CANADA: The first of 16 coaches used on the Polar Bear Express service which are being refurbished at Ontario Northland’s North Bay workshop was unveiled by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on August 12.

The province is providing C$17m to upgrade Ontario Northland’s Polar Bear Express, which provides the only year-round ground transport between Cochrane and Moosonee. The refurbished coaches are being fitted with new seats with electrical and USB sockets, accessible toilets, modern flooring, additional luggage space, ‘comfortable’ dining cars and a family car.

The refurbished coach ‘has been thoughtfully built to meet the needs of our passengers, and it showcases the quality refurbishment work produced by our Remanufacturing & Repair Centre’, said Ontario Northland Transportation Commission President & CEO Corina Moore.

The Polar Bear Express makes a round trip every day except Saturday, with a one-way journey time of 4 h 50 min, and carries more than 55 000 passengers/year.

Minister of Northern Development & Mines Michael Gravelle said the provincial government ‘remains committed to ensuring that northern communities and industries benefit from viable, efficient and sustainable transportation systems’, and the coaches would ‘go miles in supporting this goal and in supporting transformation at Ontario Northland.’