Northlander Siemens Mobility train impression

CANADA: The government of Ontario has announced a C$139·5m order for three trainsets to enable the reintroduction of the Northlander passenger service.

The Siemens Mobility trainsets will have EPA Tier 4 emission standards compliant diesel locomotives, and coaches with ‘spacious’ seating, built-in wheelchair lifts, mobility aid storage spaces, galley style food services, accessible toilets, wi-fi and audio-visual passenger information systems.


Northlander map

Ontario Northland Transportation Commission’s Northlander service ended in September 2012, since when it has operated four buses a day between Toronto and North Bay, and one to two buses daily from North Bay to Timmins and Cochrane.

In April 2022 it released an updated initial business case for reintroducing rail services, with a preferred route from Toronto to Timmins and a rail connection to Cochrane to connect with the Polar Bear Express passenger service to Moosonee.

The revived Northlander service is planned to start in the mid-2020s. It would run from four to seven days per week, based on seasonal demand, serving 16 stops at Toronto Union, Langstaff, Gormley, Washago, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville, South River, North Bay, Temagami, Temiskaming Shores, Englehart, Kirkland Lake (Swastika), Matheson, Timmins and Cochrane.

Ridership of between 40 000 and 60 000 passengers/year is predicted by 2041.

The train order ‘is a significant step forward in bringing back the rail service that northerners deserve’, the province’s Associate Minister of Transportation Stan Cho said on December 15. ’The reinstated Northlander train will support our northern industries and resource sectors and provide a safe and reliable transportation option for northern communities, especially in the winter months. This purchase demonstrates real progress, as we continue to take concrete steps to build a better transportation network for the north.’

Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, CEO of Siemens Mobility in Canada, said ‘rail is one the best options to meet the growing demand for mobility and at the same time, achieve our climate targets. As we continue to build on opportunities in Canada, we are proud to provide people of northern Ontario with our most advanced technology allowing them to connect more easily and efficiently while enjoying the greatest comfort.’