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Province just purchased three new trainsets for Northlander: Ford

The train would run through North Bay as part of its north-south route
2022 01 05 Northlander Winter (Supplied ONR)
File photo

Premier Doug Ford said that progress is being made in restoring the Northlander passenger rail service.

He made the remarks on Aug. 21 at the 2023 Association of Ontario Municipalities annual general meeting and conference in London.

Among a list of recent accomplishments, Ford told delegates, "We’ve purchased three new trainsets as part of our plan to bring back the Northlander connecting Timmins and Cochrane with Toronto."

The train would run through North Bay as part of its north-south route.

The news comes on the heels of a recent announcement from Associate Transportation Minister Stan Cho that, earlier this year, the new trains were put through their paces to ensure they would perform well even in Ontario’s northernmost territories, where weather conditions are more demanding.

The trains passed the test periods, and the project is now at another stage.

“These trains are being manufactured as we speak by Siemens,”  Cho said in an interview. “The  train is fully tested in the harshest of winter conditions, as the north is subject to those conditions in winter.”

Cho said the trains would have wider caps, wider seats, fully accessible washrooms, power outlets, Wi-Fi and other amenities. 

At AMO Ford also said that Ontario is growing at an unprecedented pace, although the numbers are not reflective of Northern Ontario, which has seen population numbers decline or stagnate.

"Last year alone, our population grew by more than 500,000 people," said Ford. "At this rate, Ontario will add five million more people in the next 10 years. That’s like adding two new cities nearly the size of Toronto in a decade."

He claims Ontario is now the fastest-growing jurisdiction in all of North America…bar none.

"We’re growing faster than both Texas and Florida, the two fastest-growing states south of the border. Hundreds of thousands of families are coming to Ontario from other parts of Canada and from all over the world for a better life."

Statistics show, in 2021, North Bay's population increased 2.2 per cent to 52,662 up from 51,553 in 2016. North Bay's population had dropped 3.9 per cent in 2016 from 53,651 in 2011.

North Bay is 42nd in population in the province.

Ford also announced he will extend strong mayor powers to another 21 municipalities that commit to provincial housing targets.

The municipalities must be projected to have populations of over 50,000 people by 2031, so that would include North Bay.

— BayToday