Ottawa – A critical stretch of rail between Mattawa and Pembroke must be preserved if North-eastern Ontario will once again be connected by rail to the eastern seaboard and cities like Montreal and Ottawa the House of Commons heard today.

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes raised the issue in parliament having committed to do so during a recent multi-stakeholder meeting on the issue. 

“Last weekend I attended a meeting in Serpent River First Nation where stakeholder groups such as the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains, the East Algoma Chiefs, Mayors and Reeves, and Transport Pontiac-Renfrew committed their efforts to saving this critical stretch of rail,” said Hughes.

The stretch in question is set to be ripped up by CP who are already dismantling a similar stretch between Pembroke and Smiths Falls.   The end result would leave no direct link between North-eastern Ontario and the Ottawa valley forcing trains to take a circuitous route through southern Ontario which would increase costs in the process.

“Trains are an effective transportation option that is important to our economy, quality of life and environmentally beneficial,” Hughes stated before concluding, “I encourage this government to work with the many groups involved to preserve this infrastructure and our transportation options.”

At the same time as the US is investing in high speed rail, recognizing it as an economically competitive, environmentally sound way to connect communities, Canada is allowing its rail infrastructure to disappear.