• Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Ken V


  by MikeCDN
Good day,

I was wondering if anybody knows much about the ONR's operations to Rouyn Noranda? Is it Ontario or Quebec crews that run these trains? Where does the train cross the provincial border? How feasable would it be to run some sort of passenger service from Rouyn/Noranda to North Bay with a connection to Toronto?

Perhapy Labienordique could weigh in?

  by labaienordique
I've made the suggestion to the ONR as well as the CAPT (Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains) to setup a correspondence between le nord-est et l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Rouyn-Noranda has a population close to 40 000. And there is some history of a passenger route between North Bay & Rouyn-Noranda. A few historic timetables from 1967 that I found online:

http://onr.stabler.org/images/misc/time ... sched2.jpg

I think if there was a connection between Kirkland Lake (close to 10 000), Rouyn-Noranda (40 000), Val-d'Or (30 000) & Sennterre, it would make for a nice connection to Via Rail's Montréal-Senneterre service as well as to the ONR's Northlander.


Rouyn-Noranda not only is serviced by the ONR for rail services towards Kirkland Lake, but if I'm not mistaken, the community is actually serviced by Ontera (telephony & internet). I'm not sure exactly how it works with the crews or how a provincial crown corporation owns track in another province. But I recall seeing a small office in Rouyn-Noranda the last time I was there. http://www.ontarionorthland.ca/media/ra ... eight2.pdf

The route runs criss-crosses highway 66 (ON) & la 117 (QC). This is about as close to the border as you can find on Google Maps (near Ross Lake & Cheminis, ON).
http://maps.google.ca/?ll=48.149195,-79 ... 3,,0,17.58

At the border (on the highway)
http://maps.google.ca/?ll=48.147505,-79 ... 05,,0,8.02

Freight Schedules: http://www.ontarionorthland.ca/en/railf ... vices.html
North Bay, Ontario to Rouyn, Quebec
Daily except Saturday (subject to traffic volumes)

Hope that helps.
  by labaienordique
There's also a recent video of a train near Swastika. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMVcup7Q82w
Here’s the consist for the jointly operated CN/ONR overnight train, “The Northland” between Kapuskasing and Toronto.......... As it made its way south, it picked up through sleepers from Rouyn-Noranda and Timmins.

The train originally ran between Hearst and Toronto but was later cutback to Kapuskasing with a bus connection provided from Hearst.

Train lasted until the VIA cuts in January 1990.

CN/ONR #88 "The Northland" arriving Toronto, Nov. 10, 1974
1500 ON FP9A
6791 CN FPA4
410 ON Baggage
1190 CN Sleeper (6-6-4) "Green Gables" xBangor & Aroostook "North Twin Lake"
821 ON Coach (xCPR)
4885 CN Grill-Lounge (xGTW)
810 ON Coach
2091 CN Sleeper (10-6) "Skeena River" xNYC "Saugus River"
2100 CN Sleeper (14-4) "Horseshoe Falls" xSt Louis/San Francisco "Gascoanda River"

-Train originated in Kapuskasing with 6791, 410, 1190 & 821.

-At Cochrane 4885 was added.

-810 & 2091 thru from Timmins were added at Porquis Jct.

-Then 1500 & thru sleeper 2100 from Rouyn-Noranda, added at Englehart.
  by Gilbert B Norman
labaienordique wrote:There's also a recent video of a train near Swastika. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMVcup7Q82w
I must acknowledge, Mr. Labienordique, the ONR train videoed certainly looks "healthy". From this linked article you submitted to the ONR passenger train discussion moving forth at the VIA Rail Forum, it appears that the Province of Ontario wants "out' of the railroad business. For ready reference here is a link to that material:

http://www.nugget.ca/2012/09/24/mpp-to- ... t-division

OK, I've now seen a video of a "healthy" train with a consist that appears to be handling products of mines and forests. I've also seen jointed rail that I think the 30mph (50kmh) or thereabouts at which the train was operating was "quite fast enough".

The question I must ask is any private sector rail operator interested in acquiring the ONR (I understand private companies are lining up to bid for the telecommunications line of business) so long as the passenger trains are gone or fully supported with public funding? I presume that the work rule reforms calling for an Engineer and Conductor only crew consist prevalent on the CN and CP have been implemented on the ONR, or does ONR remain some kind of "featherbedders paradise"?

Finally a corollary question; does any other Canadian province remain in the railroad business?

Enquiring mind wants to know.
  by Ken V
I don't have definitive answers to all of the questions but scuttlebutt has it that Canadian National is very interested in getting its hands on the the Ontario Northland Railway property. CN presently connects with the ONR at three locations and often runs its own trains over the ONR to get from one part of its network to another. CPR also connects indirectly with the ONR via the Ottawa Valley Railway and may also be interested in picking it up. In addition, there is speculation that one or more unnamed short line operators could also be putting in a bid for the freight business.

While I do not know the work arrangements for running trains on the ONR, I believe the rules are similar to the class 1's with just an engineer and conductor working most runs.

Should Ontario go through with selling off the railway, there would be no remaining freight operations managed by a provincial government. However, there are two such operations in the hands of native groups, one in northern Manitoba and the other in northern Quebec and Labrador. Each of these native owned railways have both freight and passenger businesses.

Even afterwards, Ontario won't be completely out of the railway business as it still will have GO Transit commuter trains. GO (Metrolinx) also owns some tracks and other facilities in the greater Toronto area.