee?
  by labaienordique
I would have to agree with Ken, and not recommend attempting to correspond with other trains in the same day. The problem with attempting any rail to rail connections is the possibility of train delays or even cancellations.

My experience with the Northlander has usually been pleasant, but there are instances when the train can be up to an hour & a half late. If the train is canceled, Ontario Northland will provide alternative bus transportation through it's fleet.

The Canadien tends to be unpredictable. I caught the Canadien in Washago on my way to Toronto from North Bay. The bus arrives at 5:00 in Washago, and the Canadien is scheduled to arrive at 7:05. Well I spent a little more time in Washago than I expected, having the Canadien arrive two hours later (9:00). Yet, I've caught it at Sudbury Jct and it arrived 15 minutes early... I took it to Winnipeg and the train arrived an hour early...

The 185/186 train has been canceled on me once (as I was planning a trip to Thunder Bay with a stop in White River) and had to find alternative transportation.

I haven't heard of many cancelations with the Algoma Central train. But I don't understand why the ACR has two sets of timetables (one for winter, one for summer). I've pondered the idea of taking the train from Hearst to Winnipeg (via Oba) because there is enough of a delay to make the connection.

08:30 - Hearst (ACR)
09:45 - Oba (ACR)
13:51 - Oba (VIA)
08:00 next day - Winnipeg (VIA)

Though I'm not sure I would risk a connection at Oba or Franz simply because you're in the middle of the forest without some sort of shelter should one of the trains be late or canceled.

I've never been on the Polar Bear Express, but that's a trip you could do in a day:

Departs Cochrane at 9:00. Arrives at Moosonee at 14:20.
Departs Moosonee at 17:00. Arrives at Cochrane at 22:20
Ontario Northland's bus to Hearst leaves Cochrane at 23:05.

Hope that helps.
  by MikeCDN
What are the towns of Franz and Oba like now? It's been years since I've been near either one. The last I checked on the net, they were indicated as basically being ghost towns.

  by labaienordique
The village of Franz has been pretty much gutted. There are a few abandoned houses along one of the lakes, but aside from a railroad structure, Franz is a ghost town. Dubreuilville, a franco-ontarian community of about 1000, is only 11 km south of Franz though.

I found this video on Youtube that shows what Franz looked like in 2009. (Start at the 4:45 mark)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iPwbsCB ... re=related

Oba on the other hand has a hand full of residents that reside there. In the summer time while I was on le Canadien, I remember seeing a few people barbecuing outside some of the houses, and even a family that was staying in one of the houses.

There is a video on Youtube that shows what Oba looked like in 2009.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-KLcjky ... re=related