Finally, some good news!
On May 12, 2014, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt made a surprising announcement that departed from previous statements about the intentions of the federal government: the government will, through VIA Rail, provide the remaining $10.4million required to repair the CN Newcastle Subdivision between Miramichi and Bathurst, NB. This ensures that The Ocean (VIA Rail Trains 14 and 15) will be able to continue running on its current route, providing passenger rail service to communities along the line from Montreal to Halifax.
This marks the successful culmination of a long and hard-fought campaign by advocacy groups (including TAA), citizens, and politicians at all levels of government. Thanks to the hardworking campaigners, volunteers, and concerned individuals who petitioned the federal government to take action, we’re able to celebrate a small victory in the fight to maintain and improve our passenger rail system in Atlantic Canada.
TAA would like to thank everyone who participated in our campaigns over the last number of months. We couldn’t have done this without the collective effort of all of you. It’s often easy to feel like we spend a lot of time working towards things that never really come to fruition, so every success like this is worth taking a few minutes to celebrate.
Of course the fight doesn’t end here. The Ocean is still under threat, as the 3 departures per week schedule has created an inefficient and unsustainable model that isn’t working well, either for passengers or for VIA’s bottom line. We need to continue the push to bring the train back to at least 6/week service, and ideally to daily service. It doesn’t have to stop there either: we will continue to push for VIA and the federal and provincial governments to examine other options for passenger rail services in Atlantic Canada. We will also continue the fight to restore service to Gaspé.
So let’s stay positive, and allow this success to encourage us in our continued efforts to restore safe, efficient, responsible, and effective passenger rail services to Atlantic Canada.