Northlander Passenger Rail Updates

Ontario Northland is proud to be working toward the reinstatement of passenger rail in Northeastern Ontario! 

The passenger train service, also known as the Northlander, will fundamentally shift how people move across the province, creating a more connected, integrated transportation network.

This page will keep you up to date on the progress we are making on reinstating this vital transportation service. Please join us in celebrating each milestone as we mark the important steps we are taking to bring back passenger rail service to northeastern Ontario.

Map

Northeastern passenger rail service will provide service from Toronto to Timmins with a rail connection to Cochrane.  

 

The route identifies 16 stops including Toronto (Union Station), Langstaff, Gormley, Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, South River, North Bay, Temagami, Temiskaming Shores, Englehart, Kirkland Lake (Swastika), Matheson, Timmins, and Cochrane. 

 


Northlander Market Sounding Research

As we prepare to initiate procurements for work along the corridor, Ontario Northland is seeking input to gauge interest and feedback which will guide the development of procurement.
March 15, 2023

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Welcome Associate Minister of Transportation

A firsthand glimpse of the work happening behind the scenes to prepare for the return of the Northlander service.
March 15, 2023

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New Equipment Announcement

Ontario Northland was pleased to welcome Associate Minister of Transportation Stan Cho to our station in North Bay
Dec 15, 2022

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FAQ

What is the Northlander / Northeastern Passenger Rail?

Northeastern passenger rail service, also known as the Northlander, will provide service from Toronto to Timmins with a rail connection to Cochrane. Passengers can board the Polar Bear Express passenger train in Cochrane to travel further to Moosonee and the James Bay Coast.

This service was previously provided by Ontario Northland until it was discontinued in 2012. Ontario Northland is planning for a re-launch of service in the mid-2020s.

When will the Northlander service start?

The province is moving forward to implement next steps. Implementation activities include detailed design and engineering, environmental assessment, Indigenous and municipal consultation and procurement and construction related to station and track improvement. In December 2022 Ontario Northland announced that Siemens will be manufacturing the trainsets. We expect delivery of the equipment in time for a mid-2020s launch

What is Ontario Northland doing now, to prepare for the launch of service?

Thoughtful design, careful decision-making and customer experience is guiding this phase of the project. Multiple workstreams, including engineering, design, and more are in motion. This deliberate planning and preparation is creating the foundation for the launch of this transformative transportation service. Community consultations were held in 2021, and we are looking forward to re-engaging municipalities and Indigenous communities and organizations to further decision-making and planning.

How many stops will the future service include?

The route identifies 16 stops including Toronto (Union Station), Langstaff, Gormley, Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, South River, North Bay, Temagami, Temiskaming Shores, Englehart, Kirkland Lake (Swastika), Matheson, Timmins, and Cochrane.

How much will it cost to ride the Northlander?

Ticket prices have not been confirmed at this time. We recognize the need to keep this service affordable for passengers. The cost of fares will be examined as part ongoing preparation for service.

Is the Northlander ending service in Timmins?

The Business Case selected by the province for return of the Northlander identifies Timmins as a terminus for service, with a rail connection for passengers traveling to Cochrane and connecting to the Polar Bear Express.

What are the potential ridership forecasts?

As outlined in the Updated Initial Business case, by 2041, annual ridership is estimated to be between approximately 40,000 and 60,000.

Where can I find more information about this project?

The full Business Case for the return of passenger rail services is available on the Ontario Northland website.

How can I apply for a job at Ontario Northland?

Ontario Northland is hiring! Visit ontarionorthland.ca.careers to learn more about our current vacancies.

Milestones

  • December 15, 2022: Ontario Northland procures three new trainsets.

  • April 10, 2022: The province committed a $75 million investment to bring passenger rail service back and released the Updated Initial Business Case to advance planning of the preferred route.
     
  • November 2021: Timmins announced as the terminus station.
     
  • May 2021: Release of the Initial Business Case and a proposed service option. 
     
  • March 2021: The province committed $5 million for planning and design work as part of the 2021 Ontario Budget. 
     
  • December 2020: Released the draft transportation plan for Northern Ontario. One of the key actions includes continuing to move forward on a plan for passenger rail services. 

Documents

Updated Initial Business Case - PDF

 


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