Posts Tagged ‘Algoma Central’

Ontario Service Resumption Eyed

February 17, 2022

A Canadian First Nation group hopes to work with short line operator Watco on restoring rail passenger service to the former Algoma Central in Ontario.

The Missanbie Cree First Nation wants to see the service restored over 296 miles between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst.

Scheduled passenger service on that route ended in 2015 after then owner Canadian National was unable to find a suitable contractor to operate the service.

Another passenger operation on a 114-mile portion of the route, the seasonal Agawa Canyon tourist train, did continue operating on the former Algoma Central, but was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is unclear if Watco will allow that train to continue and tourism officials in Sault Ste. Marie are hoping to meet with Watco officials about the matter next month.

The chief of the Missanabie Cree, Jason Gauthier, also hopes to meet with Watco officials about restoration of passenger service to Hearst.

He noted that when Watco announced in 2021 that it would acquire the former Algoma Central from CN that the Missanbie Cree signed a memorandum of understanding about its desire to restore passenger service to Hearst from Sault Ste. Marie.

Watco acquired the former Algoma Central as part of a transaction that included picking up former Wisconsin Central lines in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Gauthier wants the Canadian government to spend C$2 million on underwriting the Hearst service. He said other groups also are also pushing for the federal funding.

“We are known for doing things in the long haul, so these delays are not surprising to us. I know we will get through it,” he Gauthier told the Sault Star.

Fundraiser Set for Algoma Central Passenger Service

March 31, 2017

A fundraising campaign to help kick start the return of rail passenger service to the Algoma Central Railway will be held on April 6.

Sponsored by the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains, the event will have folk music and a silent auction at the Algoma Water Town Inn & Suites in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Proceeds of the event will be used to support the efforts of the Missanabie Cree First Nation to create a non-profit passenger train between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst that would be named the “Mask-wa Oa-ta-ban” or “Bear Train.”

Service on the route ended in 2015 when funding from the Canadian government dried up. The Algoma Central is today part of Canadian National.