Here I was, all ready to write a piece on the one year anniversary of the last Northlander, and the North Bay Nugget has summed up most of the points so well! I will, however, add a few of my own thoughts.
A year ago today, I stood on the platform at Toronto's Union Station with a group of ONTC employees waving goodbye to the last Northlander as it left for Cochrane. It was a powerful moment and I felt that I would never see this iconic train again. I still don't think I ever will. When all the dust has settled and there is a resolution to the divestment - one way or the other - I do not believe the Northlander will rise again. In the story of Canadian passenger rail, once a train is gone, it is gone for good.
I blame Dalton McGuinty's government for the events of the past two years. Had he done all the important work currently being done by Michael Gravelle and the Advisory Committee before formally announcing the divestment, the uncertainty and negative consequences for the north would not have happened. There is a lesson here for all of us: do your homework before you speak.
As for me, I continue to write my book, Call of the Northland, which includes a chapter and images on the last day of the Northlander. It is not my full-time occupation, so it is a slow process. I would hope to release it quickly once there is a divestment decision, but I won't rush it for the sake of speed.
To all the people who rode the Northlander and to those who worked on it, I am sorry that the Ontario government caught you in the middle of this mess.
For a detailed look at the consequences of the past year, I suggest reading the North Bay Nugget piece below:
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