Feds & CN to Discontinue The ACR Passenger Train Service

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  Dear Member:
We wanted to send out this note to update you on another blow to the tourism industry in Northern Ontario.  On Friday of last week, NOTO learned that the Federal Government has cancelled a subsidy to Canadian National Railway that operates the Algoma Central Railway passenger train.
This train route runs from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst and supports a number of tourism businesses by providing their main if not ONLY mode of transportation into their properties. Of significant importance is the fact that although CN knew of this cut in November of last year, they have only just informed the stakeholders along the rail line. They are not interested in continuing this service without the support of the subsidy and therefore the passenger train will be discontinued as of March 31, 2014.
As you all know this is the time of year when businesses like yourselves marketing your offerings and purchase supplies for the coming season. The affected operations are now in a holding pattern until something can be resolved.
NOTO has been working with a number of the operators along the rail line to help them communicate their concerns to the Federal, Provincial and municipal levels of government. We have also written letters in support of their endeavor to keep this passenger service alive. In addition, we are working with other tourism organizations on this initiative.
I know that this issue may not affect many of you directly but for the broader tourism industry in Ontario it does. With one stroke of a pen, one of Ontario’s unique tourism products is facing elimination.
As on other issues whether they are broad or more regional in focus NOTO is here to support the tourism industry in Northern Ontario. We are here to advise, encourage and support our members on issues of concern.
If any of you wish to add your voices to this fight and support your fellow tourism operators in the Algoma region, we encourage you to write a letter or email to Bryan Hayes, MP Sault Ste. Marie (bryan.hayes@parl.gc.ca) and Carol Hughes MP Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing (carol.hughes@parl.gc.ca), please be sure to forward a copy to the NOTO office.
For those of you, who are directly affected by this issue, please know that NOTO is working hard to prevent this invaluable rail service from disappearing.
We will keep you posted of any new developments.
Thank you for your continued support,Laurie MarcilExecutive Director laurie@noto.net

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