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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tracks (Out) Ahead for RailMark?

I must confess that, with my fixation on the situation facing the Ontario Northland, the similarly precarious situation affecting the Algoma Central passenger operations has taken a back seat in my mind. Chris van der Heide is much more on the ball than I am when it comes to the situation on the ground in the Soo, so when he warns that RailMark might be heading for a fall, I take notice. If I understand the situation correctly, we appear to have a deadlock between government, CN, RailMark and creditors - an impasse which has now forced the cancellation of passenger service until at least Tuesday.

I must admit, I always thought that RailMark's claim that the passenger service would be self-sustaining within five years was ludicrous, but I had really hoped that this might work out.

So, what next? Sault Ste. Marie council meets to discuss the issue this week. Although they really don't want to take the passenger operation back, I reckon there is a good chance that CN may be asked/begged to do so.

In the mean time, take a look at Chris' piece on the issue:
>>>Tracks (Out) Ahead for RailMark? | Algoma Central in HO Scale<<<

Correction June 22, 2015: My original post suggested that the cancellation was related to the financial situation surrounding the train. However, as several comments have shown, the two are likely coincidental. Tonight's council meeting will hopefully shed some light on the subject.


  1. The reason for the temporary cancellation of passenger service is because CN RTC and the trainmaster did not give the train clearance onto the mainline. It was ready and able to go, at least on Railmark's end, but when the company owning the tracks says to stay put, in that spur track in the middle of nowhere near Hearst, you can't exactly do anything about it.

    Railmark is willing and able to run the passenger train. It has been running under their company for the last nearly 2 months, at their own expense. If that isn't a sign of a legitimate company, not looking to take the money and run, then I don't know what is.

    This is just my opinion of things, and I don't encourage anyone to take it as straight facts, just as I encourage everyone to not take everything they read from the media as fact. There's a lot of heavily biased sources out there, one worst offender which I will not name. Use your head, seek out the whole story, and don't let biased media outlets dictate your point of view.

    1. It's tough to figure out what the whole story is from a distance, when there's really only one local media source reporting on anything, and RailMark's side of the story seems to be entirely silent.

      There's a website, and twitter and facebook accounts, but no information to be found anywhere on the service disruption.

      The city and RailMark definitely seem to be at odds over the financials still, but the last month and a half has at least been promising. But the details of what happened this weekend are just so completely vague.

      There's so little public information available anywhere, but there must be some reason for CN to deny the clearance.

    2. Chris van der Heide has helpfully posted a summary of last night's council discussions:

  2. Actually an operational issue involving a pretty serious rules violation cut short the northbound run on Thursday and nothing else ran all weekend. Not sure if the train ran north this (Monday) morning or not.

    This incident just happened to occur at a singularly bad time...

    We will see what happens to the situation following the city council meeting this evening.

    1. What rules violation was committed? I'm aware there are allegations of a violation which is why the train was denied a clearance, but I would love to know what said violation was, or how you know about it. Just for clarity's sake.

    2. It's been reported in the news that the train got parked at Mead on Thursday, and did not run on Friday due to some sort of infraction. It's unclear what exactly that was. Someone said to me that it sounded like the train exceeded the limits of a clearance, but I don't know their source.

      However I simply cannot see why CN would simply deny the train a clearance for their regularly scheduled run if there hadn't been a problem.