Reported by Richard Coffin

Ontario Northland is running a test train to Toronto.

The ONTC says they’re validating transit times as part of their ongoing work on the Northeastern Passenger Rail Service business case.

Vic Fedeli, Nipissing MPP, posted on social media Monday morning that he was aboard the ‘The Northlander’ for its test-run from North Bay to Toronto.

“They’re checking the times along the way,” says Fedeli from on board the test train. “It’s also to evaluate the track conditions.  We see them, the men and women from Ontario Northland up and down the cars, looking at the mile markers, they’re looking at the various stations.  They’re working with Metrolinx, who have their people here as well.”

Fedeli says there weren’t any hiccups, but they did undertake a scheduled pullover to allow a freight train to go by.

“This is the CN track from North Bay to Toronto, so that was exciting.  There’s a lot of people greeting us along the way at the various stations,” he says.

Fedeli says it’s almost poetic that they’re taking the test train while there is bad weather along some parts of the train corridor.

“A blistering snowstorm as we’re taking the train in the warmth and comfort, we had a hot breakfast served to us at 6 o’clock, used my laptop and did a lot of work in the comfort of this, while Highway 11 north of Latchford is closed because of weather,” he says.

The ONTC has said the goal is to see the return of passenger rail by the mid-2020s.

There are still no specifics on timelines, but Fedeli reiterates they want to get it right.

The Ministry of Transportation also tweeted today that they’re gathering data on the train run from North Bay to Toronto to develop their plan to bring passenger rail to Northeastern Ontario.

Earlier this month, Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation announced that Timmins would be the location of the northern terminus station.