Can Someone Pull a Rabbit Out of a Hat & Save the Algoma Central Passenger Train?

July 14, 2015

Unless there is a really good magician, with a really big rabbit in his hat to pull out – yesterday at 3:30 p.m. the last ACR Passenger Train arrived in Hawk Junction, leaving with three passengers to go up to Errington’s. The train won’t go to Hearst, it will travel in reverse – all the way to Hawk Junction. Sometime today, once the Agawa Canyon Tour Train is parked on a siding in the Agawa Canyon; the ACR Passenger Train will return to Sault Ste. Marie.

Sad day. I had tears in the back of my eyes as I heard the last sounds as the train went past me. I can’t imagine how long time employees of the train must feel. Last year the ACR celebrated 100 years… now a miracle is needed.

Passenger rail is a undervalued, underused commodity in Canada. A service that runs in many other countries, on time and supported by its governments and customers – is a travesty in Canada. VIA is notorious for their schedule changes, creating a service that is difficult for passengers to tolerate. Two years ago, I waited in Hornepayne for the train to take my brother and his family back to Vancouver, for four hours. It was interesting keeping his three children entertained for four hours in a heavily laden suburban at 30 below. There isn’t much to do in Hornepayne, but we did all we could do.

But back to the ACR. CN officials have made it clear that they do not want to run the passenger train, only freight. That was made abundantly clear. The passenger train from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst and back again is a great trip. One travels from the Lake Superior Highlands through to the Agawa Canyon. North to Hawk, and watch the terrain gradually flatten to Hearst.

Passengers travel despite any wintry weather conditions, any road closures, without peering out the side windows to give the driver an idea of how close the snowbanks and guardrails are. Despite the benefits – few take advantage. Scheduling is difficult, and the train rarely runs on time. There are little passenger comforts, fabulous reclining seats (bring your blanket and nap), but no food. There is a microwave, small fridge and bathroom facilities – and a great view.


Read the full story from Brenda Grundt at by clicking here.

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