THUNDER BAY – It is a stark notice; “Please be advised that the Northlander passenger train will no longer operate after Friday, September 28, 2012”. The Ontario Government has ended funding for the service. Northland advises, “Every community served by the Northlander train is also served by our motor coach service. This service will continue as usual. Ontario Northland motor coaches are equipped with WIFI, air conditioning and provide safe and reliable transportation”.
Valid Northlander tickets are transferable to a motor coach, or passengers can see an Ontario Northland ticket agent for a refund. As always, passengers requiring a wheelchair lift must call and schedule transportation 48 hours before travelling. For schedule, fare and motor coach stop locations – please visit www.ontarionorthland.ca or call 1.800.461.8558.
“Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in an open letter to the Minister writes, “During question period on September 24, your government was asked why it was cancelling the Northlander right before Thanksgiving and preventing students from returning home to their families in the North. Your response to MPPs across the aisle has shocked many. You yelled that students should simply ‘get cars’.
“Minister, people in Northern Ontario rely on public transit like the Northlander, and they have the same right to service as people in the South. The decision to shut down the Northlander is yet another reminder that your government does not understand or care about the North. Once again, the North is being made to suffer for the bad decisions of this government.
“Our caucus sincerely hopes that your comments during question period were not malicious, and that it is in fact your lack of understanding of life in the North that made you say what you did. To help you better understand what it means to live in the North, we would like to invite you to take the last train on the Northlander with John Vanthof so you can see first hand what this train means to Northerners.
“We remain hopeful that you will join John, and Ontarians from across the North, on the final Northlander run on Friday, September 28”.